|Thoughts on same-sex marriage - Jul 10|
|2011 - Viewpoint|
|Saturday, 09 July 2011 23:27|
The following paper was presented by Deacon Harold Woodruffe at a recent meeting of the clergy of the Southern Vicariate at which one of the topics discussed was “Same-sex Unions”.
Blessed John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, said, “It is an illusion to think we can build a true culture of human life if we do not … accept and experience sexuality and love and the whole of life according to their true meaning and their close interconnection” (EV, n. 97). If we accept that in the beginning God made us male and female, we need to consider why He did so. This would be the beginning of ethics and proper culture as God designed it – a culture of life.
Once there are God-ordered relationships between the sexes, there will be God-ordered relationships between couples, and by extension between families, and communities, and states, and nations. The converse is also true. When we examine where we are in our country, in the USA, and in the world, can we say that God-ordered relationships abound? Discussing this matter recently in a small group of about 15 people, there was no one who could say that there were no instances of irregular (not God-ordered) relationships in their close family circle. Do we believe that increasing the sample size would change that outcome?
The design of human bodies of either sex makes no sense unless considered with reference to that of the other sex. In Theology of the Body, Blessed John Paul II’s writings on “Human Love in the Divine Plan” (Pauline Books, 1977) he says that the call to communion, the holy communion, inscribed in our sexuality is “the fundamental element of human existence in the world” (TB, 16). We are told that in our own time, the last days, God has spoken to us through His Son (Heb 1:2) and Jesus himself said “To have seen me is to have seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). He is the complete revelation of the Father. He is the Word made flesh. God reveals His love for us through Him (Jn 3:16), and Jesus calls us to copy the example He has given us (Jn 13:15). This is my Body which will be given for you; do this as a memorial of me (Lk 22:19). His love is FTFF:
Free –He could have performed a miracle and escaped – he had escaped being killed before (See Jn 10:18; Jn 10:39.);
Total – Jesus gave all that He had in total surrender and self-donation: This is my Body broken for you.
Faithful – His entire life reflected this journeying and preaching the Good News, teaching His disciples, dying for them/us. His commitment went even further – “I am with you always, yes to the end of time” (Mt 28:20). I am going to prepare a place for you and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me (Jn 14:2-3), and
Fruitful – Jesus’ life and death have borne an abundance of fruit by the redemption of our sinful nature, and the evangelisation of the world. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full (Jn 10:10).
Couples seeking to be joined in Holy Matrimony are questioned against this FTFF template. The minister asks: “Have you come here freely (F), and without reservation (T) to give yourselves to each other in marriage?” He goes on: “Will you love and honour each other as husband and wife for the rest of your lives (F), and finally, “Will you accept children lovingly from God…”(F)? This call to life-giving communion between spouses, male and female, can be seen as a foreshadowing of the Eucharist, and as a call to the couple to be a sacrament or sign of God’s love made flesh, to the Body of Christ – a further foreshadowing of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and His Bride the Church.
The current culture is to disregard the words of our Lord, “…that the Creator from the beginning made them male and female and that He said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body?” (Mt 19:4,5). He further pointed out that man has no jurisdiction in this regard: “So then, what God has united, man must not divide” (Mt 19:6). The current culture is to forget that this is God’s work, and in the spirit of “charity to other points of view, and tolerance” think that it is acceptable to try to change it by the process of changing man’s laws. We understand that many in our culture say to Jesus’ message, as many of his followers said in Jesus day, “this is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?” (Jn 6:60). Do we follow the example of our Lord Jesus and hold fast to the truth and proclaim it, asking even those closest to us if they want to go away too (Jn 6:67)? Or, do we just remain silent and let the strident voices of the false shepherds lead the flock to ruin? Or, do we seek to water down what Jesus has taught us, in an attempt to make the doctrine more acceptable?
God is a God of love. He is also a God of justice. Up to the time that man was created, God saw all that He had made was good; after He created man (male and female), He saw that it was very good. Still, when Adam and Eve disobeyed, although he put things in place for atonement of the human race, they, and all of us with them, suffered the consequences of their sin. David was a man after God’s own heart; he still was made to suffer as a consequence of his sin. Moses talked with God face to face. He still was punished by not being allowed to enter the Promised Land for his failing. God is Love but there are consequences, dire consequences, for failing to do what He expects us to do, what He has commissioned us to do. We show our love for Jesus by keeping His commandments, just as He has kept all His Father’s commandments (Jn 15:10), by doing all those things that He has commanded us, including the teaching of all nations “to observe all the commands I gave you” (Mt 28:20).
Do we, as clergy, choose to show that we love Jesus, and let our united voice be heard, speaking the words of Jesus that have come, by His own admission, from the Father (Jn 14:10)?
Regardless of what the world tells us, same-sex marriage has no meaning – it is an inconsistency in terminology.