An apology for the understanding of traditional marriage
Samuel Carlson | Friday, April 12, 2013
This is an “apology” in two ways. The first one, is that I sincerely wish to apologize to all members of the Notre Dame family who found the piece “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to be offensive, especially those of the LGBTQ community. While I believe Mr. Boyd wrote it with the best of intentions, his arguments display a lack of understanding for the complexity of the issue and a lack of compassion for our brother and sisters in Christ who have same-sex attractions.
Secondly, I wish to give a more sympathetic and sincere “apology” (a formal justification) for the Catholic Understanding of Marriage in response to Mr. Boyd’s article. First of all, as Christians, we must understand that homosexuality is more complex than simply being “sinful.” Sexual orientation means more than simply who we want to have sex with, but rather is the lens through which we interact with each other. Therefore, to say to someone “the way you interact with other people is wrong, and although it is something you can’t change, you are sinful because of it!” is a terribly uncompassionate thing to say to someone who is really struggling (in one way or another) to understand his or her sexuality. It is not sinful or wrong to have same-sex attractions, but it is considered sinful by the Catholic Church to act upon those attractions.
As Mr. Boyd rather bluntly added, the reason why the Church is against homosexual intercourse is because it is not procreative (the same reason it is against birth control and masturbation, but for brevity’s sake, let’s deal with one issue at a time). As someone who has one of those Cross profile pictures, I believe that in order to be a full expression of love, the sexual act must have the opportunity to be procreative. When God created the world, he did so not because of some rational thesis on why He needed creation or why he needed us, but purely out of love. Through God’s love (the same love expressed on the Cross similar to the one on many people’s profile pictures) all the world came into being, and in the sexual act we are called to reflect that love to its fullest. Therefore, when two people offer themselves to each other, in love, fully and completely, it must be open to this participation in God’s creative act.
I realize this does not address the issue of “same-sex marriage” and its legality in the United States. However, since I do not have the legal background to properly defend that, and since Mr. Boyd hardly proposes any legitimate arguments for why it should remain illegal, I will leave this issue for someone more apt than I to solve.
While I cannot comprehend the struggles the LGBTQ community has gone through, I recognize it cannot be easy having same-sex attractions, whether it be condemnation from loved ones or being socially marginalized because of how you interact with others. What is probably hardest to hear is when someone says you do not deserve the infinite love of God because of your sexuality. But let me be the first to say that it is not so. You are more than your sexuality. You are a child of God who loves you so much that, through your parents, He called you into existence. Christ loves each of us because we are all His children, just as he loved Peter even after Peter denied Him three times. But Christ also called Peter to repentance and to a deeper, more perfect love than Peter could have ever anticipated. So too, the Church calls all of its people to repentance and to continue to enter more deeply in the love in which we were created and through which we are saved.
For those of you who have same-sex attractions, for more reasons than not, you are stronger than I am. For those of you who have decided that, while having same-sex attractions, to live out your sexuality according to God’s will in purity and chastity – you are truly the saints of the modern day. I cannot comprehend the weight of the cross you bear and I thank you for your witness to those of us who struggle in keeping our sexuality (homo or hetero) pure and chaste. I am praying with you and for you, and I would consider myself very fortunate if you would do the same for me.