This post is part of the Love Wins series – a series of posts covering topics within the issue of gay marriage. The goal of these posts is not to convince anyone to think what I think, but to create a conversation and explore the topics together. I am not an authority figure on this issue, and will not always approach this from a highly academic perspective, but am writing as a Catholic young voice seeking the truth. I hope you’ll follow along and be part of the conversation!
Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? You probably know that the Catholic Church teaches that gay marriage is wrong. To kick off this series, I thought it would be good to talk about why.
Before a Catholic wedding, the couple is asked:
“(Name) and (name), have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?”
“Will you honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?”
“Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”
The couple then vows to take the other person “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
Those are pretty big promises if you ask me.
These vows mean that the couple has promised to freely live in unity with the other person through the highs and lows of life while honoring each other and welcoming children (the result of their union) until their marriage bond is broken by one of them dying.
The male and female body, which are made for union with each other, have a language of their own. In the total giving of themselves to each other, they are saying “I am completely yours. You are completely mine. We are one now, and possess a bond forever that is unbreakable.” Naturally, children are a result (barring any struggle with infertility). And this unity is made concrete through the promises made to each other by taking marriage vows.
This is why the Catholic Church cannot, does not, and will not, recognize the union of two people of the same gender as marriage: it is simply impossible.
The female body was not made for union with another female body, and the same for men. It is naturally impossible. This is self evident. It’s not a rule made up by old white guys. It’s biology. The self-giving type of love demanded in a marriage from the Catholic perspective is impossible with two people of the same gender.
Well, so what?
If two people love each other, who cares if they’re able to have kids, right? It’s a legitimate question. But in response, I have to ask: Is the feelings of two consenting adults the only prerequisite to marriage?
The questions couples are asked before the wedding aren’t about their feelings. And that’s for a reason.
It may sounds horribly unromantic, but marriage through the eyes of the Catholic Church isn’t just about living a blissfully sexy life with your chosen partner.
It’s about getting each other to heaven.
THAT is why gay marriage cannot, does not, and will never exist within the Catholic Church.
It’s not because we don’t want people to be in love. It’s because love is about so much more than pleasure.
Now don’t get me wrong. Homosexual couples seeking to have a recognized union aren’t necessarily seeking it solely for pleasure. I’m sure many of them value marriage. And it’s absolutely true that many heterosexual couples out there, even within the Catholic school of thought, seek marriage solely for pleasure’s sake.
That doesn’t make either case right.
The Catholic Church, in her wisdom that is so very hard to understand sometimes, has taught many hard truths since the beginning in regards to love and marriage. And it’s all because life isn’t about getting what we want.
As someone who is writing from a religious understanding, I have to include Jesus’ words that if anyone wants to follow him, we must take up our crosses and follow him. We all desire things that won’t help us get to heaven, things that are disordered. And that’s why we have to pick up the struggles we have in life and run after the only one who can fulfill our heart’s desires.
Maybe your struggle is with homosexual attraction. Maybe it’s an eating disorder. Poor body image. Addiction to porn. Lack of motivation. Loss of loved ones. Debilitating illnesses.
But encountering these struggles and being told “no” to the easy way out doesn’t mean we’re wrong or that your life isn’t worth living. It’s just harder than expected.
You may still be wondering how in the world we can consider this position loving. How can telling someone “no” to a desire so integral to them be okay? How dare we do such a thing?
I’d just like to remind you that the Catholic Church doesn’t single out those with homosexual attraction. She says “no” to sex outside of marriage, divorce, pornography, cohabitation, and contraception. All of this is to help order our love most toward what is good, beautiful and true. This is why anything outside the truth the Catholic Church stands behind is “disordered”, per se, ordered toward something other than what we were made for – another topic for another post.
All of this to say, we love and stand behind the goodness of every human person. We all make mistakes. We all mess up. And gay marriage is one of those things the Church is rather clear about being a mistake. That’s because love hurts sometimes.
Mary put it beautifully when she said recently:
“Yes, sometimes love hurts. We don’t go seeking pain in the name of love, but when the pain inevitably comes, it doesn’t mean it’s not real love. It just means that the time to witness to the depth of your love has arrived.“
The depth of the love of the Catholic Church says that we don’t always give people what they want. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but love always wins. Stay tuned so we can chat about more topics within the issue!
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin’ or by email to follow along during this series. And help spread the conversation by sharing this post!
Images via Hartwig HKD and netzanette on Flickr.
Further reading: Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons
The Third Way – how the Catholic Church proposes people with homosexual tendencies approach life
Gay, Catholic, and Doing Fine – why one young, gay, man is in love with the Catholic faith