Oct 29, 2014 Print this article

Vatican Condemnation of Homosexuality in 2003: Valid Then, Valid Now

The homosexual revolution recently scored major judicial and legislative victories in several states. This prompts us to highlight the Holy See's 2003 document recalling Catholic doctrine on sexual morals, condemning homosexuality and calling on Catholics to oppose the legalization of homosexual unions.

Titled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, the document was published on July 31, 2003, by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Written for Everyone

Although written for everyone, Considerations makes special mention of Catholic bishops and politicians, since they can more directly intervene against the homosexual movement’s legislative offensive.

For bishops, Considerations is designed to “reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason” so they can carry out “more specific interventions.” These arguments are also useful to Catholic politicians whose public lives must be “consistent with Christian conscience.” Finally, Considerations is addressed to “all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.” It presents arguments based on natural reason.

Marriage Exists Solely Between a Man and a Woman

Based on the principle that marriage supposes “the complementarity of the sexes,” Considerations explains that marriage “is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.”

This truth is so evident that “no ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman.”

Considerations continues:
"There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

"Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts 'as a serious depravity.... This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition."

Homosexuality is a Grave Sin Against Chastity

After recalling that people with a deviant inclination should be treated with respect and compassion, Considerations quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that such inclination is “objectively disordered” and that homosexual practices are among the “sins gravely contrary to chastity.”

A Duty to Offer Clear and Emphatic Opposition

Considerations points out that the homosexual movement takes advantage of legal tolerance to promote its ideology and place people at risk, particularly youth. It warns “that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.” Even where homosexual unions have been legalized, “clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.”

Considerations insists, “Any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws” and even any “material cooperation on the level of their application” must be avoided. “In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”

Laws Favoring Homosexual Unions Are Contrary to Right Reason

Indeed, “civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience. Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person.”

Thus, “laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason…the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.”

Legal Recognition Promotes Homosexuality and Weakens Marriage

Considerations refutes an objection often raised by the homosexual movement that, since the law allowing homosexual unions does not impose anything, it would not harm the common good.

"In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behavior as a private phenomenon and the same behavior as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man's life in society, for good or for ill. They 'play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behavior.' Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation's perception and evaluation of forms of behavior. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage."

No Analogy Between Same-Sex Unions and Marriage

From a biological and anthropological standpoint, nature itself makes it impossible to even remotely compare any kind of homosexual union with marriage:

"Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition. Such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race."

"Resorting to artificial procreation does nothing to change this fact or make same-sex unions natural. Rather, it shows 'a grave lack of respect for human dignity.'1 Same-sex unions are incapable of a real 'conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality.'"

Homosexual Adoption: A Violence to Innocent Children

As for the adoption of children by homosexuals, Considerations very appropriately notes that it “would actually mean doing violence to these children,” whose situation of weakness and dependence would place them “in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.” Besides being gravely immoral, adoption of children by homosexuals would violate the principle that “the weaker and more vulnerable party” must always be favored and protected.

Since the function of the State is to protect the weak, it must in this case defend children, rather than expose them to grave psychological and moral risks.

The Redefinition of Marriage Will Destroy Society

Considerations insists that society’s survival is tied to a thriving family firmly established on marriage. It also points out the grave consequences to society if homosexual unions are legalized:

"The inevitable consequence of legal recognition of homosexual unions would be the redefinition of marriage, which would become, in its legal status, an institution devoid of essential reference to factors linked to heterosexuality; for example, procreation and raising children. If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties."

It is Not Unjust to Deny That Which is Not Owed in Justice

The homosexual movement claims that keeping same-sex unions illegal is discriminatory and a violation of justice since homosexuals are equally entitled to marriage and all its benefits. Considerations answers this sophism:

"Differentiating between persons or refusing social recognition or benefits is unacceptable only when it is contrary to justice. The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it."

True Autonomy Never Harms the Common Good

The Vatican document also refutes the autonomy argument used by the Supreme Court in the Lawrence v. Texas decision:

"Nor can the principle of the proper autonomy of the individual be reasonably invoked. It is one thing to maintain that individual citizens may freely engage in those activities that interest them and that this falls within the common civil right to freedom; it is something quite different to hold that activities which do not represent a significant or positive contribution to the development of the human person in society can receive specific and categorical recognition by the State. Not even in a remote analogous sense do homosexual unions fulfill the purpose for which marriage and family deserve specific categorical recognition. On the contrary, there are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase."

Catholic Politicians Need to be Consistent with Their Faith

In its section “Positions of Catholic Politicians with Regard to Legislation in Favor of Homosexual Unions,” Considerations emphasizes the obligation of Catholic politicians to oppose such legislative proposals:

"If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legalization of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians.… The Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral."

Homosexual Behavior and Unions Simply Cannot be Approved

Considerations emphasizes: “The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to considerations of homosexual unions.

”Thus, there can be no doubt that all Catholics have a duty to oppose the homosexual agenda. The Church’s moral teaching cannot change.

Excerpt from the book, Defending a Higher Law: Why We Must Resist Same-Sex "Marriage" and the Homosexual Movement

1. Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae (Feb. 22, 1987), II. A. 1-3.