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(Parts of this page need revision after Welcome to Estonia)
2004-04-02 The Compendium of the social doctrine of the Church says (simplified excerpts):
227. De facto unions are based on a false conception of an individual’s freedom to choose and on a privatistic vision of marriage and family. Marriage is not a simple agreement to live together but a relationship with a social dimension that is unique with regard to all other relationships, since the family is the principal instrument for making each person grow in an integral manner and integrating him positively into social life.
Making “de facto unions” legally equivalent to the family would discredit the model of the family, which cannot be brought about in a precarious relationship between persons but only in a permanent union originating in marriage, that is, in a covenant between one man and one women, founded on the mutual and free choice that entails full conjugal communion oriented towards procreation.
228. Connected with de facto unions is the problem concerning (…) legal recognition of unions between homosexual persons. Only an anthropology corresponding to the full truth of the human person can give an appropriate response to this problem (…). The light of such anthropology reveals “how incongruous is the demand to accord ‘marital’ status to unions between persons of the same sex. It is opposed, first of all, by the objective impossibility of making the partnership fruitful through the transmission of life according to the plan inscribed by God in the very structure of the human being. Another obstacle is the absence of the conditions for that interpersonal complementarity between male and female willed by the Creator at both the physical-biological and the eminently psychological levels. It is only in the union of two sexually different persons that the individual can achieve perfection in a synthesis of unity and mutual psychophysical completion”.
Homosexual persons are to be fully respected in their human dignity and encouraged to follow God’s plan with particular attention in the exercise of chastity. This duty calling for respect does not justify the legitimization of behaviour that is not consistent with moral law, even less does it justify the recognition of a right to marriage between persons of the same sex and its being considered equivalent to the family.
2016-03-19 Amoris laetitia says:
“[E]very person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence. [Their] families should be given respectful pastoral guidance, so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives.”
The declaration of the unlawfulness of blessings of unions between persons of the same sex is not (…) a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them.
When we assume that the main purpose of a human is to reproduce, then the optimal sexual orientation for a man is to perceive women as attractive and for a woman to perceive men as attractive. This optimal orientation avoids individuals wasting energy in sexual efforts towards a partner of same sex, which would be useless.
If you continue this thought with a politically right-wing mind, you come to the conclusion that a healthy civilization should repress homosexuality because it is at best a suboptimal development and at worst a sin against divine laws, which subvert and potentially harm human civilization.
But things get more complex when you consider that the meaning of life is more than having children, and that increasing our population (the number of individual humans living on earth) is not currently a primary concern of our species, and that probably even the opposite might be true: God might want more people to be homosexual in order to prevent overpopulation.
The Catholic Church has no problem with marrying a couple who know that they won’t have any biological children together, e.g. for health reasons. Such a couple may have other kinds of “children”: they can adopt orphaned children, they can work together on spiritual “children” (a project or a vision) or invest into material “children” (a house or a car).
This shows that a marriage makes sense also without sex and without biological children.
So I see no problem to allow for same-sex marriage as well. I can imagine that the Church will one day recognize same-sex marriage as a variant that deserves the same benediction as any other marriage. Of course we are not yet there.
There are homosexual people who agree to form a couple and to adopt and raise children in an oikos. I think that there is nothing wrong with this. It is great and deserves our support and benediction. Because children having a homosexual couple as parents are still far better off than children who grow up with only one parent. Homosexual people should have a right to form a civil union, to marry and to adopt and raise children.
There is a theory that homosexuality might be “nature’s population control so that we don’t overpopulate.” Richard Dawkins responded to this idea on Darwin Day 2015. He explains that evolution “doesn’t work like this” because it works on the level of the genes of an individual. He concludes with a –for a Britain– surprisingly clear verdict: “So I am afraid that it couldn’t be true that homosexuality is an adaptation to keep the population size down.”
There are still people who insist that the term marriage can be used only for couples of a man and a woman. N.T. Wright on gay marriage confirms to me that those who disagree with my definition of marriage won’t change their mind during their lifetime.
“When it comes to homosexuality, many Christians are being stupid and unfair to both Pope Francis and Saint Paul.” – Homosexuality, Francis & the Bible, Patheos, October 2020.
“Homophobia forces many Christians to disproportionately apply ethical gravity to two obscure Greek terms while neglecting other biblical vices.” – Ethical Consistency & Homosexuality, Patheos, November 2020.
The gay Catholic journalist and author Michael O’Loughlins received the Pope’s blessing per letter in October 2021. (Source: Papst Franziskus segnet per Brief homosexuellen US-Katholiken)