These days, the issue of homosexuality is constantly present in the media and our culture. As a result, many now accept the view that homosexual activity just as acceptable and natural as heterosexual activity.
But in spite of those Catholics who commit homosexual sins, the Church remains steadfast in her teaching: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).
While affirming the human dignity of homosexuals, men and women whom God loves and made in his image, the Church also affirms the reality that deliberate homosexual activity as gravely sinful. Homosexuality involves a violation of natural law. When we violate God’s laws, we violate our very humanity by misusing the faculties he entrusted us with, such as our sexuality and procreative abilities.
The Catechism explains, “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, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ 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” (CCC 2357).
In the Old Covenant, homosexual activity was punishable by death: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them” (Leviticus 20:13). Thankfully, in the New Covenant, that punishment no longer applies, but the Church reminds us of the much worse eternal punishment that awaits those (whether homosexual or heterosexual) who refuse to repent and turn from their sins.
“We know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who do such things. Do you suppose, O man, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury” (Romans 2:2-8).
St. Paul also warned: “[T]he wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.... So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, ... God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:18-22, 24-26).
St. Peter wrote that “God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment ... he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly ... by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly ... These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved.” (2 Peter 2:4-6, 17).
Some proponents of homosexuality try to twist the meaning of the account in Genesis 19:1-14 of the homosexual sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. They deny that God punished the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin of homosexual activity. In this famous episode, a righteous man named Lot shielded two men (actually angels) who were guests in his home from the townsmen who sought to rape them. Some will argue that the sin being punished wasn’t homosexuality, but “not showing hospitality.”
This argument is bogus. Read Genesis 19 carefully and notice that that Lot indeed showed hospitality to these strangers. He protected them from the mob of homosexuals who wanted to rape them. Hospitality has nothing to do with what happened. And you won’t find any examples of the Lord destroying a city with fire and brimstone just because folks didn’t roll out the welcome mat to strangers.
Patrick Madrid is an author, public speaker, and the publisher of Envoy Magazine. Visit his web site at www.surprisedbytruth.com
Additional Passages: Leviticus 18:19-30; Deuteronomy 23:17; Judges 19:14-29; 1 Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7; Matthew 19:4-5; John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; 2 Peter 2:7-10; Jude 7
Related Catechism Sections: CCC 1950-1958, 1975-1976, 2331-2379