“Same-Sex Marriage”is Contrary to Biblical Teaching on Marriage

Marr_JamWr09_webThis week in most parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington, priests are being asked to review with their congregations some basic teachings on marriage and to explain why the Church opposes (so-called) “same-sex Marriage.”

The Archdiocese has issued a flyer to be placed in every bulletin and you can read it here:  MARRIAGE FLYER. But rather than repeat what is said there I would like to add some additional insights.

There are many good reasons to oppose same-sex “marriage,” some of them sociological, some of them psychologicalal. But, at the end of the day, the most fundamentalal reason that the Roman Catholic Church opposes a redefinition of marriage is that the Church is the steward and guardian of the truth God has given us in the Scriptures and formal Teachings of the Church. Many people want the Church to do what she simply cannot do. The Church is NOT ABLE to throw scripture and natural law overboard. We must continue to insist on what scripture teaches. We cannot nullify it. The Church has received the mandate to preach and teach God’s word whether in season or out of season. Whether popular or unpopular (2 Tim 4:2).

God established marriage in the Book of Genesis and we are taught the following essentials about marriage there:

  1. It was not good for Adam to be alone. He needed a “suitable partner.” (Genesis 2:18) Now notice the word “suitable”  a word which the dictionary defines as “apt, proper or fitting.”
  2. The suitable partner for Adam is first of all human – for none of the animals proved to be suitable for Adam. (Gen 2:20)
  3. The suitable partner for Adam was a woman. God created Eve, a woman, not Steve, a man. (Gen 2:22)
  4. The suitable partner for Adam  was one woman. For God did  not created Eve and Ellen and Jane and Sue. Hence polygamy is not of God’s design. True enough a number of the Old Testament Patriarchs DID have more than one wife. But what the Bible reports as a fact does not necessarily imply approval. Fact is, the Bible shows how polygamy ALWAYS leads to trouble. As Biblical  history unfolds, polygamy begins to disappear.
  5. Adam is to enter a stable relationship  with his suitable partner Eve for the text says that man should leave his father and mother and cling to his wife (Gen 2:24). To cling means to adhere, to stick like glue. Hence, divorce and disunity are not part of God’s vision for marriage. Husbands and wives are to strive for unity and stability by God’s grace. The easy (no-fault) divorce of our culture is hostile to God’s plan for marriage. Couples should not seek easy ways out, they should do the work necessary to preserve union and stability in their commitment of marriage.
  6. Adam and Eve are told to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it (Gen 1:28). Now here is the essential rationale as to why their marriage should be stable and heterosexual. In the first place marriage should be stable because that is what is best for children. Secondly, the procreation and rearing of children is an ESSENTIAL end of marriage. Some argue that gay couples can adopt. True enough, under civil law, they can adopt but they cannot procreate. Their ability to procreate is instrincally impossible. It is true that some older couples cannot have children and they are able to marry in the Church. But their infertility is due to a natural quality given by God. It is intrinsic to the feminine nature that fertility decreases with age and ultimately ceases. Homosexual union is intrinsically sterile an can never meet the requirement of being fruitful and multiplying. Adoption is not procreation.
  7. Jesus reiterates the teachings of Genesis in Matthew 5 and 19 (inter al.) saying that “At the beginning God made them, male and female….hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two  of them become one flesh.” Jesus does not say a man clings to his partner, rather his “wife.” Jesus then says with his own authority: “What God has joined together, let no one separate.” This text surely forbids divorce but one might also argue a wider interpretation wherein Jesus forbids us to tamper with what God has established. (cf Matt 19:varia)

Here then is the data of Scripture. The Church is the guardian of Scripture. We are not free to tear out pages, cross out sentences, substitute words etc. Some claim we are simply bigots, homophobes, or whatever the latest name or label  they wish to attach. But in the end the Church can do nothing other than to uphold what God definitively teaches us. We are to do this in season and out of season. Right now, insofar as popular culture goes, we are “out of season,”  but faithful to the Word of God anyway we speak. We can do no other.

Who Gets to Decide?

I was at a rally today sponsored by the Stand4 MarriageDC.com Coalition. I also witnessed the leaders of this coaltion file at the DC Board of Elections a ballot initative  on the issue of same sex “marriage.”  The Initiative,  if approved would place on the ballot for a vote by all the citizens of the District of Columbia the following delcaration: “Only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in the District of Columbia.”

What is at stake here is the definition of Marriage in the District and who gets to say what that is. Some months ago the DC City Council decided, without holding hearings, to recognize same-sex unions from other jurisdictions.  Currently, there are plans by David Catania and others on the Council to enact further legislation to recognize same-sex unions contracted right here in DC.

The definition of Marriage is NOT something that should be left to 13 people decide. This is too important for such limited input. It deserves to be brought before all the voters of this city who have a stake in what is determined. Marriage is not some bureaucratic or merely legal entity, it is a pillar of civilization. The arrogance of the City Council in refusing even to hold public hearings before the last vote is manifestly undemocratic. It seems clear that advocates of same-sex unions have little interest in hearing from the voters on this critical issue.

But you ought to pay careful attention to this issue for its implications are sweeping. At stake is the definition of marriage as well as the democratic process. Will marriage be simply defined by legislators in closed door session, by blunt judicial fiats or willit be decided by the citizens of the District of Columbia after thoughtful discussion and preparation for a vote? These are significant issues and you and I ought to pay attention and participate in the process. Learn more of this at www.Marriagemattersdc.org

I would like to conclude by quoting from a letter of Archbishop Wuerl who reminded the priests of this Archdiocese that we, as a Church have the duty to speak and teach clearly on this matter:

The definition of marriage originates in the created order and comes from the natural law. At the core of the Church’s teaching on family life is God’s plan for the human race set forth so majestically in the Book of Genesis. The original plan — still operative today — calls for the man and woman to come together and form a communion of mutual support. “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him” (Gen 2:18). This partnership is to be a permanent one. This teaching was confirmed explicitly by Jesus himself: “…Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matt 19:6).  As custodian of these truths, the Church is compelled to preach this to the world.