Battling for America’s Soul
How Homosexual “Marriage” Threatens Our Nation and Faith—the TFP Urges Lawful and Conscientious Resistance
Within the perspective of the nation’s Cultural War, Americans felt the full force of two actions favoring the homosexual movement in May 2008. Same-sex “marriage” is now being imposed upon the nation by government fiat.
On May 15, 2008, California’s Supreme Court declared the unconstitutionality of Proposition 22—ignoring the voices of 61% of California voters who approved the measure in 2000—and all other California statutes restricting marriage to the union of one man and one woman and imposed homosexual “marriage” on the Golden State.
Concomitantly, New York Governor David Patterson unilaterally ordered all government agencies to revamp their rules, procedures, and regulations so as to show legal recognition to same-sex “marriages” contracted outside the state.
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A. The Acceptance of Same-Sex “Marriage” Is Incompatible with Christianity
1) Diverging Views on Reality and the Natural Order…
Secularism’s profound divergence from a Christian worldview anchored in reality lies at the root of this clash.
When man’s understanding of a thing corresponds to reality, it is true.1 When it does not, we have error which can be the result of an intellectual mistake, a whim, or an ideological bond that deforms our perception. In such cases, we detach ourselves from reality and attach ourselves to an illusory, utopian understanding of the thing.
2) …Lead to Different Concepts of Marriage, Family, and Society
Few issues illustrate the divergence between the secularist and the Christian worldviews as does today’s cultural battle over marriage. Secularists accept same-sex “marriage,” while denying the specific reality of marriage, rooted in nature. They deny that the self-evident biological, physiological and psychological differences between men and women find their complementarity in marriage, just as they deny that the specific primary purpose of marriage is the perpetuation of the human race and the raising of children.
This strictly natural concept of marriage is sustained by the Old and New Testaments.We read in the Book of Genesis: “God created man in His image; in the Divine image he created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’” (1:28-29) The same was taught by Our Savior Jesus Christ: “From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7)
Rejection of the Christian worldview is secularism’s negative, destructive aspect. Its “positive” aspect is the utopia of a society without moral restraints in which marriage and the family have been redefined.
3) Utopian Societies and Loss of Freedom
History is a great teacher. In the twentieth century, Nazism and communism showed the world that, when society loses its moorings in the natural order and gives itself over to utopias, the inevitable result is dictatorship. This dictatorship can take many forms and be exercised from the halls of government, party headquarters, judicial chambers, or media outlets.2
4) A Threat to Religion and Freedom
We should not delude ourselves. Over the past decades, America has witnessed a rising tide of laws, decrees, regulations, and judicial decisions that favor homosexuality on one hand, and hinder and punish those who oppose them for reasons of faith and conscience on the other.
Shortly after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex “marriage,” Prof. David R. Carlin observed:
The Christian moral system is no minor part of Christianity, any more than the heart or lungs are minor parts of the human body. Overthrow the Christian moral system and you will have overthrown Christianity itself. Therefore, those who are pushing for the institution of same-sex marriage are ipso facto pushing for the elimination of the Christian religion.3
By legalizing same-sex “marriage,” the State becomes its official and active promoter. It calls on public officials to officiate at the new civil ceremony, orders public schools to teach its acceptability to children, and punishes any state employee who expresses disapproval.
In the private sphere, objecting parents will soon see their children exposed more than ever to this new “morality,” businesses offering wedding services will be forced to provide them for same-sex unions, and rental property owners will have to agree to accept same-sex couples as tenants.
In any situation where marriage affects society, the State will expect Christians and all people of good will to betray their consciences by condoning, through silence or act, an attack on Divine law and the natural order.
Left unchecked, this anti-Christian trend will become an unprecedented assault on the First Amendment and our American way of life that we do not hesitate to call persecution.
5) Legalization of Same-Sex “Marriage” Creates a Terrible Problem of Conscience
As the homosexual revolution’s anti-Christian intolerance makes itself felt through increasingly persecutory measures, a terrible problem of conscience arises in any who resist: Should we follow our consciences? Should we give in?
For Catholics like ourselves, the condoning of same-sex “marriage” would be tantamount to a renunciation of Faith.
6) Moral Acceptance of Same-Sex “Marriage” Is Tantamount to the Denial of Divine Revelation
As Prof. Carlin pointed out, the Christian moral system is an essential part of Christianity. Catholic dogma and morality are founded on Divine Revelation and therefore must be accepted by virtue of the supreme authority of God, Who guarantees their truthfulness and goodness.4 The same God Who revealed truths on what we must believe also revealed truths on how we are to live.5
Therefore, when a Catholic rejects a truth in moral matters that is clearly contained in Revelation, he rejects the Divine authority that guarantees that truth and the whole supernatural basis of the Faith.6
Now, Divine Revelation,7 the “constant teaching of the Magisterium and the moral sense of the Christian people”8 clearly condemn homosexual acts. Thus, to deny the intrinsic evilness of the homosexual act, and, even more, to recognize it as worthy of practice or acceptance in the social order is to contradict expressly Divine Revelation (and the precepts of natural law).
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B. The Catholic Church’s Perennial and Immutable Moral Doctrine Condemns Homosexual Practice
For a Catholic, the stakes do not get higher since nothing is more precious than the Faith. Thus, it is useful to review the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church so there can be no doubt about the intrinsic immorality of homosexual acts. This teaching of the Church is unchangeable as it is based on immutable Divine Revelation and on unalterable human nature.
In view of the homosexual movement’s unrelenting propaganda and judicial rulings and legislative measures favoring the practice of homosexuality, the Magisterium of the Church has repeatedly been obliged to remind the faithful of the perennial moral doctrine that homosexual acts are “intrinsically evil.”
The most important of these reminders are found in:
1) Persona Humana – Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics
On December 29, 1975, amid the widespread abandonment of Christian morality caused by the sexual revolution, the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published Persona Humana – Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics.
Regarding homosexuality, the document rejects the conclusion drawn by some that a stable homosexual relationship analogous to marriage can be justified:
No pastoral method can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts on the grounds that they would be consonant with the condition of such people. For, according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality. (Sec. 8)
2) Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
On October 1, 1986, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.9 Addressed to all the Catholic bishops of the world, the Letter states that “a person engaging in homosexual behavior therefore acts immorally.” (No. 7)
The Letter also states that those afflicted with same-sex attraction “ are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross.” (No. 12)
3) Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Veritatis Splendor
In 1993, Pope John Paul II published his encyclical Veritatis Splendor which affirms:
In teaching the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the Church accepts the teaching of Sacred Scripture. The Apostle Paul emphatically states: “Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-10) (No. 81)
4) The Catechism of the Catholic Church
In 1994, the Holy See published the Catechism of the Catholic Church,10 which restated the doctrine expressed in previous documents. The Catechism clearly teaches that homosexual acts are unnatural, and among the “sins gravely contrary to chastity.” (No. 2396)
5) Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons
In 2003, the Holy See launched yet another document recalling Catholic doctrine on sexual morals and condemning the proposed legalization of same-sex “marriage” and“civil unions.”
Published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on July 31, 2003, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons was signed by the Congregation’s prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.11
Based on the principle that marriage supposes “the complementarity of the sexes,” Considerations explains that “marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.”
Therefore, Considerations concludes:
There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “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.” (CCC, no. 2357)
Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity”…(cf. Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:10; 1 Tim. 1:10).…This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition. (No. 4)
We call the reader’s particular attention to this quote. The Holy See teaches there is no analogy between homosexual unions and God’s plan for marriage. Our courts legalize same-sex “marriage” based on this non-existent analogy.
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C. Same-Sex “Marriage” Harms the Common Good
Homosexual activists and their secularist allies frequently repeat the sophism that there is no harm in the legalization of same-sex “marriage” as it does not imply any change to or proscription of traditional marriage. Supposedly, both can coexist peacefully side by side.
Alerting the faithful to this sophism, Considerations points out several of the nefarious social consequences arising from the legalization of homosexual unions.
1) Legalization of Homosexual Unions Weakens Private and Public Morality
The law of the land acts as a teacher of what is morally acceptable. Thus, Considerations states:
In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behavior as a private phenomenon and the same behavior as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man’s life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behavior.” Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation’s perception and evaluation of forms of behavior. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage. (No. 6)
2) Legalization of Homosexual Unions Undermines Marriage and the Family
According to Considerations, “laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason,” and “the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.” (No. 6)
Considerations says further:
The inevitable consequence of legal recognition of homosexual unions would be the redefinition of marriage, which would become, in its legal status, an institution devoid of essential reference to factors linked to heterosexuality; for example, procreation and raising children. If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties. (No. 8)
3) Reason does not Support the Legalization of Homosexual Unions
Because homosexual unions cannot fulfill the primary purpose of marriage, they have no rational justification.
Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition. Such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. (No. 7)
Recourse to artificial means of conception does not cure this fundamental flaw in same-sex unions. Rather, it makes them all the more unnatural, since, Considerations reminds us, such means are “a grave lack of respect for human dignity.” (No. 7)
4) Legalization of Homosexual Unions Denigrates Conjugal Love
Lastly, Considerations states, same-sex unions lack a real “conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality.” (No. 7)
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D. TFP Calls for Lawful, Conscientious Resistance to Same-Sex “Marriage” and the Homosexual Movement
1) Catholics Have an Obligation to Oppose Same-Sex “Marriage”
Considerations states that Catholics must do their utmost to oppose the legalization of homosexual unions. We are bound a fortiori to resist homosexual “marriage,” taking into account the following points in Considerations:
• “The approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.”
• “One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws.”
• “Material cooperation on the level of their application” must be avoided.
• One may even resort to the “right to conscientious objection.”
• Where homosexual unions have been legalized, “clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.” (No. 5)
2) Laws that Contradict Right Reason Do Not Bind in Conscience
Considerations explains the moral basis for this resistance, saying, “civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience” (Evangelium Vitae, no. 72). Every law must be “consistent with the natural moral law recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person.”12
The natural moral law binds all people, in all times. No State is above its precepts. State authorities who enact or enforce same-sex “marriage” laws fail in their duty to uphold the common good. To them can be addressed the words of Saint John the Baptist to King Herod: “It is not lawful for thee.” (Matt. 14:4; Mark 6:18)
3) Catholic Politicians Have a Specific Obligation
Considerations’ Section IV, titled “Positions of Catholic politicians with regard to legislation in favor of homosexual unions,” emphasizes the obligation of elected Catholic officials to oppose such legislation:
If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legalization of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians…. The Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral. (No. 10)
Some Catholics elected or appointed to public office have invoked the secular principle of separation of Church and State as an excuse to ignore Catholic morality in their public life. What they are really doing is separating, in their persons, “the Catholic” from “the public official.” This separation violates the unity of being and the premises of moral and logic. Every man is judged by God according to his thoughts, words and deeds, and therefore, on the oneness of his personality.
4) Being Faithful to our Baptismal Vow
A Catholic who accepts the practice of homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” as good renounces natural moral law principles confirmed by Divine Revelation and thus breaks the vow of fidelity made to Our Lord Jesus Christ at baptism.
5) Join the Spiritual Crusade
We must join the Crusade like many who “preceded us with the sign of faith.” Unlike the Crusades of old, ours is not physical, but spiritual.13 Being part of this spiritual crusade means being an untiring apostle for marriage and the family; to never lose an opportunity to tell others — family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers — that homosexual acts and same-sex “marriage” are wrong, unnatural and “intrinsically evil.”
6) Join the Political Fray
Catholics not engaged in political life need to become involved. When freedoms and Christianity itself are at stake, absenteeism is not an option.
For some, this political involvement starts with registering to vote. However, there are numerous other initiatives, not directly linked to voting, that deserve attention, time, and talent.
These activities and political initiatives are constantly varying. Those committed to defend marriage must stay informed. This battlefield is subject to constant change.
7) Oppose All Efforts to Legalize Same-Sex “Marriage”
We must oppose all efforts to legalize same-sex “marriage,” in every branch of government: the legislative, judicial and executive. We must promote petitions, write letters to the newspapers, and contact those elected or appointed to public office.
8) Reverse Legalized Same-Sex “Marriage”
In those jurisdictions where same-sex “marriage” has been legalized by the courts or the legislature, or where its recognition has been mandated at the executive level, one must help every lawful effort to reverse this legalization and recognition.
9) Remain Steadfast in Persecution
Where same-sex “marriage” has been legalized, one must make use of the right to conscientious objection and refuse all formal or material cooperation in its application.
If one suffers persecution as a result, one should offer this to God, and fight back by bringing this injustice to the public eye. This can be done by contacting those in the media, the legal profession, or the pro-family movement who can assist in the defense of one’s rights. First Amendment rights may be weakened in the U.S., but are not yet abolished.
10) If We Fight Faithfully to the End, God Will Give us Victory!
Saint Joan of Arc encouraged her troops to fight bravely regardless of the odds, saying, “If we fight, God will give the victory!”
In this struggle, we too must fight as if everything depended on us, but rely entirely on God to give us victory. And He will do so, for, in the words of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira: “When men resolve to cooperate with the grace of God, the marvels of History are worked.”14
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E. We Are Opposing the Homosexual “Moral Revolution”
In this lawful, faithful and necessary resistance, we must keep in mind the true goals of secularism and the homosexual movement.
Whereas the truth and the good become more attractive the more completely they appear in their nature, methods and ends, error and evil, on the contrary, are able to seduce only to the degree they hide their ultimate goal.
By imposing same-sex “marriage” on society, the homosexual movement and its secularist allies show their true face, and this will diminish their capacity to seduce. Their railroading of same-sex “marriage” on the American people makes increasingly clear what homosexual activist Paul Varnell wrote in the Chicago Free Press:
The gay movement, whether we acknowledge it or not, is not a civil rights movement, not even a sexual liberation movement, but a moral revolution aimed at changing people’s view of homosexuality.15
Conclusion: We Are Battling for the Soul of America
It is clear, therefore, that the battle for marriage in America is the clash of two worldviews. On the one hand, those Americans who still defend a moral law. On the other, the homosexual revolution and its secularist allies.
The stakes are also clear. This is a battle for the soul of America. The so-called Cultural War is gradually becoming a Religious War. For one cannot modify the lex agendi (rules of morals) without thereby modifying the lex credendi (rules of belief) given the profound relationship between the two. He who accepts as good and even exalts homosexual practice cannot adore the true and living God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of that sin. (Gen. 18-19)
FREE READ: Defending a Higher Law: Why We Must Resist Same-Sex “Marriage” and the Homosexual Movement
In view of the above, it is urgent to resist the imposition on our country of “morals” opposed to those of Christ.
Our resistance must be accompanied by sincere, ardent, and persevering prayer, since, as the Savior admonished us, “without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Lastly, since the legalization of homosexual “marriage” is a public sin that can draw God’s punishment upon our country, we must sacrifice and do penance, for God does not despise “a contrite and humbled heart.” (Ps. 50:19)
The hour is late. Our Lady warned at Fatima that sin weighs heavy in the scales of God’s justice. God will not be mocked. (Gal. 6:7) By taking energetic and faithful action in this struggle, we can heed the Blessed Mother’s maternal warning, recognize and correct our failings, and rightly be one nation under God. The choice is ours.
May She help us all to do our duty, in full and faithful compliance with the perennial and immutable teaching of Holy Mother Church on the intrinsic evilness of homosexual acts.
June 3, 2008
The American TFP
- Aristotle defined truth as “the equation of thing and intellect.” St. Thomas Aquinas gave continuity to this Aristotelian understanding of truth. See De Veritate, q.1; Summa Theologica, I, q. 16.
- See Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (York, Penn.: The American TFP, 2003), Part I, Chap. 3. Also available online at www.tfp.org.
- “The primary end of Revelation is for man to believe the truths revealed on account of God’s authority” (Fr. Michaele Nicolau, S.J. and Fr. Joachim Salaverri, S.J., Sacra Theologia Summa, Vol. 1, Chap. 2, no. 54). “Since man is wholly dependent on God as his Creator and Lord, and since created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound by faith to give full obedience of intellect and will to God who reveals.” (First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 3, On Faith. (Denzinger, 1789) See St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, q. 1, a. 1-10 and II-II, q. 11, a. 1-4.
- “Faith means the speculative doctrines of revelation; morals, the practical doctrines of revelation…. [S]o far as the obligation of assent is concerned, there is no difference between them.” J. Harty, s.v. “Theological Definition,”in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1908), Vol. 4, p. 676.
- “The man who willfully denies even one truth of faith thereby denies and rejects the authority of God, which is the one sole motive of divine faith. There is only one and the same authority for all the truths of faith, and that authority once questioned or denied, the foundation of faith is destroyed. It must be all or none, as far as the truths of faith are to be received on the authority of God. I do not say that a man may not have natural faith and human and imperfect faith in some other truths after he has rejected one; but in such a case there can be no divine faith whatever.” Fr. Arthur Devine, C.P., The Creed Explained (New York: Benzinger Bros., 1903), p. 24.
- See Ex. 20:1-17; Prov. 6:29; Eccl. 23:25-30; Lev. 18:22, 20:13; Deut. 22:22; Gen. 19:1-29, 13-13; 2 Pet. 2:6; Rom. 1:26-28; Eph. 5:5-6; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 1:7.
- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Persona Humana, no. 8, www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith
_doc_19751229_persona-humana_en.html. See Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2357.
- See St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 95, a. 2.
- Cf. Eph. 6:14-17.
- Corrêa de Oliveira, p.104.
- Paul Varnell, “Defending Our Morality,” Chicago Free Press, Aug. 16, 2000.
- Senate Bill 777.
- See Gary L. Bauer, “The Aftershocks of Gay Marriage,” www.humanevents.com/article.php?print=yes&id=26745.
- Roger Severino, “Legalizing gay marriage will spark lawsuits against churches,” The Examiner, www.becketfund.org/files/e01a7.pdf.