I had the unexpected privilege today to interview Fr. Paul Check, executive director of Courage International, for a forthcoming episode of Heroic Media (it's slated to air Nov. 1st on EWTN) and he said something profound. Actually he said about a dozen things that were profound, but one sentence stuck with me, because I've been reflecting on it for years. It was, loosely paraphrased,
"50 years ago as a culture, we severed the connection between sex and babies, and ever since, we've distanced ourselves further and further from the reality of sex."Basically, with the advent of commercially available birth control, once it became permissible for some couples to engage in sterile sex, it was only a matter of time before other couples came clamoring for their own perceived "rights" in the sexual arena.
If you think about it it makes a lot of sense. If married couples can have sex without babies, and indeed, if sex has nothing to do with babies (until and unless we tell it to) then who's to say what constitutes "sex," anyway?
Maybe sex is just mutual masturbation. Maybe sex is any genital contact in any configuration, as determined by the participating parties. Maybe there can be more than 2 parties involved. Maybe there are no rules at all, because we've remade sex in our own image and to our own liking, forgetting that we were made in His image and likeness.
When society accepted contraception as commonplace and replaced the expectation that children might reasonably result from sexual activity with the promise that sex could be "freed" from any consequence, we got more than we bargained for.
What we've got, in short, is a civilization in sexual free fall, and a society that is struggling to piece together some kind of new normal. And meanwhile there are victims everywhere, the walking wounded who've bought the lie and who've been burned by the reality that sex is much, much more powerful than we give it credit for.
Homosexual couples, within this modern sexual construct, have every right to the same kind of sterile, self-centered sex that heterosexual couples are practicing.
Because if sex doesn't lead to babies, and if marriage isn't ordered towards procreation and the mutual good of the spouses (laymen terms: getting each other to heaven), then we can pretty much reinterpret marriage through whatever lens suits our particular world view. And really, we ought to, from an egalitarian perspective. Fair's fair.
But it's not really possibly to separate sex from its life-giving potential.
Deny it, yes. Suppress it, sure. But the reality of sex is that it was meant to do this thing, to bond two people together in such a profound and lasting way that, in the words of my favorite professor, "9 months later you might have to give it a name."
Homosexual sex can never do that.
Even a surgically sterilized, contracepting, post-menopausal married couple was, at one point, fundamentally capable of bringing forth new life by the very nature of their creations as male and female.
We are intentionally designed, and in the design we see the potential for participation in the creative heart of God, in His own divine life. Life which begets love, from love.
This is in no way an attack on the dignity of the human person who struggles with same sex attraction. And it's not a judgement on people who engage in a homosexual relationships.
The Church has always taught, and will always teach, that although contraception and homosexual activity are immoral and gravely disordered activities, those persons practicing them are worthy of the same love and respect of every other person on this planet.
I hope you know that. The Church does not condemn you. She is mother. She is the place where you are unconditionally loved and accepted.
But like any good mother, the Church desires what is best for her children, and what will serve their ultimate happiness.
There is freedom here.
For further reading on what the Church teaches on homosexuality check out Courage's website.
And you know I'm going to end this post by telling you to read Humanae Vitae again.
|Click here to read the rest of the series.|