Indeed, we’re most likely all caught up to speed on the news surrounding Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy’s announcement that his company does not support and, in some cases, advocates against same sex “marriage;” I have no doubt that this is true. Cathy said that he and his family run their company based on theÂ traditional “biblical definition of the family unit” (aka their faith) and do not plan on changing their ways.Â
BRAVO. Finally, someone unafraid to offend someone in order to stand up for the truth. I’m sure there will be a lot of negative reaction to me writing this, but this fiasco is ridiculous. I’m not saying anything I’m going to say because I’m bigoted and full of hate; quite the opposite actually. And it’s not, as most people might assume, because I’m studying to be a Catholic priest. It’s because this is ridiculous.Â
Mostly, I’m writing this as a response to the news that there will be a protest of the new Chick-Fil-A store opening here in Oswego, Illinois in the coming weeks.
Why is it that the group that advocates so desperately for the acceptance and tolerance of all people and their opinions is the first to jump at the throat of Chick-Fil-A and the Cathy family when their opinion is made public? It is upsetting that many people think they have to live their lives in shame because of their sexual orientation. What’s more upsetting is that people who live their lives in shame and anger over society’s acceptance of these persons will never be able to see that there is another side to the issue, much less try to understand it as something more than unwarranted bigotry and hatred.Â
When people advocate for same sex unions and rights, there are great parades and fundraisers and galas and events and this and that….people flock by the thousands to cheer the redefinition of a moral and societal principle which we did not invent. But we, those who are on the other side, do not claim to this to be unwarranted or intolerable hatred and bigotry, we don’t send those who advocate against us to court with lawsuits of discrimination, don’t stand up in the middle of services or liturgies or outside churches and courthouses with signs andÂ vulgarity; quite simply, we stand, as we always have, for our doctrinal truths with moral certainty. We stand for the things we always have, we do the things we always have, and we carry ourselves as we always have because we do not interpret the other side’s advocating for same sex unions to be threatening, bigoted, or full of hate; we see it as their opinion, simple as that.Â
But as soon as our side of things decides to take a stand, make a statement, create a policy, or demand our own rights, not only is this not regarded as our opinion or our point of view, it is immediately taken to stem from hatred and bigotry and discrimination. It is right away taken to mean that I and all other “Bible thumpers,” as we’ve been called, wish to send all who experience same sex attraction to the very pits of Hell so that we might flourish without them. And my very candid response to this is: seriously?
I do not support same sex unions, but that’s my opinion; that is my belief that is informed, yes, by the tradition, wisdom, and moral authority of the Catholic Church and by my deep faith in Jesus Christ. What exactly does the Church teach about homosexuality? That all of those with same sex attraction are doomed and should leave our community of faith immediately? Not even close. For those unfamiliar, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the work which spells out, in great detail, the teachings of the Church.Â
CCC 2357: Homosexuality refers to the relations between men or between women who experience exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex…Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexualÂ ACTSÂ are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. (emphasis mine)
CCC 2358: The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.Â Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.Â
CCC 2359: Homosexual persons are called to chastity.Â
This, in short, is what the Church has been teaching all along. The Church does not hate persons, it hates sins and the deep-seated sinfulness we often find in persons. Do some people go against Church teaching and respond with hate? You’d better believe it. And those who do that need to get a clue, as well. Responding to hate with more hate does not lead to love, it leads to more hate which brings us farther and farther away from God.Â
There is another side to all of this which is almost always masked by cries of hate and discrimination. Underneath it all, however, is Christ and his love which provides for us the stem of all, the vine off of which all things grow. So no, I do not support same sex unions, but I support the happiness and authenticity of all people. Sex and human, earthly relationships do not lead to ultimate fulfillment. If I want all people to be happy, then how can I say I don’t support their homosexuality? Because, there is more to you than your sexual orientation; there is more to you than what goes on within the confines of your personal life; you belong to something bigger, you are a part of something better. What you do and who you do it with does not define you as a person, it defines you as a sinner, just like me and everybody else. What defines you as a person is who you are in the eyes of God, the Creator and Father, and how you live out the plans which he has already placed before you. There is more to a person than his or her sexual orientation, but we do not find much more fulfillment than in living with, in, and for Jesus Christ.Â
With Christ as my Light,
God our Creator and Redeemer,Â
let us follow you in all of our ways.
Let us allow you to be our light and our salvation
so that we might be fulfilled by you during this life on earth
and spend all of eternity with you in Heaven.
St. Mary Immaculate, Pray for us.