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  A Christian Faith Magazine March 2004, Volume 9, Issue 8  
A Catholic Perspective on Marriage
Rev. Mark Connolly
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There is no doubt in the history of the Old and New Testament, there is no doubt in the teachings of Jesus Christ and his church that marriage is between a man and a woman who become husband and wife and eventually have children. The Old Testament from the Book of Genesis talks about a man and woman propagating the race. The New Testament, especially the Wedding Feast of Canna shows Christ's influence in raising marriage to the dignity not just of the ceremony, but of a sacrament. In Catholic theology, in Catholic tradition, marriage has always been understood from the teachings of Christ in the Church as not just a sacrament, but a covenant. A contract is between two people, a covenant is among three people. The marriage that takes place between a husband wife is really among three people, the husband, the wife and the God involved. There is no ambiguity about that. No matter what same sex proponents might believe, we as Catholics follow a history of both the Old and New Testament of a tradition that is 4,000 years of age that raises marriage between a husband and wife to a solemn declaration between two people, male and female.

Wedding Rings

Today, with all of this talk of same sex marriage, there is no question that every one of us has to show extraordinary amount of compassion and sensitivity to the situation that gay people find themselves in. Why God brought people into this world with different sexual leanings and preferences, no one clinically knows. If you go back into the Old Testament, you will find the first reference to homosexuals is in the story of Lot. The story is basically this and it is only a story. God sent to the house of Lot two angels disguised as men. Lot was a highly respective, highly revered individual in his community. The Old Testament describes he had two beautiful daughters. When the two angels disguised as men came into the house of Lot, all the males in the community surrounded the house of Lot asking Lot to send out, not his two beautiful daughters so they can sin with them, but the two angels disguised as men. That is probably one of the earliest mention we have of the situation of homosexuality. As you know, Lot lived in the community of Sodom and Gomorrah. As the Bible tells us the two cities were destroyed by a kind of sulfuric poison that decimated the entire population.

Were there other kinds of sins committed by other people of those twin communities? Undoubtedly, there were. Whether it was incest, bestiality, or whatever, this is the first Biblical reference that we have of the homosexual situation that we are now encountering in our day. We, as Catholics, always have to remember we are counter culture. The Catholic Church strongly believes in pro life. Our culture is pro abortion. For years the Supreme Court said in 1863 in the Dred Scott case that slavery is permissible. Our Church said it was not. There is no question about it, in this delicate situation, we have priests who are homosexual, we have doctors who are homosexual, we have lawyers who are homosexual and under the law of our country all should be given equal treatment. Here is what we are confronted with under Catholic teaching.

We have no doubt from our statistical study that there are four million married men in this country who are totally gay. That is a minimum figure. When some of these women who are married to Catholic gays, who have two or three children, come to ask for an annulment, what do you think the answer of the church is? The answer is, yes, they should be granted an annulment. In psychiatry, there is always the constant discussion, is the person who is a homosexual one who comes into this world with a predisposed orientation towards male sexuality? Is it a gene, is it defective DNA? None of us know for sure. When you hear of people who become homosexuals, do you go back to nature and nurture, does that mean that they have a strong domineering mother and a father who had no influence, that the young boy would turn out to be gay? None of us know for sure. What we do know is that just as there are certain children born into this world without the gift of sight, just as certain people are born into this world without the gift of hearing, certain people born without the gift of speech, there are certain people born into this world with a sexual orientation that is quite different from yours and mine. It does not mean they are better or inferior, it means they are just different.

San Francisco
San Francisco

In San Francisco, a lot of gays are trying to get married according to the laws of California. Is that legal or illegal? Another factor that has to be kept in mind concerning the gay population getting married is that basically they want the same financial benefits and the same material benefits that heterosexuals are given. The gay population believes since they pay social security and taxes they should be treated the same as any other couple entering marriage. We have 36 states in this country that do not believe in gay marriages and do not believe in paying any benefits. If those gay couples who get married in San Francisco move to Ohio where they do not honor gay marriages or benefits, they would have legal battles that they will be wrestling with for many years to come.

Concerning the gay orientation, there is a lot that medical science does not know. There is no question, as Catholics, we have to have the utmost sensitivity and the utmost compassion for all people. The gays have been mimicked, vilified and forced to remain in the closet for years. There is no question about it, society has not treated them as properly as they should have been treated. Having said that there is no question in the mind of the Catholic Church, marriage is still between a man and a woman who become a husband and wife. A man and woman who through the sacrament of matrimony give honor and glory to almighty God through the sacrament of matrimony. To those who we might have hurt concerning our words about homosexuality, it was not our intention to offend you. But both homosexuals and heterosexuals have to keep in mind what Jesus Christ said on the Cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

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