Homosexuality and Catholic Teaching

What is the teaching of the Holy Roman Catholic Church?

I  The Catholic teaching of this matter is given to us by God Himself in Sacred Scripture:

Genesis XIII, 13:  "And the men of Sodom were very wicked, sinners before the face of the Lord, beyond measure"; these Sodomites were in fact homosexuals, as it is proven by Genesis XIX 1-11.

Leviticus 18:22,24-30:  "Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind, because it is an abomination.  (...)  Defile not yourselves with any of these things with which all the nations have been defiled, which I will cast out before you.  And with which the land is defiled: the abominations of which I will visit, that it may vomit out its inhabitants.  Keep ye my ordinances and my judgments, and do not any of these abominations: neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you.  For all these detestable things the inhabitants of the land have done, that were before you, and have defiled it.  Beware then, lest in like manner, it vomit you also out, if you do the like things, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.  Every soul that shall commit any of these abominations, shall perish from the midst of his people.  Keep my commandments.  Do not the things which they have done, that have been before you, and be not defiled therein.  I am the Lord your God".

Leviticus 20:13:  "If any one lie with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination, let them be put to death: their blood be upon them".

Deuteronomy 23:18:  "Thou shall not offer the hire of a strumpet, nor the price of a dog, in the house of the Lord thy God, whatsoever be that thou hast vowed: because both these are an abomination to the Lord thy God".

1 Kings 14:24, "And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel."

1 Kings 15:11-12, "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made."

Romans 1: 26-27, 31-32:  "For this cause God delivered them up to shameful afflictions.  For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature.  And in like manner the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have turned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.  (...)  Foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy.  Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they, who do such things, are worthy of death: and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.

Jude 1:7 -“As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighboring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after strange flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.”

I Corinthians VI, 9-10:  "Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers.  Nor the effeminate, nor liars with mankind, (...) shall possess the kingdom of God".  See Genesis 19:12-29. Consequently, St. Augustine says (1) "that of all these - namely the sins belonging to lust - that which is against nature is the worst," is ”in itself a mortal sin," (2) a sin specifically distinct (3) from all other sins.

II  Why is homosexuality an "abomination", excluding from the heavenly kingdom?

A.  Because homosexuality is against nature: In the natural order planned by God, the purpose of the carnal union is generation.  Now, generation is the natural fruit of the carnal union of man and woman.  Therefore the carnal union of two persons of the same sex goes against the natural order planned by God.

B.  Because homosexuality is against reason: Reason presupposes things as determined by nature, before disposing of other things according as it is fitting.  Now, in matters of action, it is most grave and shameful to act against things as determined by nature.  Therefore, since the homosexual transgresses that which has been determined by nature with regards to the use of sexual actions, it follows that he acts against reason.

III  Thoughts of Fathers and Doctors of the Church about homosexuality:

St. Augustine:  "Those foul offences that are against nature should be everywhere and at all times detested and punished, such as were those of the people of Sodom, which should all nations commit, they should all stand guilty of the same crime, by the law of God, which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another.  For even that very intercourse which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature, of which He is the Author, is polluted by the perversity of lust".  (Confessions; III.8)

 St. John Chrysostom :  "The worst of it is that such an abomination is committed boldly and that the monstrosity becomes the law.  Nobody nowadays fears, nobody blushes.  They boast and they laugh at these actions.  The people who abstain appear stupid and they who condemn are regarded as fools.  If they appear to be the weaker ones they are crushed with blows.  If they are stronger, people laugh, people mock them and make many jokes about them.  They have no redress in tribunals or in law."  (...) "I have heard also many men who are surprised that up to the present a new shower of fire has not fallen on us and that the chastisement of Sodom has not fallen again on our town which is even more deserving of punishment since it did not learn from the evils of the Sodomites.  Although after two thousand years this place accursed and overwhelmed which was Sodom cries to the whole world by its appearance more eloquently than any one voice could, not to dare to commit such heinous offences, our fellow citizens have committed these offences not with less effrontery but quite on the contrary they show themselves more daring and unashamed as if they were determined to do battle with God and that they wish to prove that they wish to add to their crimes, in proportion as the threats become more terrible.  How is it that according as the crimes of Sodom renew themselves the chastisement of Sodom is not also renewed?  Ah, the reason is that a more terrible fire waits them and that a chastisement is reserved for them which will have no end." (Against the opponents of Monastic Life, III.8)

St. Bernardine of Siena :

"No sin in the world grips the soul as the accursed sodomy; this sin has always been detested by all those who live according to God .…
Deviant passion is close to madness; this vice disturbs the intellect, destroys elevation and generosity of soul, brings the mind down from great thoughts to the lowliest, makes the person slothful, irascible, obstinate and obdurate, servile and soft and incapable of anything; furthermore, agitated by an insatiable craving for pleasure, the person follows not reason but frenzy .… They become blind and, when their thoughts should soar to high and great things, they are broken down and reduced to vile and useless and putrid things, which could never make them happy ....  Just as people participate in the glory of God in different degrees, so also in hell some suffer more than others. He who lived with this vice of sodomy suffers more than another, for this is the greatest sin."  -  Sermon XXXIX

In the opening speech of the XVI Council of Toledo in 693, Egica, the Gothic King of Spain, exhorts the clergy to fight against homosexual practices: “See that you determine to extirpate that obscene crime committed by those who lie with males, whose fearful conduct defiles the charm of honest living and provokes from heaven the wrath of the Supreme Judge.”

The Code of Canon Law undertaken at the initiative and encouragement of Saint Pius X, and published in 1917 by his successor Pope Benedict XV, says this: “So far as laymen are concerned, the sin of sodomy is punished ipso facto with the pain of infamy and other sanctions to be applied according to the prudent judgment of the Bishop depending on the gravity of each case (Can. 2357). As for ecclesiastics and religious, if they are clerici minoris [that is, of a degree lower than deacon], let them be punished with various measures, proportional to the gravity of the fault, that can even include dismissal from the clerical state (Can. 2358); if they are clerici maiores [that is, deacons, priests or bishops], let them ‘be declared infamous and suspended from every post, benefit, dignity, deprived of their eventual stipend and, in the gravest cases, let them be deposed’ (Can. 2359, par. 2).”

 

(1)  De adult. conjug.; cap. Adulterii; cause 32; q 7; quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica; II II q 154, a 12.

(2)  St. Thomas Aquinas: De Malo; q xv, a 2, ad 6.

(3)  Pope Alexander VII: Decree from the Holy Office, Sept. 24, 1665 prop. No. 24. (Dzs. 2044).


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