Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Homosexual Acts (part 2)

Arguments from Reason

Besides the arguments from Holy Scripture against homosexual activity, there are additional arguments from natural human reason. Homosexual activity becomes a failure to properly integrate genital activity into the good of the persons performing the act. Homosexual activity lacks the same level of self-gift manifested in heterosexual activity. This lack leads to homosexual activity being primarily a selfish and self-gratifying act. An attempt is made, however, to get outside of one's self and to "unite" with the other. But the difficulty in this endeavor is that the two individuals do not have a common and substantive good to serve, as do two married persons. These latter have a common transcendent purpose, fostered by the very act of intercourse, namely, a love and life-giving union. Homosexual unions are not open to life; "they do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357)

Moreover, homosexual relationships lack real unity. The lack of bodily coadaptation (of male to female organs) reflects the natural absence of a truly unifying good for the action. In brief, homosexual acts have a built-in frustration. The persons involved sense that their actions are not going anywhere. There is usually a sense that one is seeking in another what one lacks in oneself. When two persons with the same wound enter into a relationship, it is usually not long lasting, precisely because each is seeking in the other what each lacks, but the other can never truly provide it. The lack usually lies in the woundedness of one's gender identity stemming from one's family of origin (see the psychological points made in the last chapter). A longing for same-sex relationships represents a desire to fulfill legitimate unmet same-sex emotional needs, but the eroticizing of those desires can lead to sexual acts that can never be truly complementary. Therefore, two people with SSA cannot enter into a deep and fulfilling "monogamous" relationship with each other precisely because of the inability to truly give oneself to another. This self-gift can only occur in relationships where the persons are truly complementary in their sexuality, which includes the bodily complementarity of male and female. This explains why gay men tend toward excessive promiscuity, always seeking "Mr Right" who can fully satisfy them. This also explains why lesbians tend toward apparent long-lasting monogamous relations but in fact are characterized by severe emotional dependency rather than a genuine self-gift of one to another.

There is, moreover, a profound sterility in homosexual relationships, because such relationships are not open to life; except perhaps by sperm donation or the use of surrogate mothers. What the persons with SSA needs is to integrate one's bodily desires into a purpose beyond self-gratification. This means a conscious and free sublimation of sexual desire into some form of service for the community so the person can experience self-gift. In this way one can avoid the psychological division found in so many persons with SSA who find themselves doing what they do not wish to do.

There are additional arguments of a more traditional kind; for example, insofar as homosexual acts do exclude all possibility of the procreation of life, they do not fulfill an essential purpose of human sexuality. This point is clearly made by the "Declaration On Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics" (8): "For according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality." Heterosexual intercourse is therefore directly related to family. For this reason the Church has taught consistently that the marital act be open to the procreation and rearing of children. In no way does the homosexual act compare with the unitive and procreative acts of marriage.

(Source: Same Sex Attraction: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice by Fr. John F. Harvey, OSFS)

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