Arguments for/or against homosexuality continue to be discussed in and outside churches and elsewhere. In this piece, Malawian Comboni Missionary priest, Rev Fr Pius Chilimba, shares his views on the matter.
Issues about homosexuality and gay marriages continue making headlines in social media alongside the litany of hunger, economic woes and Cashgate. One fact should not be overlooked, an advocate of homosexuality or gay marriage is a non-believer or a believer: a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu, etc,. We are in a country where the majority are believers and people want to consider themselves a God-fearing nation—a nation guided by faith as taught by different religious denominations.
Just recently, we gathered to pray for rains. Awesome! But if one of the advocates is a man or a woman of faith, then I cannot help wondering. Where is our faith and sense of the moral and immoral when it comes to dealing with homosexuality or gay marriage issues? What do our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other religious gatherings teach?
Basing itself on sacred scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition of the Catholic Church has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. (Gen 19:1-29; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). They are contrary to the natural law and do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstance can they be approved.
Does my Church condemn homosexuals? Surely, not. Jesus Christ condemns sin, but does not condemn the sinner, hence the question: “Has no one condemned you? (…) Neither do I condemn you” (Jn 8:11). What we call sin is an offence against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbour caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.
The merciful attitude of Jesus does not approve of the woman’s sinful act. While not condemning her, Jesus takes a stand: “Go away, and from this moment sin no more.” The ‘Jesus Christ methodology’ of not condemning the sinner does not leave out a call to conversion and salvation.
Homosexuality, well known as sodomy in the Bible, is mentioned by St Paul as one of the evils that make one not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Co 6:9). The Church categorically affirms that unions between people of same sex cannot be considered on the same level as marriage between man and woman. In marriage, the spouses’ union achieves the two-fold end of marriage—the good of the spouses and the transmission of life. Absence of transmission of life in homosexual acts is an obstacle to the very existence of humanity whose continuity cannot be assured by adoption. In fact, procreation is not only a natural consequence of sexual act, but a blessed goal of the same: “God blessed them, saying to them: ‘Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth and subdue it’” (Gen 1:28).
While creating them in His image, God gave a man and a woman body parts whose specific functions can’t be doubted. Though different, the body of a woman is sexually designed to accommodate that of a man and vice- versa. There is a remarkable complementarity between them that reveals their being meant for each other: “It is not right that the man should be alone. I shall make him a helper” (Gen 2:18). Woman was, therefore, created by God to be man’s helper from ontological perspective, that is, to complement a man in his being as a man, and for man to complement a woman in her being as a woman. This explains the natural and mutual attraction between men and women: “This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” (Gen 2:23).
With homosexual acts, one can’t help wondering what a man who wants another man to act like a woman really wants. Does he want a woman or a man who acts like a woman? But if he wants a man who acts like a woman and at the same time does not want a woman, what a contradiction? This demonstrates how intrinsically disordered homosexual acts are, but at the same time affirms that sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In these acts, the human person created rational and free to be master of all creatures and superior to them (Gen 1:26-27) settles for a behaviour inferior to his or her God-given dignity.
Finally, apart from rumours there is no scientific proof that one is born homosexual. According to Robert Knight in his article Born or Bred? Science does not support the claim that homosexuality is genetic, Columbia University Professor of psychiatry Robert Spitzer, who was instrumental in removing homosexuality in 1973 from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders, wrote a study published in the October 2003 Archives of Sexual Behaviour. He contended that people can change their “sexual orientation” from homosexual to heterosexual. He interviewed more than 200 people, most of whom claimed that through reparative therapy counselling, their desires for same-sex partners either diminished significantly or they changed over to heterosexual orientation. Although still a proponent of homosexual activism, Spitzer has been attacked unmercifully by former admirers for this breach of the ideology that people are “born gay and can’t change.” Immutability is a central tenet of demands for “gay rights” and “gay marriage.” n