Friday, April 26, 2013

Why the opposition to same sex "marriage"? -- part 2

I urge you to stop before reading the following article, and I most emphatically urge you not to allow children or more sensitive people to read it. It deals very explicitly with a very delicate topic. There will be some who think these things should not be discussed in a parish bulletin at all. I am of the opinion that we can no longer avoid the issue. It is assumed by the majority of young people even in Catholic schools that same sex marriage is equivalent to traditional marriage and should be respected as such. They are being taught this in government schools and in some Catholic universities, so called.  We live in a country founded by Calvinist Puritans who believed in predestination. I believe that it is part of the Puritan heritage to say "God made me this way." We Catholics believe in freedom and that behavior is a choice. The current climate says that a preference is unchangeable and that sexual activity defines the person.

We Catholics believe that the person is more than a set of predestined preferences. A person is not "gay" or "straight". A person is a child of God made in his image and likeness and thus all persons merit respect and the freedom of the children of God. A human person is not an orientation. A person may experience variations of attraction between same and different genders. Those attractions  do not define the person and seem much more malleable than the current climate is willing to admit. Some of the finest and holiest people I know have struggled with these issues. Their very struggle is a token of their commitment to the Gospel and the Lord. Yet, they have struggled and refused to allow this corrupt culture to define them. The following pages are written as a real response to real letter I received. It is written with respect and I hope honesty. I mean to offend no one, but I am bound to teach what the Church has learned from her Lord and has always  held and taught. Again I ask you to read this advisedly, carefully and prayerfully.

Continued from last week

To say that because Paul had to invent a word and we  cannot know its meaning, is intellectually dishonest. We know, and always have known, precisely what Moses, Paul, and Good and Gentle Jesus meant.  Your author questions the meaning and the culture not because he is unsure what they meant but because he wishes they had meant something else. Your author, I suspect, is a very well-educated, very scholarly fool. Having taught at a university myself, I have know quite a few of them. They usually have tenure, a point in life when actual thought and study cease. It is clear to anyone who is paying attention that the Lord, the Scriptures and the Church forbid certain intimacies and have done so from the beginning.

There is another intellectual error into which I think you fall. It is a uniquely American error, that seems to be spreading along with our very strange culture. I refer to the principle “Exceptio legem facit” (The exception makes the rule), an ancient legal principal that I have just now made up.)  Let me give you an example. When my cousins in the old country found out that we Americans were buried in metal coffins inside water proof concrete liners, they asked, “Who do you think you are? Egyptian Pharaohs?” In the old country someone is buried in a wooden box and twenty five years later the grave is declared re-usable. How is it that we have such elaborate and un-ecological burial practices? Simple: lawyers. The dirt in biodegradable graves settles. In an old fashioned cemetery you will notice that there are dips in the ground over old graves, and the tombstones lean to one side or another. Apparently someone who couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time was hurt tripping in one of these grave, or perhaps a tombstone fell on someone. There was a lawsuit, a spate of legal work and voila! A new industry was born: concrete grave liners. The entire practice of a nation was changed because some klutz tripped on a grave, at least that’s the way I heard the story, and the truth is probably not much different. Another version was that a child was killed by a falling tombstone. Who knows?   

Another example. When I was a boy, very long ago, the world stopped on Sunday. Everything was closed for the Christian day of rest. It was great. Church, then a big meal with the whole family. Dad was home. People napped, the kids went out an played. Well, that was unfair to the very small group of people who didn’t consider themselves Christian. Why should they not be allowed to make money on what for them was just another day? The courts agreed, and the world changed. Now no one has anytime at all. We work seven days a week, 24 hours a day like the slaves of times past. A very small minority forced its will on the vast majority because “the exception makes the law.” We have medals for those who lose athletic contests, we have laws that forbid construction of new buildings that are not accessible, so we make do with old buildings (though I am all for accessibility. I have gladly built my share of ramps, new bathrooms and elevators). And now we must redefine marriage for what amounts to a minuscule part of the population. “I must agree with you because it would be wrong for you to actually be different. I must conform my thinking and my way of life to what has always been considered an aberration because 'the exception make the law.'” 

The mind boggles. The stomach turns.

There is one more scriptural argument that I want to make. It comes from Ecclesiasticus 2:24 “Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.” Ecclesiasticus, also called the Wisdom of Solomon, is one of those Catholic Books that Luther and Calvin dumped. 

If death entered the world through the envy of the devil, what in the blazes was he envious of?  The devil is immortal, and compared to us, he is as if omnipotent and all-knowing. The answer is simple. God gave humanity something he didn’t give the angels. Remember the devil is a defrocked angel. God gave human beings the ability to create something immortal in the relationship between a man and woman. God creates the immortal soul but, in their coming together, man and woman collaborate in the creation of the human body, which, if Christ’s resurrection is a fact, is also immortal. 

There is a creativity about human beings that even the angels do not have. Angels cannot reproduce. Thus it is that the devil hates children and will do anything possible to destroy them. He has created and keeps creating sterility in our times. He delights in abortion, artificial birth control, sterilization, marriages that by their very nature can have no children, the pandemic of pornography, and the abuse of children. 

The above list is a symphony of modern rights and privileges. The abuse of children, is, of course, not tolerated... yet. But as we discard the narrow minded, sexist, homophobic, Judeo/Christian legacy, I am sure that we will reach the full stature of the Greco/Roman world and reintroduce slavery and ritualized child abuse. What glorious times await us as we free ourselves of the restrictive legacy of the past! Slavery has made a marvelous comeback even in our times. Most of what you own is made in China by those who are in effect slaves. Islam is increasingly allowed to live by it own sharia law even in the western world and slavery is part of Islam. Why, even now you can go to the Sudan and buy a Christian boy for as little $100 dollars. What's Sudanese slavery like? Here is a Wall Street Journal article from  December 12, 2001,

 One 11-year-old Christian boy told me about his first days in captivity: "I was told to be a Muslim several times, and I refused, which is why they cut off my finger." Twelve-year-old Alokor Ngor Deng was taken as a slave in 1993. She has not seen her mother since the slave raiders sold the two to different masters. Thirteen-year-old Akon was seized by Sudanese military while in her village five years ago. She was gang-raped by six government soldiers, and witnessed seven executions before being sold to a Sudanese Arab. Many freed slaves bore signs of beatings, burnings and other tortures. More than three-quarters of formerly enslaved women and girls reported rapes. While nongovernmental organizations argue over how to end slavery, few deny the existence of the practice. Estimates of the number of blacks now enslaved in Sudan vary from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands (not counting those sold as forced labor in Libya)...

Will slavery make a return in these United States through the legal principle of “the exception makes the law”? Remember it was fanatical Christians like the great Wilberforce who ended slavery in the Western world. What will impose these remaining restrictions once the faith of Moses, Paul, and Jesus is completely swept away. Will we stop at same sex marriage or we will march bravely on to brush away all these restrictions that protect the weak from the strong? 

I write these word having just celebrated the feast of the Annunciation, the commemoration of the moment in which God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, the moment in which heaven was wedded to earth in a marriage that can never end, the moment in which Jesus the Carpenter of Nazareth was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus whom we believe was one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man, not half and half but wholly God and man. It was the moment that God embraced the flesh that the devil despised, a marriage that can never end in divorce. The fact is that no marriage that has children can end in divorce. When a man and woman marry, they may separate, but if they have children they can never really be apart, no matter how much they long to be. They are inextricably bound up together in the very flesh of their children.

What about those couples who marry but cannot have children? Aren’t they truly married? Aren’t you offending them by saying that children are integral to marriage?  Oh forgive me. I am forgetting that “the exception makes the law.” Don’t be ridiculous. Marriage exists for children. Look at the way God made our bodies! Does the imperfect state of humanity which does not allow all to have children, mean we must define marriage as not having to do with children of our own flesh and blood?  Even the childless couple which respects the sanctity of marriage, longing for children they cannot have, creates a climate in which children are safe and secure. In our enlightened age children never quite know where they will spend the weekend. Will they be at Mom’s or Dad’s or perhaps at Grandma’s? Perhaps they will stay with Mom’s boyfriend’s mother’s house or perhaps they will stay with Dad’s boyfriend. 

Our children have become orphans on the road because our rights as Americans trump every rule of common sense. We are enlightened and our children are adrift. You are willfully blind if you do not see that marriage is about children.

As for natural law, there are many things that seem natural but that violate natural law. War, theft and murder come to mind. Simply because I desire something does not make it natural. I would eat Upper-Hessian red sausage until I looked like Jabba the Hutt and my arteries ground to a halt. My desire does not make it natural or good. 

To honor God in our bodies is Natural Law. Idolatry, adultery, effeminacy, theft, greed,  drunkenness, slander and swindle, (c.f.1Corinthians 6:9-10) are all quite natural, but they are still violations of natural law, that law which mirrors the very nature of God and the law of “the better angels of our nature” as Lincoln put it. It is the worse angels of our nature that we follow in this unnatural age. Make no mistake about it. Marriage exists not for my pleasure and consolation. It is a gift from on High meant to draw me into the sacrificial life of parenthood. It is about children, because  the kingdom of heaven belongs to children.  

Allow me once again to cite Ecclesiasticus 2:24 “Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.” Believe me. We will certainly find the death that the devil invented if follow our present course. God help the nation!

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