By Fr. Jerry Novotny
Jesus promised us, “….. and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:32).
When young, I lived on a farm in Minnesota, USA. As any farmer will tell you that one of the most difficult challenges of farming is preparing the soil so that it can receive the seed. It requires hard work to clear the land of any trees, bushes or rocks that need to be dug up and moved. Once the soil is prepared, then fertilizer has to be applied to make sure there are enough nutrients to foster growth. Finally, the soil has to be adequately irrigated. Only then is the soil ready to support the seeds that will be planted.
Healthy rich soil is just as important to seeds as water is for fish and oxygen is for us. Without good soil, it would be a waste of time for the farmer to plant the seeds. And good soil doesn’t always happen naturally. It is often only the result of hard work.
The same applies for Christians who wish to live good lives. Jesus tells us the story of the good and bad seeds. The good seed are the people in God’s kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. And the enemy who plants the bad seed is the devil. The harvest is the end of time.
A seed is something small that contains within it immense life-giving power. Consider all the movements that have been inspired by the Bible like the non-violence movement of Mohandas Gandhi or the efforts to eradicate slavery by the abolitionists. All of them were inspired by the Bible. And they show us that when we welcome God’s word and act on it, it will transform us and bring countless blessings to our Church and society.
Recently, much has been much debate about the LGBTQ+ community and the teachings of the Catholic Church. The (+) sign added to the title signifies the continual addition of other groups in order to create a wider spectrum of sexuality and gender. The present LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual/transgender, and queer.
It is important to clarify that the Church “DOES ACCEPT” the LGBTQ+ community. This presents NO problem for the Church. But the sexual behaviour of the LGBTQ+ community does present a problem. It does NOT correspond with Catholic teaching which applies to everyone, married or unmarried.
The homosexual lifestyle is promoted by the secular media and homosexual organizations throughout western culture. They assume that one is born homosexual and is not able to change. For them, to remain celibate would be a form of sexual suicide. They argue that they all have a right to full sexual expression just like straight people in marriage.
Opposing this philosophy of life is the Catholic Church. It is necessary here to explain briefly the official Roman Catholic teaching.
First, arguments exists in sacred scripture which are against homosexual acts, such as Lev. 18:20-22, 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27; 1Cor. 6:9; and 1Tim.1:9-10. Studying scripture and Catholic tradition, it is clear that only two functions of human sexual activity become visible: (1) fostering the communion of man and woman in marriage and (2) the procreation of children. Since homosexuality cannot fulfill either of these two ends, such activity is immoral.
How does the Bible explain human sexual activity? Turning to holy scripture, we read in Gen. 1:27-28 that God made man in His own image and likeness. Male and female He created them; and He commanded them to increase and multiply and fill the earth. In the second chapter of Genesis, God created Eve from the rib of Adam. This poetic expression teaches us the profound complementarity of man to woman and woman to man. (Gen, 2:24). Thus is described the basic norms for human sexual relations, namely (1) the permanent commitment of a man and woman in the most intimate of earthly unions, and (2) the procreation of children made in the image of God.
These two purposes are repeated throughout the Old and New Testaments reaffirming the Genesis basis for permanent heterosexual union: read Songs of Songs or Proverb 3, read Mat. 19:1-9 or Eph 5:30. One could also look to Vatican II’s “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” #47-52, and Humanae Vitae #11-14, for more authoritative Church teachings.
Secondly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text which contains dogmas and teachings of the Church, names “homosexual acts” as “intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law,” and names “homosexual tendencies” as “objectively disordered.” However, the Catholic Church does NOT consider “homosexual orientation” sinful.
The Catechism further states that “homosexual persons are called to chastity.” In addition, the CCC also specifies very strongly that, “Such homosexual persons must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
The media would have you believe that the only reason that we disagree that homosexual acts can be good is that we hate homosexual people. This is not true. This is a lie. It’s what we call today “fake news.” On the other hand, we cannot stop teaching what the Church teaches just because it’s not popular.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in #2357 that “homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on sacred scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1Cor 6:10; 1Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” (Persona Humana 8).
In this first part of the paragraph, you might have the impression that the Catechism is saying you’re disordered. This is NOT true. What it is saying is that there are certain acts that are disordered. That is to say that they are not properly ordered. The acts are not ordered toward the end which they were performed.
(last part of #2357) “They are contrary to the natural law. They 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.”
(continuing to the next paragraph #2358), “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. Such persons must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”
If you are a Christian and are not respectful, not compassionate toward them, you are being disrespectful. If you’re disrespectful toward somebody just because of their sexual inclination, then this is a serious sin.
Let’s take one incident for example, which is held in June, the LGBYQ+ pride month events. Catholics must NOT support or attend these events because they promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. What does it teach our children? By attending, we celebrate what they are celebrating.
Can I love them and disagree with their behaviour? Why not? Parents do this everyday with their children. Courts do this with criminals. Doctors with their patients, etc.
Bishop Strickland teaches us that the Genesis norm is simply one truth of our deposit of faith. “God made humans male and female. Certainly those who are confused about their identity need Christ’s love and compassion. But don’t forget that Christ’s love is expressed when he dies on the cross for the truth.”
Recently, Bishop Tobin stated that “homosexual activity is unnatural and gravely immoral. It’s offensive to Almighty God. It can never be condoned, under any circumstances.” The movement for same-sex “marriage,” he added, “seeks to radically redefine the most fundamental institution of the human race, the building block of every society and culture. From the beginning, marriage has been defined as the stable union of man and woman, designed by God to continue the human race through the procreation of children. Homosexual relationships are not marriage – never have been, never will be.”
As dynamic as God’s word is, it needs fertile, nutrient rich soil if it is going to take root, grow, and nourish. And the soil that Jesus’ words land on is our hearts. Just as a farmer puts a lot of work into preparing the soil to plant his crops, we need to put a lot of work into preparing our hearts to receive God’s word if it is going to have a transformative effect in the world, a world where Christ’s message is not welcomed.
This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at jerry789.wordpress.com/2023/08/05/the-truth-catholic-church-and-lgbtq.