Same-sex “Marriage” and the Winnowing of Catholic Men
Powerful cultural winds have stormed across the world, throwing the historical understanding of human sexuality into a whirlwind of uncertainty. During the past 50 years, violent gusts have divided and confused Catholics about the use and morality of contraception, abortion, sex outside of marriage, divorce, and the homosexual movement. Recently, the United States Supreme Court’s invention of the civil legal right for homosexuals to “marry” has been broadly covered in the media. Same-sex “marriage” is a winnowing wind, tossing all men up in the air and separating them. Catholic men must now grapple with this question: Where will I land when the wind ceases?
The Hurricane of Same-sex “Marriage”
For most of recorded history and across much of the world today, homosexual acts have been condemned as unnatural and sinful. However, in the past few decades the promotion of homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” has swept across the globe like a hurricane. In just a little over forty years, the homosexual movement launched with the Stonewall riots in 1969 has led to the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in the United States and many other places in the world. The majority of Americans now approve of same-sex “marriage.”
Remarkably, though homosexuals make up only 1.6 percent of Americans, a relentless campaign by activists and media have somehow convinced the average American that 25% of the people are homosexual; it is a deception of epic proportion. Only a small percentage of homosexuals will actually choose to “marry” when given the chance. The majority of homosexuals who enter into a “committed relationship” reject the foundational marriage ideal of sexual monogamy and take other sexual partners as a practice. It is an exceedingly tiny fraction of Americans who are 1) homosexual, 2) will chose to “marry” and 3) will live out a monogamous exclusivity that has always been at the core of marriage.
Nevertheless, a small but determined group of homosexual activists have achieved an astounding victory in the Supreme Court’s decision to invent the right to same-sex “marriage”, radically redefining marriage, the historical bedrock of human civilization. This hurricane of cultural change will further shake the foundations of society in the years to come as homosexual activists use the civil legal system to force those with deep-felt religious objections to submit to the ideology of same-sex marriage.
Christ and His Catholic Church on Homosexuality and Marriage
Jesus Christ unequivocally confirmed that marriage is between a man and a woman: “He who made them from the beginning made them male and female” and “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. What therefore God has joined together let no man put asunder” (Matt 19:4-6).
In upholding the truth about marriage, Jesus specifically condemns sexual sins including fornication (Matt 15:19; Rev 17-18; Rev 21:8; Rev 22:15), adultery (Matt 5:27; Mark 7:21; Luke 18:20; John 8:3-11) and homosexual acts (Matt 10:15; Matt 11:23-24; Luke 10:17). Jesus, a Jew who perfectly kept the Law (John 8:46; Catechism of the Catholic Church 578), upheld the entirety of the Law (Matt 5:18-20), which includes definitive condemnations of various types of sexual sin including homosexual acts (Lev 18). Indeed, as a Person of the Trinity who is with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1), the teachings about sexual sin, including homosexual sin, are Christ’s own teachings. To argue that Jesus Christ has nothing to say about homosexual sin is false and demonstrates either the ignorance or deception of those who argue otherwise.
The Catholic Church, in a continuous and unchanging loyalty to Christ’s own teachings, teaches that homosexual acts are disordered, while urging compassion towards those who struggle with same-sex attraction:
“Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10)…This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.
Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”. They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however “objectively disordered” and homosexual practices are “sins gravely contrary to chastity”.
Given the disordered and sinful nature of homosexual acts, the Church also definitively confirms that same-sex “marriage” is not possible and must be opposed:
“No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman…There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”
Homosexual acts and the promotion of same-sex “marriage” stand in direct opposition to God’s plan for human sexuality and marriage and, as a result, are objectively and irredeemably evil.
The Winnowing Fork of Jesus Christ
Despite the violent gales that are causing cultural turmoil, men who put their faith in Christ hold on to Christ’s divinely confident proclamations that He has prevailed over death and sin. The Father has given “all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22; Acts 10:42), giving Jesus the power and duty to offer “definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men”, a right “acquired” by His Cross (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 679). Jesus Christ clearly asserts that He will judge the good and evil (Matthew 25:31-46). There is no escape of Judgment, for Jesus will judge every man, the living and the dead (CCC 682). In His Mercy, Jesus repeatedly warns Man of the coming Judgment (Matt 3:7-12, 25: 31-46; John 9:39); no Catholic man will be able to say that he wasn’t warned.
John the Baptist describes the coming Judgment of Jesus Christ this way:
“His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matt 3:12).
To understand this passage, one must understand the imagery that John the Baptist is using to describe the coming Judgment. Winnowing is the process used by farmers to separate the edible wheat grain from dirt, weeds and chaff (i.e. the dry stalks and husks from the wheat plant). A farmer scoops up wheat grain and chaff with a winnowing fork and tosses it up into the wind. The heavier wheat grain falls down into the grain pile and the lighter dirt, weeds and inedible chaff is carried away a short distance by the wind to a chaff pile. The wheat grain is gathered into the granary and the useless chaff is burned. Winnowing separates the wheat from the chaff.
Christ will also separate those who love Him and follow His Commandments (i.e. the wheat) from those who don’t love Him and follow His Commandments (i.e. the chaff). Christ has given man free will to choose and will hold men accountable for their choices. He will separate men by their choices; some will be gathered into Christ’s granary (i.e. His Heavenly Kingdom) and others will be condemned to be burned in the chaff pile (i.e. the eternal fires of Hell).
Various “winds” of the world separate men, winds that Christ allows and uses to decide eternal destinies, winds that force men to embrace sin or to follow Jesus Christ. Today, one of the most the powerful winds sweeping the land and throwing men into moral turmoil is same-sex “marriage.”
The Winnowing of Catholic Men
Each man should have the deepest of compassion for those who battle, or have succumbed, to the urge to engage in homosexual acts, acts that the Catholic Church has aptly condemned as disordered and sinful. The burden that those with same-sex attraction bear is immense. Most men can relate to the frightful power of sexual urges and many men routinely fall into the types of sexual sins that Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church has always called men to battle (e.g. masturbation, pornography, fornication, adultery, etc.). But true compassion for a Catholic man does not mean accepting their own sexual sin or the embrace of sin in society, but to engage in the spiritual combat against sin.
Despite the Catholic Church’s consistent teaching, large numbers of Catholic men have tacitly or enthusiastically endorsed same-sex “marriage.” Some personally struggle with homosexual acts or attraction and, seeking validation, comfort their consciences by endorsing the legalization of same-sex “marriage” by civil authorities. Many have seen the suffering and anguish of family and friends who have struggled with same-sex attraction and, with a confused empathy, hope that legalization of same-sex “marriage” will bring their friends and loved ones a sense of peace and joy. Others have endorsed same sex “marriage” due to an insufficient Catholic formation to withstand the hurricane of homosexual propaganda. Large numbers of men have become addicted to pornography which lead men to be more likely to support same-sex “marriage.” Others are cowardly and weak, intimidated by intolerant name-calling taunts of “homophobia” and have been coerced into supporting same-sex “marriage.” Still others feel unable to oppose same-sex “marriage” due to their own losing battles with pornography, fornication, or adultery.
All Catholic men who support same-sex “marriage” do so in direct opposition to Christ’s teachings articulated in Catholic doctrine. This is dangerous. Those Catholic men who purposefully reject the Church’s clear doctrinal teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual acts or the evil of same-sex “marriage” risk falling into heresy:
“Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same…” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2089).
By the willful and purposeful rejection of Church teaching on homosexuality and marriage, some may have fallen into heresy and may have automatically excommunicated themselves from the Catholic Church; heresy carries the penalty of automatic excommunication (Code of Cannon Law 1364). Ignorance of the Church’s teachings on the disordered nature of homosexual acts and its condemnation of same-sex “marriage” may be a defense for some (Code of Cannon Law 1323-24) but it is a shaky defense given the highly publicized ruling for same-sex “marriage” legalization and the clear and consistent public opposition to same-sex “marriage” by the Catholic Church.
Given that same-sex “marriage” is in direct opposition to the foundational Catholic teachings on sexual morality and the Sacrament of Marriage, it will lead to the winnowing of Catholic men; some will decide to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and His Church, others will chose to support same-sex “marriage.” While Christ’s mercy is limitless, each Catholic man should be concerned about the state of his soul as he contemplates the day of his personal Judgment.
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The gale-force winds of same–sex “marriage” are buffeting all people, confronting each Catholic man with a choice, forcing each to choose. Catholic men will either conform their hearts and minds to the clear and unchanging teachings of the Church about the sin of homosexual acts and the truth about marriage or they will oppose the Church’s teachings. Christ will personally judge each man, using His winnowing fork of Judgment. Sadly, many Catholic men are being carried away from Christ and His Church by their choice to support same-sex “marriage”.
For those Catholic men who are drifting away from Christ on the winds of same-sex “marriage”, the Good News is that Jesus Christ is a powerful and merciful King who accepts and forgives those who repent from their sins. As long as a Catholic man has breath, he still has time to repent. Catholic men who have mistakenly supported same-sex “marriage” and are prepared to repent should go to Confession and return to an active and fervent Catholic faith life.
All Catholic men of good will should pray for the salvation of those with same-sex attraction and those who are being carried away from Christ and His Church by the damaging cultural winds of same-sex “marriage.”