Tuesday, September 27, 2011


As I begin this extremely touchy and delicate subject, some preface is needed before we dive into it. While I agree with the teachings of the Church on this, it’s still an issue I wrestle with because of personal connections. I'm a person who has homosexual relatives and friends. I do not come from a perspective of "damn homosexuals!", unlike many misguided "Christians". I harbor no ill feelings towards those with homosexual attractions. I wish joy and happiness to those I care about, no matter their orientation. After all, Jesus came that we “might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Again, this blog is to present Catholicism’s teachings on different topics with some of my own reflections.

The issue of homosexuality has taken center stage in recent months in our world, primarily due to the results of bullying and also because of its prominence politically as states debate the issue of homosexual marriage. All the attention has Christians struggling with the issue as well, and the responses from various denominations has been varying. For example, the Episcopal Church allows same sex marriages, while others, like Catholicism, have remained firm in their position and will not waver.

The Church is quite staunch on this issue primarily because of its stance on marriage and sexuality in general. Thanks to Blessed John Paul II’s work on the Theology of the Body, teachings on sexuality within the context of the Church were clarified. My previous post on pro-life is an example of the clarity provided, and I will be referring back to it.

Homosexuality still remains a sin in the Church. However, the teachings of the Church through the Catechism provide clarification on some things. First, the Church admits, “[homosexuality’s] psychological genesis remains largely unexplained,” (CCC 2357). Second, the Church differentiates between homosexual attraction and homosexual acts. Much like heterosexual attraction, homosexual attraction in itself is not sinful. The Church teaches that this “constitutes for most of them a trial,” (CCC 2358). Sin enters either through lust or acting upon said attractions. Outside of marriage, this is sinful whether homosexual or heterosexual.

Why is it a sin though? It largely comes down to the Church’s definition of marriage, specifically procreation. Homosexual acts cannot create new life; it is impossible. This is also why the Church does not allow same sex marriage. Referring to Genesis, the Catechism teaches that homosexual acts are “contrary to natural law,” (CCC 2357). God created man and woman, and from an anatomical standpoint, they are complementary, like puzzle pieces that are meant to go together.

Look at Genesis 2. God creates Adam, and wants to create a “suitable partner” for him (2:18). God creates the animals, but they do not suffice. Note Adam’s response once God creates Eve from his rib in Gen. 2:23:

“This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

God made Adam a suitable partner, a woman! Immediately Adam recognizes this compatibility because of how she was made; there is no hesitation. Adam does not say, “Well, I suppose this will work.” No, instead he positively bursts out “YES!”

With all this said, how should homosexuals respond? Like all of us, they are called to chastity. The Catechism teaches that “by the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection,” (CCC 2359). That’s a tough pill for many to swallow, as it basically says that homosexuals should not have any romantic relations. In this sense, their vocation becomes the same as a single person’s (this is where I still struggle).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Readings

It never ceases to amaze me how using Lectionary readings enhances worship and also speaks to the heart. This week was truly special because of 9/11 falling on a Sunday. The readings are ones that truly speak to the heart on this day of remembrance. The theme of forgiveness is very prevalent, and should give us pause, especially considering that the readings follow a schedule and were set for this date many years ago. It is amazing how God speaks and uses the Scriptures to touch our hearts.

I can't imagine the thoughts and feelings of those who lost loved ones on this day ten years ago. I also imagine that there are still those who feel anger and bitterness as they are reminded every year of this tragedy, especially this year. I hope and pray that many of those affected are able to hear these words and can heal from the pain if they still feel that bitterness.

10 years ago...

No theological discussion today, but rather some reflection as I remember what happened this fateful day ten years ago.

I remember it so clearly, much like my parents remember the assassination of JFK or my grandparents remembering the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a Tuesday, and I know that only because one of my favorite bands, P.O.D., had just come out with their album Satellite. I was a senior in high school. It was second period, around 9:45, when I heard about the planes crashing into the Twin Towers of NYC. There was a sense of disbelief, shock, and confusion. There was no way this was happening to us. Just then, a correspondent who was in the Pentagon said they felt shaking. That was from the impact of that plane crashing.

We spent much of that school day watching NBC news (one of the few "outside" stations we could pick up in our school). During third period, both towers collapsed. It felt like a dream, like something that could never happen in real life, especially in America. Shortly afterwards, a "rumor" spread that a plane had crashed near Shanksville. All of us were skeptical; after all, we lived in Somerset County. Nothing exciting or dramatic happened here. A local news break, however, confirmed this rumor. Again, more disbelief and shock. What in the world was going on? Eventually, our administration told teachers to continue class as usual. How could we though, after what we had already seen and heard?

Phone calls began coming in to our area. After all, the national news could only say that a plane crashed in western PA, or Somerset county. Schools were wondering what to do. While not nearly as catastrophic as NYC, there was still chaos in our small world. Eventually, we were left out early along with other schools in the area. I think administrators realized that it was better to return home, perhaps to our families who also might have left work early.

The news stayed on much of the day at our house. It was unbelievable seeing the video and pictures of the events that had transpired that morning. I can only imagine what those in the towers had experienced, especially those who right in the path of each plane as it crashed.

Much has changed since then as we all know. Airport security has tightened dramatically. New rules and regulations have gone into effect, and others have been revised. Immediately following the events, there was a sense of unity. We were all Americans, all people who had witnessed a horrible tragedy in our nation. Leaders and politicians felt a common bond as was shown by Congress singing "God bless America" on the steps of the Capitol.

Now, it seems we have forgotten much, at least until this time rolls around every year. The bickering and fighting continue in our politics and the mentality of us vs. them still reigns supreme in our world. Many considered the events of 9/11 a wake-up call, but it seems we simply hit the snooze button and fell back into our old ways.