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Great debate from National Post: Church stand of Marriage & homosexuality

by Outlaw_CA
Dec 22 2009
11:48 PM
The Catholic Church teaches that the Pope is infallible at closely defined times. The Pope is only infallible when he, in union with the body of bishops, solemnly teaches that a doctrine as true. This comes from the words of Jesus to Peter (the first Pope) and the Apostles (the first bishops), "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matthew 18:18) and "He who hears you hears me" (Luke 10:16). At all other times the Pope can be just as sinful as you and me and be in need of forgiveness.
I have never really believed that any human being could be infallible and that explains all the contradictions in the Bible, as well why some things in the Bible are in fact dead wrong. Should we accept that then many questions arise, the first comes to my mind is that just because body of bishops and the Pope are in agreement is important but not necessarily good enough reason to accept that they infallible and not in fact evil as we know from History how agreement of body of public with Hitler in Germany turned out to be. For instance I and many sincerely believe that Roman Catholic Church’s position and teaching on homosexuality is not only simply wrong but pure evil? Would you concede that there is a possibility, if not likelihood, that Raman Catholic Church is wrong as even many Roman Catholics believe?
Seems to me that the Catholic Church wants to have it both ways, have the cake and eat it too. For example Cardinal Sean writes “We must strive to eradicate prejudices against people with a homosexual orientation. At the same time the Church must minister to all people by challenging them to obey God’s commands, the roadmap for a meaningful human life that allows us to draw near to God and to one another.” He continues
“In the Gospel when the self-righteous Pharisees bring the adulteress to be stoned, Jesus says let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Then to make sure they got the point Jesus wrote their sins on the ground. The stones fell from their hands and they fled. Jesus said: “neither do I condemn you, but He added, “Go and sin no more.” Leaving the question of whether homosexuality is a sin hanging in the air and perhaps equating adultery with homosexuality.
To Cardinal Sean’s comments, one Deacon Bryan Marabanian, Pastor, Holy Trinity Independent Catholic Church, thoughtfully responds by saying “To say that two people, who are made in the “image and likeness of God,” are not fully capable of loving each other in an acceptable way because of gender make-up seems, in my opinion, to be heretical. As an ordained minister of an Independent Catholic denomination I am surprised that an institution within the Apostolic Succession condones such divisive, mean-spirited views regarding this group of God’s people. I don’t believe it’s wise for any institution to place limits on God’s will.
I find the Roman Church’s teaching regarding marriage, and your own words on the topic, to be quite confusing. You stated that you have been encouraging Roman Catholics to “defend the institution of marriage”. Perhaps you can clarify how not allowing a loving couple to have their love blessed by the Church’s minister is defending the institution of marriage.
The dissent in the Catholic Church is growing and the Church is worried but their recipe is suppression and punishment of the dissenters and not an open dialogue. Instead they continue with their losing battle on ban on homosexual marriage, having already lost the battle on homosexual relationships. They might be more convincing if they were to clean their own house –sexual abuse of children by priests and sexual assaults on nuns but it is lot easier to preach than to follow –the words are cheap, but when the preaching’s sound hollow no one pays much attention and they become irrelevant.

by CrisA

Dec 23 2009
2:31 AM
I was going to stay out of this one, but I cannot.  First, I am glad to know that you are well educated enough in Catholicism to enumerate the sacraments.  They are however, not just empty rituals.  They are exterior signs of something real that is taking place inside the soul of the person who receives them.  You do not need to accept this, and that is fine.
Even if the vast majority of Catholics were to desert the church, the sacraments would still remain what they are.  This is one thing I love about the Church.  Its strength lies not in numbers, but in clarity and steadfastness of doctrine—again in faith and morals.
You have to admit that you have a big chip on your shoulder Outlaw, if you cannot see that the church is not the creator of truth as regards human sexuality.  It cannot change the evident!
Unfortunately, what was once obvious to everyone no longer is so, but the Church must defend truth –again, not create it.
And what is the truth about human sexuality?  What is the truth about mankind? Is there a truth about human nature, or can we alter it at will?  These are questions I have pondered and discussed with friends who agree to disagree with me.  And you know what, I am fine with that.  We just agree to disagree.
But let me try to explain to you Outlaw, the best I can, why I believe homosexual unions are not real marriages.  First, nothing is stopping homosexuals from co-habiting.  They do so already.  Is co-habiting equal to marriage? No.
Why marry at all?  Is it merely for financial stability? Why not just live together (co-habit)?  While love is a big factor in establishing a lasting bond, an even bigger one is the possibility of establishing a family.  Children require stability.
Can homosexual partners have a stable family? Sure they can, but to have common biological children, they would need to go against nature.  How?  By producing babies in Petri-dishes.  Is this fair for these children?  I don’t personally believe so.  Everyone is entitled to be born as a result of the loving union between parents in a natural way (at least we would hope the union is a loving one).
Unlike heterosexual unions, where the body parts meant for fertile biological bonding actually fit (like a jigsaw puzzle) –sorry for graphics, the body parts of homosexuals meant for this sort of union do not actually fit.  Ergo, I would question whether mother nature intended these unions in the first place.
Does this mean that 2 people cannot co-habit?  No, it does not.  Does this mean the church will condemn them?  No.
But what you must understand is, the church has absolutely no power to go against scripture or against nature in this matter.  Check out :
Gen 19:1-14
Lev 18:22
1 Cor 6:9-10
1 Tim 1:10
You see Outlaw_CA, the Church is a lot less powerful than you think!  It cannot just make up its own laws against what it has been handed down to teach, both by God through scripture, and by God via the observation of nature.
At the same time, we do not ever condemn homosexuals.  There is a clear distinction between the actions of a person and the person him or herself.
I cannot understand why you cannot see that the fault lies not with the Church, but with what is written in our own biology.

by Fr. Tim

Dec 23 2009
3:12 AM
O/C:  Happy to oblige by offering my thoughts.
1. Yes, I would agree with the definition of papal authority as you put it forward.
2 You also have a very Catholic understanding of the bible. We believe that it contains "religious truth" which is distinct from historical or literal truth. After all, we should know as it was a Catholic council that established the canon that is the bible.  Martin Luther made a few changes when he dropped some books, but the church has not changed its contents. One simply needs to read the way the early church fathers used scripture to understand that it is to be interpreted in different ways than literally.
3. I personally do not have a problem with the church's teachings on homosexuality. No one has to belong to the RC Church. It is legal (and in some churches sacral) for gays to "marry" in Canada, so anyone has the right to exercise their freedom of religion and join a church that is more sympatico with their beliefs. The church does not need to change its beliefs to accommodate all believers.
I always think of this central issue by reflecting upon the texts about the "new Jerusalem" in the Book of Revelations. Its wall, which delineates the point of division between those who chose to accept the invitation of Christ from those who did not, is described as being a very short wall; one that could easily be stepped over.
I look at it this way. In my opinion, the one attribute that humans uniquely is endowed with is "free will". For me, it is this that is created in "the image and likeness of God". Thus at our very essence, we have the right to choose to believe and act as we wish. It is simply a matter of accepting the consequences of our decisions. Thus our "final judgment" will not be some sort of "divine courtroom", but it will simply be God treating us in the manner that we chose in life. If we demonstrate that we wanted to be with God in heaven (by loving God & neighbor), then he will respect our wish. If we lived our life as a declaration that we do not want to be with God, then he will respect that decision as well.
It is simply a matter of deciding what side of the fence we want to stand on.
Where I do have a problem is with the redefinition of "marriage". It has universally been accepted in virtually every culture to mean the union of one man and one women. It is essentially a judeo-christian concept that has been codified in law. If the State wishes to offer the same rights and benefits to same-sex unions, it is well within their purview to do so. But please do not call it a marriage. Civil Union, Domestic Partnership, anything else appropriate would be fine. Just leave us the concept of marriage for what it has always meant.
People have the right to live their life however they want. John Paul II said many times the role of the church was to "propose" and never "impose" its teachings or will. The church has not often lived up to the standard he has set... but damn it, they should!
I stand as a Catholic priest in the mold of JPII. I have read and studied his teachings and writings. I have tried to form my religious life as a priest according to these sources as well. This means that I adhere to the truths that have been handed down to us, such as the definition of what constitutes a "marriage". Let the state get out of the "marriage business" anyway. It is a religiously based institution (at least as we have practiced it in western society), leave it to the churches and register all unions with the state as domestic partnerships.
Enough of a sermon for one night.
Thank you for the chance to discuss these topics with you. It helps me to clarify my beliefs by having to examine why it is that I believe them. You are a kind soul to have the patience to work through this important issues with me (and others).
Fr. Tim

by Fr. Tim

Dec 23 2009
3:23 AM
CrisA: Wow! That post was awesome.
Your theology is perfect and your presentation concise, lucid, and without a single nasty word in it!
Please post often! You should be a model for how most of these threads should and could work. Instead of being petri dishes for invective, they are a place where ideas can be articulated, debated and entered into the greater issues of our country.
"Holy Post" indeed!
You go girl!
Fr. Tim

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