Is same-sex marriage moral or immoral?

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On the moral evaluation of homosexuality

On our homepage we try to address and explain fundamental questions of our faith, and not to be afraid of the "hot irons". Women's priesthood, celibacy, sexual morality - none of these subjects we would shy away from.

The situation is different, however, with a moral assessment of homosexuality and homosexual acts. For years I have received inquiries on this topic again and again, but I have been persuaded - also on eager advice from my confreres - to keep my hands off it. The reason for this is the completely exaggerated emotionality with which this question is discussed; a discussion that is conducted with great consternation and often without real arguments.

No matter how cleanly someone argue; Weigh up the pros and cons in a balanced way and maybe even present a solid train of thought: Unfortunately, none of this is counted in heated discussions, because even a logically correct conclusion that "homosexual acts are sin" is in itself wrong. "It can not be what may not be".

In this situation, to write a catechesis that has the teaching of the Church in mind and lives on the hope that a good explanation would possibly lead thinking people to correct their opinion is more than daring.

Well, I made it through to it anyway. Not only to make the attitude of the church understandable (as is often the case on our homepage), but also to break a lance for our homosexual friends. Because with the fundamental refusal to consider arguments, the essential distinguishing feature that distinguishes good from bad arguments is nullified. This attitude of indifference also gives rise to false arguments against homosexuality, which must be refuted because they do both homosexuals and religion injustice.

That may be surprising. But this catechesis is not primarily written to represent a certain position, but to lead the discussion about the moral evaluation of homosexual acts again with rational arguments - and not with empty phrases, mutual defamation and media shit storms.

PDF file to print or download this catechesis

This catechesis is also available as a printed booklet (No. 001): Free order

A look at the publications, discussions and theological texts on the moral evaluation of homosexual acts reveals a deficiency that we cannot deny: Really sound arguments are seldom found.

... both in the rejection of homosexual acts and in the argumentative rejection of this rejection.

That doesn't make the argument any easier. It is a painful experience that positions that are difficult to justify argumentatively are nevertheless not represented more cautiously or with more understanding. On the contrary: the more uncertain the justification of a thesis, the more bold it is often presented - in the hope of covering up the lack of spirit with a strong presence.

I know that it will not be easy to look for arguments on this question and - if we find any - to evaluate them appropriately. But we can try it once.

The lack of arguments

It really is like this: There is hardly any rational reason why lived homosexuality should be something inherently bad - neither in the short-lived Internet nor in the centuries-old book tradition. But that doesn't necessarily have to be because there are no such arguments. Two good reasons spontaneously come to mind, one of which is already part of our argument.

In fact, for centuries (yes, probably even millennia), homosexuality was so obviously unnatural that at no time was there any broad social or philosophical discussion about it.

Until the introduction of the term "homosexuality" in 1868, there was no word in any language for what we call "homosexuality and heterosexuality" today.

That does not mean that there have not been people with homosexual tendencies for just as long - basically at all times. Homosexual acts were concealed, condemned, punished or tolerated (mostly tolerated if they were carried out by highly placed persons with the appropriate authority). Either way, it hasn't been discussed much.

It was not until the 19th century that a process began with a legal dispute that called this consensus into question; it only moved in the 20th century discussion also in Christian theology circles. But from the finding that the discussion of homosexuality started very late, it cannot be concluded that the earlier consensus in the moral rejection of homosexuality was unfounded.

But there is another reason that makes it clear why few arguments are given in the current discussion: it is very difficult for moral judgment logically compelling To find arguments; Intuition, compassion, education and culture, but even more conscience, a sense of truth and understanding are jointly responsible for our moral behavior. Someone who absolutely wants to justify his (questionable) behavior can hardly be rationally convinced of the opposite.

This becomes abundantly clear in special cases (which of course should not be equated with homosexual acts here): Having to convince a serial killer, kidnapper or terrorist through arguments that his actions are evil is often doomed to failure. But this is less due to the irrationality of the claim that kidnapping or murder are despicable. Rather, we have to admit that any rational argument depends on a minimum of benevolence and openness. This applies to every argument - regardless of its content. It can turn out to be a fatal illusion to try to dissuade unreasonable perpetrators from their actions simply by arguments.

Aristotle once said: "Anyone who claims that their mother should be mistreated does not deserve arguments, but beatings."

This does not mean, however, that morality cannot be scrutinized and tested argumentatively. The question is therefore who has to bear the burden of proof.

Distribution of the burden of proof

Morality is always based on the natural feeling of people; this is by no means completely manipulated by culture: Otherwise there would be no "deviants" from the prevailing morality, no revolutions, resistance movements and upheavals that we already know about in our cultural area.
We can trust our feelings to a very large extent; Even across cultures and epochs, moral ideas have remained largely the same. Contrary assertions are subject to an optical illusion: We immediately notice the opposites and arouse our astonishment; It does not matter whether it is different types of punishment in Islamic countries or strange torture devices from earlier epochs of our culture. Because besides these abnormalities, I don't know of any culture in which ingratitude is a virtue, in which one appreciates and praises lies, in which contracts should be deceived or promises must be broken. Of course there has always been - I even claim: right up to prehistoric times - love and relationship as a good; as well as lovelessness, relationship breakdown and physical violence as an evil.

So if we can initially trust our traditional culture and adopt its values ​​without being guilty of thoughtlessness, that does not mean that we do not have to be critical about it.

But whether we are really capable of criticism depends on whom we assign the burden of proof to. Does the old shaman have to prove to me that his traditions and values ​​can be rationally justified? Does the wise farmer's wife, who raises her children and grandchildren in the life experience that she has inherited from her grandparents, have to derive her position philosophically? Does a master craftsman of ancient blacksmithing have to be able to justify each of his traditional tricks before teaching the apprentice?
No, hardly. However, the given values ​​are not automatically sacrosanct. Rather, it is the duty of the shaman, the master or the grandmother to allow criticism of the youth, to listen to them and to consider them.

For in morality is more important than in any other area: whoever demands must give reasons; whoever criticizes must analyze. Whoever rejects must consider! The task of the "old" is not to justify their life in everything (one cannot live like that), but to give the innovators the opportunity to justify their criticism. And to consider this justification!

Well, this catechesis could actually be content with these explanations and close here. Because it should not be difficult (1) to prove the rejection of homosexuality as biblically and historically "outside the norm" and (2) to prove its usefulness biologically, evolutionarily and socially as at least doubtful. The burden of proof rests on those who advocate a change in norms: What arguments can be found that expose the moral rejection of lived homosexuality as a mere culturally-conditioned error? What are the rational arguments that call for a rethink on this issue?

The following applies: Just because a standard is old doesn't mean it is bad. Labeling a moral concept as "progressive" does not make it good; even if it is actually new.
There are too many examples in which people have followed dictators, demagogues and racists because they believed they were following a "new morality" and that the old no longer applies. Anyone who thinks calling a claim "medieval" is already an argument is walking on the same, very thin ice.

Well, I want to get it right up front: I don't know of any really workable argument for turning away from the rejection of homosexual acts. Nevertheless, the church is not satisfied with distributing the burden of proof and foregoing arguments of its own - on the contrary.

But let's keep in mind: the question of moral knowledge does not depend on whether I can justify my traditional position well. So whoever does not agree with the arguments of the church, which are mentioned in the fourth part (and I suspect that there will be quite a few), still has to prove himself and come up with more robust counter-arguments.
Even if the Catholic Church excels with its own justifications of the norms, the burden of proof is therefore not reversed: the right to lived homosexuality must be justified - not the other way around.

So we proceed in three steps: First (Part 1) let us present the biblical findings (we cannot, of course, undertake a historical, foreign cultures and religions survey here). After that (Part 2) Catholic morality even dares to give several theological and rational justifications for the church's position; immediately afterwards (Part 3) we must also point out undesirable developments in the arguments. In the end (Part 4) let us consider the arguments that seek to justify a change in ecclesiastical morality.
The last chapter (Part 5) is perhaps even the most important thing, because it no longer asks for arguments and counter-arguments, but rather reminds the church (after all, that is all the baptized!) of its very own task: salvation for souls, pastoral care.

Part 1: Biblical Arguments

I don't want to look into other cultures. However, a look at the Judeo-Christian Bible leaves no doubt: the facts are clear. Both the Old Testament (very clearly!) And the New Testament have clear instructions to condemn homosexual acts.

Let us first take a look at the Old Testament. In the book of Leviticus ("3rd Book of Moses") it is stated quite clearly:

Leviticus 18:22: «You must not sleep with a man as you sleep with a woman; that would be an abomination. "
In the translation of the "Good News" it says: «No man may sexual intercourse with another man; because I hate that. "

Leviticus 20:13: “If anyone sleeps with a man as one sleeps with a woman, then they have committed an atrocity; both are punished with death; their blood should come on them. "
The "Good News" translates: «If a man has sexual intercourse with another man, both have committed horrific ways. You must be killed; their blood finds no avenger. "

In addition to these "instructions", the story of the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah also illustrates the sin of the two cities by means of homosexual acts:

Genesis 19: 1-7: “The two angels came to Sodom in the evening. Lot was sitting in the city gate of Sodom. When he saw her, he got up, stepped up to her, threw himself down with his face to the ground and said: Gentlemen, come to your servant's house, stay the night, and wash your feet! In the morning you can continue on your way. No, they said, we want to spend the night outdoors.
But he talked to them until they went with him and stopped by. He prepared a meal for them, baked unleavened bread, and they ate. They had not yet gone to sleep when the townspeople surrounded the house, the men of Sodom, young and old, all the people from far and wide. They called for Lot and asked him: Where are the men who have come to you tonight? Out with them, we want to associate with them.
Lot went out to them, locked the door behind him and said: But my brothers, don't commit such a crime! "

Now the instructions in the Old Testament are of very different quality: It is not the same whether wearing clothes made of different materials (Lev 19:19), child sacrifice (Lev 20:20) or eating shellfish (Lev 11:10 ) is convicted. So we cannot simply refer to the text of biblical, pre-Christian laws with a clear conscience without following the establish ask for these arrangements and place them on theirs lasting importance to investigate.

Otherwise we expose ourselves to the danger of fundamentalism - in this case of "legal positivism": something is only forbidden because it has been established as forbidden.

The Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, reject any transmission of blood because the "enjoyment" of blood is rejected in several places in the Bible. Blood donations are not allowed, even if life is in danger, autologous blood donations are also discarded. However, the Jehovah's Witnesses fail to provide a reason that is understandable even today - and a reference to possible damage.

The repetition and affirmation of an arrangement from the Mosaic Law in the New Testament now has more weight. Jesus abolished the general validity of the Old Testament ordinances (e.g. the dietary regulations), but lifted important moral principles from oblivion (e.g. the indissolubility of marriage). What about the moral evaluation of homosexuality in the New Testament?

In the letter of the apostle Paul to the Romans (1: 26-27) it says: «Their wives exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural intercourse; in the same way men gave up natural intercourse with women and became inflamed with lust for one another; Men fornicated with men and received their due reward for their aberration. "

1 Corinthians 6: 9: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Make no mistake! Neither fornicators nor idolaters, neither adulterers nor lust boys, nor boy molesters, nor thieves, nor greedy, no drinkers, no blasphemers, no robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. "

1 Timothy 1, 8-10 (Good News): «We must not forget one thing: the law is not there for people who do what God wants, but for those who do not care about law and order. It is intended for sinners who despise God and his commandments, for people who kill father and mother, commit murder and fornication and associate as men with boys or their like, for human traffickers and those who lie and swear false oaths or do something else which is in contradiction to sound doctrine. "

This not only underscores the order from the pre-Christian era: it is not only a practice restricted to the Jewish people to reject homosexuality, but is adopted into Christian tradition without hesitation.

There is, however, neither in the AT nor in the NT Reason this arrangement, which is why it would be quite possible to question this moral concept with good arguments.The OT "prohibition of blood" is repeated in the New Testament (Acts 21:25) - and yet it is soon abandoned by the Christians. They have recognized that the "ban on blood" can ultimately be traced back to a mythological conception of blood as the "seat of the soul" - and that compliance with the appropriate hygienic standards has no harmful consequences for both the body and the soul.

As reasonable Christians, we should have patience and honesty for this: We must allow our Christian moral concepts, even if they are mentioned in both the OT and the NT, to be checked for their origin, justification and lasting significance.

Part 2: The justification for the moral rejection of homosexual acts

The justification for the moral rejection of homosexual acts is - fascinatingly - not at all directed directly against homosexuality. The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not justify rejection on the basis of a demonstration of harmfulness, but on the basis of a positive view of sexuality.

As in catechesis for artificial contraception and basic catechesis Described in detail about sexuality, sexual acts are not just a fun pastime, but rather a language. A language is only fulfilled and expressive if it remains open to the content for which it is intended.

The content of sexuality is indisputable: The highest form of sexuality (as the language of love) serves to strengthen the marriage bond - by being an expression of conjugal love.

Yes - strengthening the Marriage bond. That alone is a provocation in today's society; because in many areas of our society "sexual activity" has not first separated itself from the expression of love (which is generally already seen as loss), but from the marital framework, in which love and sexuality are granted a protected space.
For understanding the insight of the Catholic Church, however, it is indispensable to consider this framework: Sexual intercourse is the expression and seal of conjugal love. Thus everything that belongs to marriage is also part of the content conveyed through sexuality.
If, however, sexuality has nothing to do with the institution of "marriage", the completely Catholic marriage morality already lapses at this point: Then everyone - even two good friends, three work colleagues or the neighbors - could express their friendly, collegial or neighborly relationship in a sexual way Include actions.

But conjugal love cannot be expressed, which excludes an essential area of ​​this love and devotion. So a marriage that does not focus on the well-being of the spouse is not a marriage; just as little is a love that only wants to be limited to the partner and excludes all offspring from this love, not real conjugal Love.

Of course, a love that doesn't want an offspring is still love. There are numerous forms of love (within families, between friends, yes, basically between all people), all of them equivalent to can be - but not always similar are.

The conjugal Love, however, cannot be shaped at will. Marriage is given to humans (a gift!), It is not a bunch of Lego bricks for free handicrafts.

A marriage that degrades the marital act (sexual intercourse) to an arbitrary nature and shares it with many other people is also not a marriage - even if there is an emotional, mental and spiritual relationship with the beloved that is unique regardless of physical activity.

I emphasize: All this is the starting point of Catholic sexual morality, which only calls to mind what the Creator wrote in the hearts of all people. Anyone who does not share this initial situation need not be surprised if we come to opposing moral concepts. Therefore, any dispute about Christian morality should be done first these Discuss the basics. Again: First of all got to the connection between sexuality and marriage must be understood before we proceed to the moral evaluation of e.g. homosexuality.
However, if we accept these value standards, then there are clear consequences for the moral evaluation of homosexual acts.

There are many different forms of relationships between people, and in each of these relationships love for one another should be the main content. The Church explicitly protects and promotes all these forms of communities, whether as friendships, in associations, in monastic communities or in educational institutions, workplaces or in families.
These relationships can be shaped by the participants themselves with great freedom; The Church expressly encourages this freedom of design and also demands it - for example in relation to state restrictions that limit, for example, the freedom of assembly, the freedom of communication or the freedom to form associations.

Since I suspect that those who are critical and negative of the Church also read this catechesis, I emphasize that the Church itself is guilty in this regard. But it is just as indubitable that the Catholic Church has generally fulfilled the task of protecting freedom of relations.

Whenever people are so attached to one another in love that sexual acts are part of it - this is what the Church believes and this is the experience of most people - needs these Relationship an additional protection. It is an obligation (which is still seldom understood today) to protect the marriage not only with regard to outside influences, but also from the misconduct of lovers.

So one of the lovers may consider ("smaller") untruths to be allowed, even to be conducive to the relationship. Then, when the church points out that love in a relationship includes love for truth, it protects the partner from being lied to.

But even if both partners are mistaken in a relationship (for example, because they believe that they can live their relationship at the expense of society), the morality of the church indicates that they are ultimately also endangering their own relationship and damage.

The thought that no one should speak "consenting adults" (which means something like "consenting adults") into their behavior only applies where these adults agree with their free will on something that is also morally in order. When two people agree to harm each other, we must protect them from themselves too.

The Church therefore emphasizes that those who want to sexually express and deepen their relationship with one another cannot define certain characteristics of this love themselves. These include the essential characteristics of marriage, which are in the Catechesis on the sacrament of marriage will be explained in more detail: indissolubility, exclusive fidelity, mutual welfare and openness to offspring - and furthermore personal maturity, honesty, freedom and unconditionality.

If one of the essential characteristics is excluded, then we must not speak of "marriage"; and then the conjugal act is forbidden.

A relationship that, for example, should be carried out with several partners at the same time (e.g. in a circle of friends) is of course a good and permissible relationship - provided that it is not sexual in nature.
A friendship that only lasts for a while (e.g. between schoolchildren, students or work colleagues) is also an important part of our lives. It is clear that such relationships are not "indissoluble". But as soon as these friendships include sexual acts, we no longer have the freedom to give up these relationships at any time.

Sexual relationships that exclude one or more of these characteristics are "simulated marriages"; they pretend a reality that does not exist.

The Church rejects such relationships.

Mind you: It is not the relationships that are bad, but the inclusion of sexual acts that are reserved for marriage in relationships that do not want to be marriage.
Active homosexual relationships

If we apply the basic self-commitment of the church to the protection of the conjugal love relationship to sexually active, homosexual relationships, it becomes clear why the church sees therein an inadmissible mixture of elements that are good in themselves. A man or woman friendship that is characterized by mutual affection, even love, is not only permitted, but even desirable. Sexual activity that is determined by conjugal love and affection is in itself good and worth protecting. But one is not possible in the other.

Because a relationship between two men or two women is not and cannot be marriage.

Openness to the creation of new life

Part of a marital relationship is that sexual union is an expression of creative love. That is why the Catholic Church continues to reject artificial contraception, as well as sexual acts between same-sex partners.
Of course, not every sexual intercourse always has to have the goal of conceiving a child - that is not required in a marriage. Parents may choose the times of natural sterility and strive for sexual acts as a demonstration of love and a gift of joy.
But if a sexual relationship is in its essence unsuitable to be an expression of creative love, then it is not marital either.

This is one of the two reasons given in the ecclesiastical catechism why the church regards the exercise of homosexual inclinations as morally reprehensible:

«Based on the Holy Scriptures, which she describes as a serious aberration [cf. Gen 19, 1– Rom 1.24– 1 Cor 6.10; 1 Tim 1,10], church tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are inherently out of order' (CDF, ​​explanation 'humana' 8). They violate natural law, because the transmission of life is excluded during sexual intercourse. " (Catechism of the Catholic Church (KKK), no.2357)
Expression of mutual joy

The sexual act between man and woman reflects an excellent quality of conjugal love: by giving themselves to one another, the married couple experience excitement and joy themselves; those who strive for joy and fulfillment in the sexual act are raised and given gifts themselves.
Homoerotic sexuality, however - despite the opposite intention of the actors - is little more than alternating mutual satisfaction. The falling into one of giving and receiving cannot happen in the same act, but only one after the other.

Some homosexuals differentiate between homosexual acts and homosexual relationships: In homosexual relationships (especially between men), sexual activity is not always tied to a partner. This is why some defenders of homosexuality differentiate between physical and social fidelity. Homosexuals are also interested in long-term relationships in a stable partnership and value them very much. However, it is not a contradiction in terms if homosexuals also seek sexual contact with changing partners ("promiscuity"), because they do not see social loyalty to be impaired by physical-sexual "infidelity".

The Church sees the separation of social and physical loyalty not only as an undesirable consequence of homosexuality, but also as an indication that it is viewed as disordered. Experience has shown that disordered tendencies are much more difficult to control, in contrast to tendencies that are aimed at a good goal in themselves. Of course, heterosexuality can also be associated with disordered tendencies that require effort to be controlled. In heterosexual relationships, however, the (amicable) separation between social and physical fidelity is less common.

From the considerations of what constitutes a marriage, further shortcomings of a homosexual partnership are sometimes inferred. Again, the following shortcomings do not make a relationship a sinful relationship - God forbid! But that these deficiencies are suitable to exclude a sexual and thus marriage-like relationship is quite conceivable and at least worth discussing.

The need for supplements of men and women

The Catholic Church sees man as a personal being that exists in being with others. In this bond with fellow human beings, humans are no longer seen only as individuals, not only as fellow human beings, but as man and woman.
It is precisely in their polarity that people are related to each other as man and woman and complement each other - with all the components of their human existence: the sexual corporeality, the male and female psyche and the spirit. The complete harmony between two people, man and woman, is the top form of human existence!

A.M.J.M. Herman van den Spijker (a Franciscan monk who dealt with the subject of homosexuality as early as the 1960s and even on www.homowiki.de is honored), writes: «The unity in diversity, this complementarity on all levels, this holistic affection for the partner of the opposite sex, is the ideal norm according to anthropology. There are many possibilities of a human relationship. Not all relationships are perfect, nor can all be created in the same way. The father-daughter relationship is fundamentally different from that between a man and a woman. Every relationship between people is beautiful if it is really human and the nature of the relationship is respected. In and of itself, the personal relationship between man and woman can achieve the purest harmony on all levels of human existence. This partnership-like unity, this encounter, this being with a fellow human being, is a high point of human intersubjectivity.
The heterotropy, the real assignment to a partner of the opposite sex in the sense of a basic behavior, makes it possible for humans to realize this high form of human intersubjectivity. This is why heterotropy is ontically the ideal state. All that keeps a person from reaching this climax is a deficiency. One of the main obstacles is same-sex affection. It prevents people from meeting each other as man and woman in the highest form of human intersubjectivity: in lifelong unity in loyalty and in exclusive love, which may have a promising future perspective in the child. So one must say that same-sex affection from the ontic ideal is a lack, a diminution of being, a restriction of the possibilities of existence. "
(A.M.J.M. Herman van den Spijker: "Same-sex affection - homotropy: homosexuality, homoeroticism, homophilia - and Catholic moral theology" - Freiburg 1968, p. 197f.

In contrast to friendship, in which the same (at least similar) orientation becomes the connecting element, marriage lives from the Complement through opposition. Both friendship and sexual love are willed by God and are good; but active sexuality is reserved for sexual love.

In the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) statement dated November 14, 2006, entitled "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care" it says in the chapter "The Place of Sexuality in God's Plan": (translation by PvB)

«The phenomenon of homosexuality presents us with intellectual challenges that can only be mastered with a clear conception of sexuality in the divine order of creation. In the beginning God created man in His image; d. H. The mutual complementarity of the sexes of man and woman is a gift from God - and should be understood and respected as such. In this respect, human sexuality is a good thing, part of the gift created. God saw sexuality as "good" because He created man in His image, similar to Him, as man and woman.
The complementarity of man and woman as feminine and masculine is thus an integral part of the creation he designed. More accurate: Because Men and women are different - complementing each other - they can come together in a unit that is open to new life. Jesus taught that in the beginning of creation God created human beings as male and female. "Because of this, the man will forsake his father and mother, and the two [husband and wife] will become one flesh." (Mk 10: 6-8).

This is the second reason given in the catechism for the moral rejection of lived homosexuality: “They [homosexual acts, PvB] do not arise from a true affective and sexual need for supplementation. They are in no case to be approved (cf. also 2333.) » (Catechism of the Catholic Church (KKK), no.2357)

Only one action can be judged morally by a command or a prohibition. The judgment as to whether the person who acts is evil is left to those who are careful, dear God.
Also, an inclination is not yet an action: a person who has an inclination need not act according to it. Those who are cautious, prefer to leave the judgment as to whether a person cannot do otherwise to the expert.

In an instruction on homosexuality dated November 4, 2005, the Catholic Church reaffirmed what was already laid down in 1995 in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church (KKK)". There is between homosexuals Actions and homosexuals Tendencies differentiated:

«As for homosexuals Actions the Catechism teaches that they are called grave sins in Scripture. Tradition has always regarded them as inherently immoral and as a violation of natural law. They can therefore not be approved under any circumstances.

The deep seated homosexuals Tendencieswhich occur in a certain number of men and women are also objectively disordered and often represent a test for the persons concerned themselves. These persons must be treated with respect and tact; be careful not to unjustly reset them in any way. They are called to do the will of God in their lives. "

The urgent command of Jesus relates to this: «Do not judge, then you will not be judged either. Do not judge, then you will not be judged either! " (Luke 6:37). A verdict on that person, and thus ultimately about their state of salvation, is and remains exclusively reserved for God.
This is sometimes overlooked by Christian moralists who reject not only an act but also the person who acts; but more often this distinction is forgotten by those who feel condemned and disqualified as a person even though only one of their actions has been labeled immoral.

This also applies if there is a tendency in the person to take certain actions, for example to be quick angry or to secretly snack on the basis of nighttime cravings. Only the act can be judged morally. Occasionally the inclination (hot anger or ravenous hunger) is qualified (e.g. as "disordered") - but this does not mean that a person who feels "disordered inclinations" is already sinning! Ultimately, the current state of all people is "disordered".

Either way: A disqualification of a person who feels homosexual is forbidden, as is a disparagement of a homosexual agent as a "morally reprehensible person" person".

"You are a sinner!" - "You also."

To judge a person morally, that is, to speak of an incorrigible, evil or even diabolical person, is a sin itself - and not a small one! To call someone who has been caught telling a lie a "liar" is something else: The term "liar" does not mean that everything about this person is lying, but only that this person has lied at least once. You can also call someone a "fraudster" or a "murderer" if it has been proven that he has committed an act.
But beware! The limit of not calling a liar that just because he is once lied, but because one would like to assume that he is basically no longer trustworthy, is quickly exceeded. The question "Who would like to have a criminal live in their neighborhood?" assumes that the person who has broken the law is a completely different and worse person than the remaining, apparently good neighbors.

First of all, calling a person a "sinner" is not a condemnation. The rhetorical question from homosexuals: "Do you mean to say that we are all sinners?" may be answered with “yes” if they have committed homosexual acts. First of all, it is a matter of factual determination. So it is also true that someone who has lied can also be called a "sinner" without discriminatory ulterior motives.

The question also resonates with the experience that active homosexuals often see themselves as being discriminated against as a "source of all sorts of sins". In the statement "homosexuals are sinners" you then hear a moral judgment about theirs Person as a whole out - what cannot be justified.

Of course, even in homosexual relationships, the Church does not disapprove of anything and everything, but only that which contradicts the order of creation. With regard to narrow minds, the obvious is said: Of course, good is also good when homosexuals do it!

I do not want to deny that some statements are meant to be devastating. "You are a sinner" should then mean: "You are a completely sinful person!" - as if it were someone who sins incessantly and is therefore to be avoided.
But that is a derailment - not the normal case. It also does not contribute to objectifying the discussion if factual statements are understood as personal defamation in case of doubt. The statement "You are a sinner" in a theological or moral discussion is one Factual statement, not more. Implying that a person has "acted sinfully" is not an attack or outrageous interference, but a perhaps even helpful statement. Christians in particular should not be frightened by such a statement, as one's own "being a sinner" is the prerequisite for "being redeemed".

With regard to sexuality, the Church is really swimming against the tide of time, at least as it flows in our western world. For the Church does not recognize any extramarital sex life as correct, not even a heterosexual one. To everyone who cannot or does not want to marry or is not yet married, she says: You should be sexually celibate! Any "sex life" against this commandment is a more or less weighty sin. Mind you: She says that to all people, not just homosexuals!
With this demand, the Church causes a large majority in our latitudes to shake their heads. But with those who believe you and also listen to the quiet voice of your conscience, there will again be a majority who make an effort, but - as with other commandments - repeatedly fail. The Church says to them: God has patience with you, you too have patience with yourselves! We are all sinners and will remain so for our earthly life.

The terminology used by gender ideologues is not entirely innocent of mixing factual statements and personal attacks. With the invention of the term "sexual identity", sexual orientation was linked to one's own identity in such a way that questioning sexual practices can automatically be viewed as an attack on the person.
Apart from the fact that an objective discussion is now impossible under these circumstances, this is also an inadmissible reduction of the human being.

A person who secretly uses the refrigerator at night would never understand the advice of his doctor to refrain from it as an attack on himself - because this person has not inextricably linked his identity with the "refrigerator looting".

The question of sexual identity relates solely to the question of whether this person is male or female. The question of the sexual Alignment However, it is no longer a question of identity - even if the person concerned raises it himself. Because Next His / her identity as man and woman distinguishes the man or woman even more: man, person, scientist, neighbor, driver - he / she is also smart, irascible, courageous, stingy (and much more).

If an irascible man who drives a car loses his driver's license due to this unfavorable combination of his inclinations - that is, he is effectively forbidden to drive a car - it is not an interference with his identity. Even if the male, irascible motorist sees himself primarily as a driver and only incidentally as a man.

If someone is restricted in the exercise of an activity - be it because of state prohibitions, church morals or because of other circumstances - this is not an attack on his person.
Unless, someone would only be restricted in their freedoms because they have a certain identity. So it would of course be a clear discrimination if one forbids someone to do an act that cannot be assessed in itself (such as driving a bus) simply because he is a black African. Or - so it is now stated - a homosexual is forbidden to live out his sexuality only because one has something against homosexuals. That would actually be "homophobia" (fear of the same sex) and just as despicable as racism and "xenophobia" (fear of everything foreign).
The logician calls such a train of thought "genetic fallacy": Because a bad person does something, this action must be bad. - That is of course a blatant mistake!

Unfortunately, this fallacy occurs in church circles just as it does with all people. I heard a devastating verdict from a student about the theologian Bernhard Wenisch (who wrote a really good book on the question of miracles), because "Wenisch is an apostate priest". To conclude from a person's biography that they are no longer capable of proper theology is defamatory.

But the reverse "genetic fallacy" is also possible. For example, Bill Gates is a popular speaker in America - and a welcome guest in evangelical churches, where he is consulted on questions of personal life. From the fact that Mr. Gates is a very wealthy person to conclude that he is therefore competent in all life questions, would be a fallacy.

"Homophobia" means that the moral quality of his actions is deduced from the judgment made about the person. But that is - at least in Catholic morality - not allowed and is not the case here on this issue. The opposite is not even true: it is not inferred from humans about their actions, nor from actions about humans. The quality of man does not result from what he does, but from what he is: a beloved creature of God.
"Homophobia" as a real reason for rejecting homosexual acts can only make sense if it is assumed that the sexual acts of a homosexual are basically irrelevant - and that their moral quality can only be derived from a fearful rejection of the person.

Anyone who accuses someone of having "homophobia" just because he or she has a morally different view of active homosexuality than one is acting extremely dishonest. To accuse the church as a whole of "homophobia" is nothing more than an argumentative attempt to escape.

4th part: Arguments of the proponents of lived homosexuality

The question of where homosexuality comes from - whether it is an acquired trait (e.g. through upbringing, a childhood experience or through a free will) or an innate tendency (genetic) - is of great importance for the question of a change in sexual orientation ( although the designation of the change as "cure" is heavily criticized because it implies that homosexuality is pathological).

The question of whether the homosexual tendency is innate (as many claim today) or whether the following applies: "Nobody was born homosexual" (as R. Cohen and several others say), is irrelevant for the Church. Incidentally, she has no opinion of her own because it is not a question of faith and she is not competent for it. It only takes up what it takes from the free discussion of scientists. By the way: Nobody should morally defame another because he thinks differently on this point than himself.

Aside from the relatively rare and not very widespread idea that homosexuality is based on a free choice, most people assume that the propensity for homosexual acts is not itself to blame. Some conclude from this that such a tendency should not be called "disordered" and that the resulting actions should not be morally reprehensible. After all, the homosexual person cannot be punished for their characteristics - and therefore cannot be punished with a "prohibition of action".

The answer to this thought is simple, albeit difficult to bear for those affected. Because we humans do not come into the world perfectly and certainly not morally finished. Children have to be brought up, people have to pull themselves together again and again because we are a whole bundle of "disordered" tendencies. Children have a tendency to take what they desire and first have to laboriously distinguish between "mine" and "yours". Some people have a tendency to divulge confidential information, others have a tendency to set someone else's house on fire. Either way, just because there is a tendency doesn't mean it is good.

In addition, the following applies: Just because an inclination is not good does not limit the resulting actions as a punishment. A prohibition to act out a certain tendency is not a punishment, even if it is sometimes felt that way. On the contrary: Avoiding certain actions that have been recognized as bad may cost you to overcome and occasionally be a victim. But this is not what a judge who judges my offenses tells me, but it tells me my love for my neighbor or at least my insight into what is good.

Whether an inclination can be lived out or not is not already decided by the fact that this inclination is present; not even if this tendency occurs rarely or frequently - perhaps even in the majority. The occurrence of homosexuality itself is not an argument for its moral quality.

But from the (not yet scientifically proven) assumption that the predisposition to homosexuality is determined by genes (or nature), a similar, somewhat different argument is derived: If nature equips a person with homosexual inclinations, then that is yes after all, a "natural inclination" - and not a moral offense. But what is "natural" cannot be bad either. And, if the person making the argument is a religious person, he continues: God created man as he is, even in His image; then the person as he is cannot be bad, let alone "bad".

So it says in the creation story (here: Gen 1, 26-31): "Then God said: Let us make people as our image, like us. They should rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, over cattle, over the whole earth and over all reptiles on the land. So God created man in his image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them ... God saw everything that he did It was very good, it was evening and there was morning: the sixth day.

Well - that says something very important. Man as such is good, and none of his qualities can deprive him of this goodness, his worth and his dignity. It is not acceptable to belittle homosexuals in their personhood, in their dignity and also in their children of God.
It does happen from time to time, but it is precisely not because of the assertion that homosexuality is a disordered tendency or that homosexual acts are a sin. Because the term "natural" includes Not automatically assumes that everything is "naturally" in the best possible order, also morally.

Even with a certain reinterpretation of the theory of evolution, some try to construct the argument that everything that occurs in nature has its "evolutionary" meaning. This assertion is also vigorously contradicted (if only from a scientific point of view).

At first glance, this seems to be a contradiction to "good creation" - and to the likeness of man to God. But man is no longer as God created him; he has "naturally" strange tendencies, occasionally illnesses, disabilities and even morally questionable dispositions - for example pyromania.

Oh -! I can already hear the critical readers shouting: "Now he's also comparing homosexuality with a propensity for criminal acts!" - Yes I do. But I don't see a problem in this, because it depends on in what way something is compared. I am not suggesting that homosexuality and pyromania can be compared in terms of their moral quality - only in terms that they are both one Disposition is for which the human being cannot do anything himself. If the desire to set fire is, firstly, a tendency not caused by the pyromaniac himself and, secondly, pyromania is an inclination that can lead to despicable acts, then it can be concluded that at least in this case what is "naturally" was given is not OK. This can then also apply to homosexuality or kleptomania.

It is helpful to distinguish between three different meanings of "natural". On the one hand, we use the adjective "natural" as opposed to "artificial" or "chemical" (where chemistry is also a part of nature - but that doesn't belong here).A purely "natural organic product" means nothing else than that it does not (should) contain any artificially produced chemicals.

Which does not have to mean that "natural organic products" are therefore also healthier. Especially not if the consumer suffers from a deficiency disease that requires additional food. But that doesn't belong here either.

The second meaning of "natural" refers to everything that occurs in creation - not manipulated by humans. An untouched landscape, a clear mountain lake is "natural", but so are flu or AIDS viruses, raids by predators, earthquakes and falling asteroids. Not all of it is also desirable.

A third use of the term "natural" relates to the moral theory of natural law. What is good is what corresponds to the nature of the thing. "Nature" does not simply mean the way the world is, but rather its essence and meaning. Anyone who tries in this way to prove that homosexuality is "natural" has a hard time.

Because in the creation account the essence of creation - in this case the essence of male-female creation - is also mentioned: "Then God said: Let us make people as our image, like us ... So God created people as his image He created him in the image of God. He created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them: Be fruitful and multiply! "

The meaning or the nature of sexuality is - according to the creation report as well as the biological function - directed towards the generation of offspring (although not exclusively). Homosexuality certainly cannot be called "natural" in this third sense of the word.

Homosexuals are bullied out of the church!

Sorry if I put it a bit more blatantly: that homosexuals are bullied out of the church is first and foremost a claim made by the homosexuals themselves. Above all: a mostly untrue claim!
Sure: if the ban on homosexual acts is supposed to be a kind of bullying, you are right. But nobody in the church who has homosexual tendencies is excommunicated for that reason alone.

I admit that in the church too - especially at the grassroots level, in the congregations - discriminatory looks, statements and decisions have occurred and keep coming back. Unfortunately.

But the teaching of the church is unequivocal: for people with homosexual tendencies what applies to all Christians applies: whoever believes in the gospel and tries to live according to it belongs to the church. One can only exclude oneself through unbelief and sin. Belief or disbelief has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

Many people believe that life in the church would be easier if there was only the basis and no hierarchy, no pope and no canon law. It is often overlooked that we also need the superstructure to remain tolerant. The tendency to exclude people from the parishes without the Pope and church teaching, because one feels a certain aversion, for example, to different people or homosexuals, on the other hand, needs a strong hierarchy that prevents the actual "on-site excommunication" by intolerant parishioners and us again and again reminds that such marginalization tendencies are not Christian.
The Church should be more merciful in this regard

I have already stressed it in other catecheses: the Church cannot “allow” or “forbid” on questions of morality. The church has a duty to proclaim the commandments of God; it cannot and must not presume to issue or abolish moral commandments. That is why they are called "commandments of God" and not "church commandments".

There are also "church commandments". Exactly five. But they relate exclusively to the church life of Catholics and are not mandatory for all others. In addition, the church commandments can be changed - by the church.

It is a fundamental misunderstanding that the morality taught by the church is basically any definition that could at some point be changed again and from which exceptions could be allowed from time to time, similar to the highway code. Others, on the other hand, think that every moral value was not "enacted" by the church, but simply by God. And since God is good, dear and merciful, he would certainly change some of the commandments again or turn a blind eye here and there.

I cannot fully conduct this discussion at this point. But it should be clear that the church cannot freely decide on questions of murder, torture and rape that these are actually a good thing in extreme situations. Otherwise one would only have to praise the church for its flexible handling of morals with regard to the attitude of its members in the case of witch hunts, on crusades, during torture or during the Inquisition: «Very flexible morals! But if morality is indomitable for the church and cannot be changed by it, then the morality of the church is obviously given - and not made by it.

Of course, this does not apply to all areas of morality. Exceptions to the requirement of celibacy are just as possible as to the obligation to pray before eating. That is why the Church distinguishes between "divine" and "human" law. Neither the Church, nor the Pope, or a theologian can compromise on divine law.

An occasional change in divine law and given moral values ​​- even if it is due to alleged mercy - is not tenable. In this way the church would claim an unheard-of right and make itself God.

The state must recognize gay marriage!

It is undisputed that the state is called upon to protect human relationships, wherever they are socially important and at the same time threatened. According to my representatives of homosexuals, this also applies to relationships between homosexual partners.

However, in addition to marriage, there are many other interpersonal relationships that are of value to society. However, there is no need to regulate friendship, for example, by law. It may also be that friendships between self-confessed homosexuals have a bad reputation; however, there can be no question of a threat.

An "equality" of homosexual connections with marriage, on the other hand, would be unequal treatment, because it not only equates a non-marital connection between two people with a conjugal connection - but also reduces marriage to the social recognition of other, non-marital connections. The legal privilege of marriage and the family is offset by their incomparably high importance for the common good. The association of two men or women does not result in marriage, even if one calls it that.

Homosexuality and evolution

The claim that homosexuality is a natural phenomenon is often backed up with a reference to homosexual behavior in the animal world. The finding is quite clear - the argumentative benefit, however, is low. Because here too, the occurrence of behavior in the animal world is not to be equated with the label "natural behavior" if "natural" is used in a judgmental sense. Not everything that occurs in nature is good.

Just think of the mantis' habit of biting off the male's head during fertilization ... or read, for example, here: http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/20/20954/1.html

Another aspect of animal homosexuality is the presumption that homosexuality is genetic. If this is the case, and if this is a continuation of the homosexuality genetically caused in the animal world, the question of evolutionary benefit arises. At first glance, homosexuality is evolutionarily counterproductive: instead of caring for offspring, homosexual couples are evolutionary dead ends in the animal world.

As always in evolutionary theory, it is assumed that the presence of a genetically determined phenomenon means that there must also be an evolutionary benefit.

At least two speculations about a possible selection advantage of homosexuality can be found on wikipedia:

«(1) Renouncing one's own children could serve the clan by selecting relatives, since it ensures that a larger number of people can look after their offspring. This could mean that renouncing one's own children also serves to care for the genetically closely related nephews and nieces, and thus also facilitates the survival of one's own genes (see also "The egoistic gene"). However, this theory does not explain the evolutionary benefit of the Homosexuality, since asexual behavior or predisposition would have the same effect. "

«(2) Female relatives of homosexual men seem to be more fertile. A study by the University of Padua found that female relatives on the maternal side have more offspring than the average. Provided that genes, which also contribute to the development of homosexuality, are inherited on the maternal side and are also responsible for higher fertility, this could compensate for the disadvantage or even overcompensate. "

But even wikipedia rejects evolutionary thinking as a basis for the moral evaluation of homosexuality - we agree with that.

5. Conclusion and pastoral outlook

It is not just an empty phrase that the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" closes with an appeal:

2358 A significant number of men and women are homosexual. You did not choose this disposition yourself; for most of them it is a test. They should be treated with respect, compassion and tact. Be careful not to unjustly set them back in any way. These people, too, are called to fulfill the will of God in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite the difficulties that may arise for them from their disposition with the Lord's sacrifice on the cross.

2359 Homosexual people are called to chastity. Through the virtues of self-control, which teaches inner freedom, they can and should - perhaps with the help of selfless friendship -, step by step, but resolutely, approach Christian perfection through prayer and sacramental grace.

This appeal is certainly sorely needed: people who deviate from a social norm still have to struggle with prejudices (despite the contrary assertion of a tolerant society). However, it is incompatible with the Christian image of man to neglect, discriminate or exclude people only on the basis of their inclinations. Again: In this regard, everyone has to hit each other on the chest again and again and confess that they do not always live up to this ideal. This also applies to the representatives of the Catholic Church, our parishes and also to me.

However, there is a wide range of views on what constitutes "neglect" or "discrimination". A moral classification of behavior - possibly well justified - is clearly not discriminatory. So it remains a challenge to devote oneself to the arguments of the Catholic Church without reservation and "sine ira et studio" - calmly and critically.

On the other hand, it must never stop with a moral evaluation of questionable behavior. We Christians are always (!) Called upon to turn to those affected; knowing full well that no person (not even a Christian) is free from disordered inclinations or sinful behavior. Pastoral care for homosexuals, like any real pastoral care, must be free from arrogance and condescension; the possible talent of many homosexual people for creativity, spirituality, aesthetics and art is only one possible connection point.

If a "cure", that is, reorientation of the homosexual inclination into a heterosexual one, is possible, the church is happy for those affected. Whether this is possible is again not a question of faith. To even make a claim out of this would be nonsense.

Living alone and abstaining from sex is too difficult for humans. That is why the Church wants, as is already happening in the USA, a kind of "self-help groups" for such people: With the help of spiritual programs, those affected should help and encourage one another to live according to the Gospel as Christians. From these groups male friendships (without sexual relations) can and should emerge, as they are also addressed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

I would like to conclude with the words of Auxiliary Bishop Andreas Laun: «Let us assume: someone has a strong same-sex desire, which also turns out to be" incurable ", but he (or she) renounces a corresponding sex life for a lifetime, namely from Love for Christ and in faith in God's command - then he can become a great saint precisely because of this, and I bow to the greatness of this person.
Certainly there have been such homosexual saints, and we just don't know. It would be good if there were some of whom we know: to encourage our sisters and brothers who feel like sex and to protect them from the arrogance of other Christians. "

Would you like to write to me? Peter is responsible for this catechesis. I would appreciate an answer!