Friday, June 28, 2013

Sky View: The US Supreme Court Ruling: It’s Impact on the Image of God

Sky View: The US Supreme Court Ruling: It’s Impact on the Image of God

The US Supreme Court Ruling: It’s Impact on the Image of God

Beyond the Competence of Politics:

With the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting same-sex marriage rights, the uphill climb to preserve the sanctity of marriage is suddenly looking steeper. As one priest said to me (and here I paraphrase), “Just a few years ago one could be an advocate for the sanctity of marriage without running the risk of being called a bigot or accused of being hateful. But today, if one was to merely assert on Facebook or Twitter that marriage ought to be defined as a permanent union between a man and a woman, he or she would publicly be vilified, to be sure.” 

Given this, it is important to understand how this cultural movement away from the Christian understanding on marriage has gained momentum in recent years. With regard to people’s attitude towards same-sex marriage, there has been a seismic shift in recent years. 

We have to first come to acknowledge one important law of history: The law of the land is, more often than not, a reflection of the people’s morality; not the other way around. In fact, when the State attempts to decree or legislate high moral standards among its citizens, history demonstrates that such measures are woefully insufficient. 

Although a bad law or ruling can make matters worse, good laws are often ignored or rarely enforced when the people’s morals are on the decline. Or to say it another way: Just as the erosion of marriage is not caused by the government, neither is it to be saved by the government. If truth be told, the legalization of abortion was made possible because the dignity of human life had first been lost in the hearts of too many Americans.

The same applies to the sanctity of marriage. When people grow indifferent to the true meaning of marriage, laws and rulings to follow will reflect that indifference. Hence, the liberty to promote the true meaning of marriage will suffer proportionately. Pope Benedict XVI warned us that, “Very soon it will no longer be possible to affirm that homosexuality (as the Catholic Church teaches) constitutes an objective disorder in the structure of human existence…” But as stated, to recover what has been lost- whether it be the Christian view of marriage itself or the religious liberty to proclaim it –is beyond the competence of politics. In quoting a distinguished jurist, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore once reminded his brother bishops, “If liberty dies in the hearts of men and women, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.” 

The Church’s Jurisdiction: 

This is where the Catholic Church comes in. Entrusted to her is the “Finger of God” or- to put it more simply –the Holy Spirit. This Divine Finger, if you will, is far reaching. It has a reach beyond any political program of the State. In the deep recesses of the human heart, the Lord writes his law (cf. Ez. 36:25-27). He impresses his image, goodness and love upon that heart. And by creating the heart anew, he makes his dwelling there! In a wondrous manner, therefore, he brings to light what was once obscured in darkness. What before seemed impossible- such as virginity, chastity, monogamy, marital fidelity, indissolubility of marriage and celibacy -now suggest means of accomplishment. 
Such is the beauty of the transformation of the heart in Christ. The fruit of this is a -redeemed human sexuality. 

However, in actual fact few people know of this truth because few people hear about it; even within the Church. It was once said by a papal biographer that the Catholic Church is the hope and despair of mankind. When her members are world-renouncing and holy, society prospers. But when Catholics become worldly and materialistic, society suffers decline. In other words, what happens to the Church happens to society. 

I do wonder if the Catholic clergy as well as lay evangelists and teachers are making the connection for people that the sanctity of marriage as between a man and a woman is inextricably linked to economic and political prosperity. If people are concerned with the latter, then they should be equally concerned with the former. As Pope Leo XIII said, within the circle of family life the destiny of the State is fostered. 

The human heart or the soul is the mission field of the Catholic Church. When it goes astray- when the sanctity of marriage and religious liberty no longer find a place there –the Church (at least in America) has to do some serious souls searching. We dropped the ball somewhere along the line. The result of our missteps has resulted in fewer “new” hearts that are conformed to the likeness of Christ’s. In the absence of new hearts, people no longer aspire to the higher law that respects the dignity of human life and the sanctity of marriage. To repeat: A heart that is not inspired from on high cannot aspire to the high moral standards of the Gospel. The divine and natural law, so often referenced in Church documents, will cease to inform human law as it has in recent days. 

Same-sex Marriage and the Image of God: 

For starters, it is important to know same-sex marriage not only undermines the true nature of marriage but it is an affront on the image of God. In Genesis, God said “let us make man in our image.” Then it states: "Male and female, he created them." If we are to have a correct understanding of God, at the very least, we have to get his image right! And his image- that is, the template and blueprint of who he is -includes one man and one woman. After all, both the masculine principle and the feminine principle come from him. 

We can even say that these two principles are mysteriously contained within his nature. Yes, God is Father and God is Son, but the prophet Isaiah likens the Lord to a mother as well. “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15) Therefore, if we as Christians still believe that a marriage between a man and a woman symbolizes who God is-if marriage still says something about Jesus, the bridegroom, and his bride, the Church -then we have to get the image of God right and retain the marriage between a man and a woman as the only acceptable union! If you take away the man-and-woman combination and replace it with something else, the image gets distorted and the very understanding of who we are, how we relate to one another and how we relate to God, is likewise distorted. 

Indeed, the proper understanding of human sexuality and the distinction between the male and the female gender- at some level -is absolutely necessary for a lifelong marriage. Moreover, a mother and a father is an image of God for the child. It is through this image that the child understands himself, God and the world. It is not an exaggeration to say the following: the image of God (as represented by a mother and a father and how they love one another and how they love the child) is an instrument of knowledge more powerful than a lifelong education! 

The repercussions are even more profound than that of legalized abortion. Hear me out on this! Whereas the abortion issue addresses the dignity of the child’s body- as well as his very life –the challenge of homosexuality or same-sex marriage is broader in scope and even deeper. Alter this image- the primary medium through which we perceive reality and the natural channel through which God fathers us -then everything is thrown off balance. 
Moreover, with the sanction of same-sex marriage, the incentive for couples to marry will decrease, the permanence of marriage will be increasingly seen as unrealistic and broken families will become the norm. And worse yet, God himself will cease to be known as he wishes to be known because his image- as comprising that of a man and a woman –will not be held up as the standard in society. 

What can we conclude from all of this? What the family loses, the State gains. Political prosperity and democracy presupposes that the citizen is capable of exercising some measure of self-governance. And the institution that is most efficient at teaching self-governance is a strong, intact, traditional family. 

If fewer hearts are being renewed in Christ; if fewer people have a respect for the image of God as it exists in a husband and wife or a mother and father; if fewer families are staying together; and if the power of the State has made gains; then Catholics- both clergy and laity –will have to ask ourselves: What could we do differently?




Can God change time? What if you could go back and remedy certain things in your past? 

Let's take that first question first: 

Of course God can go back in time. 

In eternity, the past, present, and future are all one in a way we with earthly minds can not understand. But it's true: During near-death episodes, folks often relive their entire lives as if they are right there; they step into their personal histories. It is brought back.

In 2 Kings 20 we see that God can even reverse the movement of shadows.

"Said Hezekiah: 'It is easy for the shadow to decline ten steps; no, but let the shadow turn backward ten steps.' Isaiah the prophet cried to the Lord, and He brought the shadow on the stairway back ten steps by which it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz." We heard a preacher preach this recently.

And so going back in time is easy work for God -- and if you pray, He will do so in a way that brings the result you should have caused to start with. He can correct past mistakes for you. He will right the wrongs you have done -- if He sees a devout repentant heart.

What a promise!

Take advantage of it.

This is not to say we actually relive the moment -- not on earth. We don't go through a time warp. There's no flying by the stars (not while we're in the flesh). There's no Rod Serling.

But yes: 

God can reverse harm we have done or shortcomings that have stymied us. He can give us now the opportunities we missed -- perhaps in a different way, but with the same future effect. 

He can restore lost opportunities.

He can go back in our lives and rearrange if we are truly repentant, if we have confessed, and especially if we ask in faith. This brings a taste of Heaven to earth.

Joy. Bliss.

Are there children you would have liked to have had a closer relationship with? He can now make it so close that it makes up for past distance. Is there a friend you ended up not being friends with? He can rejoin you, spiritually. Is there a task you should have achieved? He can grant you another opportunity that bears identical prospects (in ways you will never anticipate).

In prayer, go back and meditate on the situation and ask God to remedy it. Pray until you feel the flow of grace.

Soothe past feelings. Send love where you had not sent love. Forgive, forgive, and forgive again. In eternity, you will see it the way it should have been and even here will reap the benefits!

Ask God to go back and adjust matters. Ask Him to turn back the clock. Ask God to restore lost moments -- or even lost years. 

Spiritual failings? He can greatly increase your development -- in such a way that the failure no longer serves as a negative. A career failure? He can recover whatever you think went down the drain.

When we die,  there is a period of self-discovery during which the social masks we wore on earth dissolve away and the true self is revealed. Make your true self heavenly right now. Get a vision of your future and head for that

If you did things that were unhealthy, ask God to go back and heal your body from the abuse (or neglect). God is eternal. He knows no such bounds. This is power.

All is now. And in that flow is the Power of His Hand in the Name of Jesus!

Promise Him your love, give Him your faith, forgive those who have wronged you -- and He will make up for whatever you need made up. There are no efforts you ever made (except for selfish evil ones) that were wasted.

In Heaven there is forward and backward and in prayer we can do that even now. We do so in forgiveness. In Heaven, it is said, we remember our real identities.

Let there be no self motive. Extinguish all greed. Let selfishness be unknown to you. Act out of pure goodness.

Fight the good fight, do it for Him, and the Lord will reverse the curse and course of the past and you will attract grace like a magnet!

Live solely to serve God and He will especially rectify your history. Actions done solely out of love for Him are spiritual dynamite (whereas vanity is like striving after the wind).

Macarius of Egypt - Fifty Spiritual Homilies--For as much as you concentrate your mind to seek him, so much more does he, by his own tender compassion and goodness, come to you and give you rest.  He stands, gazing on your mind, your thoughts, your desires.  He observes how you seek him-whether with your whole soul, with no sloth, with no negligence.
And when he sees your earnestness in seeking him, then he appears and manifests himself to you.  He gives you his own help and makes the victory yours, as he delivers you from your enemies.  For when he first sees you seeking after him, and how you are totally waiting expectantly without ceasing for him, he then teaches and gives you true prayer, genuine love, which is himself made all things in you:  paradise, tree of life, pearl, crown, builder, cultivator, sufferer, one incapable of suffering, man, God, wine, living water, lamb, bridegroom warrior, armor, Christ, all in all.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

When Tolerance Trumps Truth

When Tolerance Trumps Truth 

When Christ told his disciples that his teaching provided them with a liberating truth (You will know the truth and the truth will set you free), he was, at the same time, offering a blueprint for a liberal education. 
In today's post-modern world, the notion that truth leads to freedom is regarded as narrowly Catholic and intolerant of other religious views. The new blueprint in the post-modern world is that tolerance, not truth, leads to freedom. This is a crossroad and a crisis to which Pope Benedict XVI has given considerable thought and verbal expression. 

When he was known to the world as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he produced a book, Truth and Tolerance that confronts this very issue of the place of truth in the post-modern world. He recognizes that so much importance is now attached to tolerance, that it has been separated from truth, which, in turn, has been relegated to the sphere of mere opinion. 

To state the matter quite simply: Tolerance has been absolutized, while truth has been relativized. 

Nonetheless, such a separation of tolerance from truth (or politics from philosophy) is preposterous, in the original meaning of the term. The Latin words prae (before) and posterius (after) relate to the absurd or 'preposterous' practice of placing 'before' that which should come 'after,' like putting the cart before the horse. 

Placing man first and God second is preposterous in the same way. 

The preposterous maneuver, however, has a more sinister implication - it first eclipses what should be primary and then banishes it in the direction of oblivion. Thus, placing man first and God second soon leads to atheism; placing politics first and philosophy second leads to agnosticism, or the elimination of philosophy. 

The distinguished Thomistic philosopher, …tienne Gilson, has made the comment that one of the essential features ofAquinas thinking was his ability to put things in their proper order.


To state the matter quite simply: Tolerance has been absolutized, while truth has been relativized. 

In philosophy this is critical, for, as Gilson explains, if an idea is out of order it is lost, not in the usual sense that it is not to be found where you expected it to be, but in the much more radical sense that it is no longer to be found anywhere.

One of the more urgent problems in the modern world is the recovery of philosophy (and truth along with it) so that we understand how various realities relate to each other, whether they be God and man, philosophy and politics, the state and its citizens. 

The reason, according to Cardinal Ratzinger, for the exaggerated importance given to tolerance and its promotion over truth, rests on the fact that we now live in a pluralistic world consisting of a wide diversity of values, customs and religious beliefs. 

How, then, is it possible for people to live in harmony with each other and be tolerant toward each other's  differences? 

If truth is invoked, it would presumably have the insidious effect of making one group appear superior to another and consequently intolerant. The answer to this problem has been the adoption of relativism and its concomitant removal of a philosophy that is anchored in truth. 

Cardinal Ratzinger fully understands the dire consequences resulting from excising truth from politics and making relativism sovereign. 

Relativism, he writes, in certain aspects has become the real religion of modern man. It represents, he goes on to say, the most profound difficulty of our day. 

These austere words cannot be taken lightly, for Pope Benedict is a careful thinker and not given to hyperbole. 

The experiment in trying to be tolerant in the absence of any regulatory truth has proven to be a failure. It has inevitably led to a decisive intolerance of the Catholic Church, for example, and not because she opposes tolerance, but because she refuses to accord it a higher status than truth. 

In other words, the Church insists that all things be placed in their proper order. This is enough for the world to indict her for being 'intolerant'. 

Cardinal Ratzinger asks the pertinent question, What meaning does belief then have, what positive meaning does religion have, if it cannot be connected with truth? 

A pagan philosopher answered this very question better than two millennia ago. Marcus Tullius Cicero, in the year 44 B.C., reasoned that religion without truth is merely superstition.


It has inevitably led to a decisive intolerance of the Catholic Church, for example, and not because she opposes tolerance, but because she refuses to accord it a higher status than truth. 

We should do ourselves and our countrymen a great deal of good, he wrote in his treatise, On Divination, if we were to root superstition out entirely.

But the great statesman and philosopher, mindful of the human proclivity to throw the baby out with the bathwater, was quick to assert that he did not want religion destroyed along with superstition. 

He urged the abolition of superstition, but the retention of religion. We do not need superstition, he proposed, but we do need religion. 

The distinguishing factor, for Cicero, was natural science that revealed the truth of things. 

That there is some eternal Being, he wrote, who stands out above the rest, and that the human race ought to serve and admire him, is an admission that the beauty of the universe and the orderliness of the celestial bodies compels us to make. Therefore, just as religion, being associated with natural science, ought actually to be propagated, so every root of superstition ought to be weeded out.

Simply stated, Cicero enjoined his fellow countrymen to use truth as a way of distinguishing religion from what he deemed not worth tolerating, namely superstition. 

The 20th-century American philosopher Mortimer Adler reiterates Ciceroís position in his book, Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth.

People live in constant fear that any gesture or statement suggesting that one thing might be better than another is not only not tolerated, but met with scorn, derision and often severe reprisals. As Pera avers, The adjective better is forbidden.

He acknowledges that truth is needed to support religion as its preamble, but also points out that without truth there can be neither unity nor peace: A great epoch in the history of mankind lies ahead of us in the millennium. It will not begin until there is a universal acknowledgement of the unity of truth in all areas of culture to which the standard of truth is applicable; for only then will all men be able to live together peacefully in a world of cultural community under one government. Only then will world civilization and world history begin.

In an earlier work, Six Great Ideas, Adler distinguishes between the ideas by which we judge (truth, goodness and beauty) and the ideas by which we live (liberty, equality and justice). His basic point is that we cannot enjoy liberty, equality, and justice (ideas that virtually everyone endorses enthusiastically) unless we know something about truth, goodness and beauty. 

For example, there can be no justice without truth. In the absence of truth, no verdict (verum + dicere  to tell the truth) can be delivered that separates the guilty from the innocent or justice from injustice. 

It is a profoundly sad irony in the modern world that people are willing to ignore the very means that is indispensable for producing what they most ardently desire. They shun truth and expect justice to flower in a barren desert. 

Marcello Pera, a non-believer, describes the present situation in the West as anything but the tranquility that arises from mutual tolerance, but as a prison-house of insincerity and hypocrisy known as political correctness.

People live in constant fear that any gesture or statement suggesting that one thing might be better than another is not only not tolerated, but met with scorn, derision and often severe reprisals. As Pera avers, The adjective better is forbidden. 

Philosophy, it should be emphasized, is not a luxury for the elite or an idol game indulged in at universities. Philosophy, because it is properly concerned with truth, goodness, beauty and other fundamental verities, is indispensable in providing the basis for civilization and all the benefits that flow from it, including unity, civility, justice, peace, art and science. 

By setting tolerance above truth, tolerance degenerates into intolerance, while truth is abandoned altogether. The result is akin to what Plato describes in the opening of the seventh chapter of his Republic: cave dwellers who are intolerant of education, mesmerized by shadows, and closed to the light of truth that could improve their lives. The rejection of truth does not make people tolerant. As the great Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain has stated, The man who says What is truth? as Pilate did, is not a tolerant man, but a betrayer of the human race.

Tolerance can hardly be the first principle of human conduct. And it has never been the founding principle of any civilization. The Judeo-Christian God commands us to love, not to be tolerant. 

Tolerance is not a first step or pro-active; it is acquiescence, capitulation to something to which one neither approves nor disapproves. It presupposes moral neutrality. It is a response, not an initiative, leaving the question, Response to what? unanswered.


It is more than a bit ridiculous to ask a man who is about to be boiled in a pot and eaten, at a purely religious feast, why he does not maintain a relativistic view toward all religions. 

When it is used as a first principle, it soon contradicts itself. The Spanish government, in the interest of expressing tolerance to married couples of the same sex who have adopted children, has replaced the offensive terms father and mother on birth certificates with Progenitor A and Progenitor B. 

What is initially tolerance toward same-sex couples soon becomes intolerance toward the very words father and mother. 

Similarly the BBC ordered its writers to avoid the contentious terms, husband and wife. Many North American universities have outlawed student pro-life groups in the interest of demonstrating their tolerance toward those who are pro-choice. 

One cannot simultaneously tolerate contraries and contradictories. 

Opposition to same-sex marriage is not tolerated and routinely denounced as homophobic. To cite but one salient example, in January 2006, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning states that do not recognize same-sex marriages as homophobic. 

The implication here is that expressing a philosophical opinion on this matter is not only discriminatory, but also indicative of a psychological disorder. Relativism that is the underpinning of an out-of-control political correctness conveys the message that human beings are fundamentally incapable of grasping the truth of things, that they would rather fight than think. 

The mind, and even the heart, may entertain absurdities, but it is most unlikely that one would continue denying reality when his nervous system calls his instinct for self-preservation to attention. A relativist cannot afford to get too close to reality. 

Relativism is a default philosophy that emerges as a result of an unwillingness to put truth and tolerance in their proper order. But it is unworkable on a practical level and creates immense, though unnecessary, stumbling blocks in the path of education, democracy, and the implementation of the natural law. In fact, it contributes, significantly, to the culture of death. 


Donald DeMarco. "When Tolerance Trumps Truth." National Catholic Register. (February 17-23, 2008). 

This article is reprinted with permission from National Catholic Register. To subscribe to the National Catholic Register call1-800-421-3230.

Donald DeMarco is adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut and Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome's University in Waterloo Ontario. He also continues to work as a corresponding member of the Pontifical Acadmy for Life. Donald DeMarco has written hundreds of articles for various scholarly and popular journals, and is the author of twenty books, including The Heart of Virtue, The Many Faces of Virtue, Virtue's Alphabet: From Amiability to Zeal and Architects Of The Culture Of Death. Donald DeMarco is on the Advisory Board of The Catholic Education Resource Center. 

***The Church was born after a nine-day gestation period of intensified prayer (see Acts 1:14). After this experience, the first Christians devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 2:42). The apostles concentrated "on prayer and the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4). On one occasion, "the place where they were gathered shook as they prayed" (Acts 4:31).
Paul tried to renew the church of Ephesus by raising the level of prayer. The Lord inspired him to exhort Timothy and the Ephesians: "First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all" (1 Tm 2:1). "The fervent petition of a holy man is powerful indeed" (Jas 5:16).
A praying church is on the threshold of renewal. If we can get several more people to turn off their TVs and computers, simplify their lives, and thereby free themselves to pray for a few hours a day, we can open the door for the Lord to renew His Church.

Prayer: Father, may I have "great, intense, and growing prayer" (see Pope John Paul II, Redeemer of  Man, 22).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

TRUE CHRISTIANS--I wish to disappear

I wish to disappear

I wish to disappear


This is true of all Christians.

Any young man called to the priesthood must be like St. Paul:  "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).  This is true of all Christians.  Cupio dissolvi — "I wish to disappear."  Dioceses that understand this excel in vocations, and those that do not, fail.
 When I arrived at this parish, there were many liturgical abuses.  Let it not be said that these were the predilections of young people, for there were practically none then.  Rather, they had become the habit of older people who had simply shifted from perfunctorily expedited Masses and a few sentimental hymns to the fabricated folk Masses of the 1960's. I put a stop to the habit of applauding the organist and choir.  The musicians we have now would be embarrassed by such behavior.  Pope Benedict XVI said:  "Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment."
There is even a danger of that same narcissism when attempts at a "reform of the reform" become self-conscious spectacle.  Evelyn Waugh said that Anthony Eden was not a gentleman because he dressed too well.  We try to offer the best to God, but we must not be fussy about it like the nouveau riche.  It once was said that dowagers in Boston did not buy hats, they had hats.  C. S. Lewis' view was that true worship should be like a good old shoe, so comfortable that you don't have to break it in:  "The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of;  our attention would have been on God."  That is a sensibility I have long admired in the Byzantine liturgies.  While some speak of the High Mass of the Western Church as the "most beautiful thing this side of Heaven," I know of nothing so formally transcendent and still so informally natural as the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.
The constant fidgeting for "theme liturgies" and experimentation is a sign of failure.  Worse yet is the priest who solicits laughter like a ham actor in a dying vaudeville show.   Such clerics should limit their repertoire to the jokes that St. John told the Blessed Mother as her Son bled on the Cross.  One is struck by the way Pope Francis, in his personal simplicity and affability, is so enrapt in the solemnity of the Mass that he would not think of smiling through the Sacrifice of Calvary.
It may seem that reform of abuses is as futile as King Canute ordering the tide to roll back.  Actually, that great king was showing his court that human pride has no authority over what does not belong to him.  That is why he placed his own crown on a figure of Christ Crucified, and that is what true worship is all about.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lessons of the Past | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views

Lessons of the Past | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views

Lessons of the Past

The tower of a church and the minaret of a nearby mosque are seen in the West Bank city of Ramallah in October 2010. (CNS photo/Mohamad Torokman, Reuters)
Lions of the Faith chronicles the lives of saints, martyrs, and heroes who were caught up in the struggle between Islam and Christianity that commenced in the seventh century and continues to this day. The 800 martyrs of Otranto who were recently canonized by Pope Francis appear in these pages, as do the seven monks of Tibhirine, Algeria whose death at the hands of Islamic terrorists in 1996 is the subject of the 2010 film Of Gods and Men. The author also tells the story of many lesser-known saints, such as St. Casilda of Toledo, who was a Muslim but converted to the faith as a result of her contact with the Catholic prisoners for whom she secretly cared.  In addition to saints and martyrs, Lions of the Faith also provides brief accounts of the exploits of Catholic heroes such as Charles Martel, who turned back a Muslim army in the pivotal battle of Poitiers in 732, and King John III Sobieski, whose 1683 victory over the Turks at the Gates of Vienna initiated the decline of the Ottoman Empire.
Although most of the book is concerned with the first thousand years of struggle between Islam and Christianity, it is as contemporary as today’s news. As the author observes, nothing has really changed: the basic problems and differences between Christianity and Islam remain. Chief among these is the Islamic conviction that all other religions must be subjugated under Islam. Thus, as Bieszad notes, “The reality which the seventh-century Church faced is the same in the 21st century.”      
One of these realities—a reality that is still very much with us—is that Western Christians were rarely able to achieve unity in resisting Islamization. In fact, on numerous occasions Christian kingdoms allied themselves with the Muslim Ottoman Empire against other Christians. “Better a Turk than a Papist” was a popular slogan among Dutch Calvinists, and in their fight against Catholic Spain, Dutch sailors wore a crescent-shaped medal with that inscription.  
Throughout much of the 16th and 17th centuries, Catholics were fighting a two-front war—against Muslims in the south and east and against Protestants in the north. The Muslim leaders understood the differences between Catholics and Protestants and were adept at exploiting them. At various times, alliances were formed between the Ottomans and Dutch Calvinists, French Huguenots, English Protestants, and Protestant princes in Hungary and Transylvania. It should be noted, however, that Catholics sometimes allied themselves with the Ottomans against other Catholics, as when King Francis I of France formed an alliance with Suleiman the Magnificent against the Hapsburgs.
Muslim successes in Europe were owed, at least in part, to political and religious divisions within Christendom. A similar situation exists today. The rapid worldwide expansion of fundamentalist Islam in recent years is due in no small part to the fact that Western powers have thrown their weight behind the fundamentalists. The recent accession to power of the Muslim Brotherhood and Muslim Brotherhood-type governments in Egypt and North Africa was made possible by Western political pressure and sometimes by Western military intervention. Likewise, Western pressure and influence contributed greatly to the rise of Recep Erdogan’s Islamist government in Turkey and to the decline of secular rule there.
In the Third World the spread of Islam has been enabled by military interventions, in the West its spread has been facilitated by numerous cultural interventions. In Europe and increasingly in America, politicians, academics, journalists, judges, and assorted multicultural elites have essentially taken sides with Islamic interests and against their own peoples and traditions. The most obvious example of this pro-Islam bias can been found in European immigration policy, which has allowed the influx of massive numbers of Muslims into the West with little concern for its effect on the native populations. In effect, Islam was allowed to establish a cultural beachhead in Europe. In combination with high Muslim birth rates and with the rejection of assimilation by Muslims and multiculturalists alike, these misguided immigration policies have worked to insure that Europe’s Western/ Christian heritage is unlikely to survive for much longer.  
Western educators have also taken the side of Islam against Western tradition. Textbooks routinely present Islam in a positive light while presenting Christianity in various shades of sepia. Textbooks also obligingly transmit the myth of the “Golden Age” of Islam in Spain, a myth that was created in part by Protestant historians eager to embellish Islamic accomplishments at the expense of their Spanish Catholic rivals.  In England many schools have dropped the Crusades and the Holocaust from the curriculum so as not to offend Muslims (many Muslims deny the Holocaust or else claim that it was greatly exaggerated). In the latest act of educational obeisance, a Viennese elementary school will no longer teach about the defeat of the Turks at the Gates of Vienna because Turkish students might feel insulted. Thus, the Islamic version of history prevails.  And thus, on both sides of the Atlantic, students graduate from schools believing that Islam means peace and tolerance, while Christianity means inquisitions, witch hunts, and slavery.  
In short, what Islam was unable to accomplish in the 16th and 17th centuries is now within its grasp thanks to what must be counted as one of history’s most shameful examples of la trahison des clercs—the betrayal of the intellectuals. The sentiment “Better a Turk than a Papist” seems to have taken root once again in the West. It finds its most literal embodiment in the Obama administration’s hostility toward the Catholic Church and in President Obama’s simultaneous embrace of Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan—a man who has made no secret of his desire to restore the Islamic Caliphate that vanished with the Ottomans.
There are a number of other contemporary variations on the theme of “better a Turk,” although none of them have been spelled out. But if they were, we might come up with a list something like this:
  • “Better an Islamophile than an Islamophobe”
  • “Better the Palestinians than the Jews”
  • “Better to pretend that Islam is a religion of peace than to bring down the wrath of the elites”
  • “Better that African Christians perish than to offend our Muslim brothers with embarrassing questions”  
Moreover, as in the Ottoman era, many Christians still champion the cause of Islam or, at least, enable it. The split this time, however, is not between Catholics and Protestants but between liberal Catholics and Protestants on the one hand, and conservative Catholics and Protestants on the other. The former tend to support Islam, the latter tend to resist it. If they had one, the motto for the liberal Christians might read something like this: “Better our cultured Muslim dialogue partner than an alarmist Christian critic of Islam.”
Bieszad presents the lives of these saints, blessed, and heroes in the hope that the Church will “derive inspiration from their examples, and seek their prayerful intercession and guidance in her dealings with Islam and Muslims.” Their example and inspiration is needed now as much as it ever was. The Church has entered into a new age of persecution at the hands of Muslims which may well turn out to be bloodier than anything in the past. Christians made up 20 percent of the population of the Middle East in 1900; today they have been reduced to 2 percent.  Almost two-thirds of Iraq’s Christians have fled in the past 10 years. In Egypt, during the year of the Arab Spring, more than 200,000 Christian Copts fled their homes to avoid violence at the hands of Muslims. In Nigeria, many thousands of Christians have been shot, burned, or hacked to death. Between 1983 and 1995, Muslims in the Sudan killed an estimated two million Christians and displaced another four million.
Many of the stories and histories recorded in Lions of the Faith have been forgotten. Bieszad has done us a favor in reminding us of them. Santayana’s maxim that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” was never more apt than it is today. The current widespread persecution of Christians is a repeat of what has happened before. And, as Bieszad observes, it is happening for the same reason: Islam’s inherent hostility toward Christianity. Yet, today’s persecution is scarcely acknowledged in the West, and when it is acknowledged, it is chalked up to poverty, or colonialism, or geographical disputes—anything, in short, except religion. Until we make the connection to the past and to the real reason for the hostility, the persecution will continue and it will spread—eventually to the West.

The Lions of Faith: Saints, Blesseds, and Heroes of the Catholic Faith in the Struggle With Islam
By Andrew Bieszad
Lux Orbis Press
Paperback, 463 pages

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What’s Love Got To Do With it? Lessons in Love from William Shakespeare | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views

What’s Love Got To Do With it? Lessons in Love from William Shakespeare | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views

What’s Love Got To Do With it? Lessons in Love from William Shakespeare

The sobering lesson of Romeo and Juliet falls today on deaf modern ears
Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it,
What’s love but a second-hand emotion;
What’s love got to do, got to do with it,
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken.
— Tina Turner
Love is a smoke rais’d with the fume of sighs;
Being purg’d, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
Being vex’d, a sea nourish’d with loving tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet...
I have lost myself; I am not here:
This is not Romeo, he’s some other where.
— Romeo

… if love be blind,
It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black …
Come, night; come, Romeo …
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow’d night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
— Juliet
What is love? For Tina Turner it’s an emotion, second-hand and second-rate. For Romeo, it’s mere madness; something sweet and bitter on which we choke; something that makes us lose ourselves and our senses. For Juliet it’s a blindness that makes us prefer the darkness to the light.
For John Lennon, it’s all we need.... 
All we need is love, love, love is all we need; all we need is tawdry emotion and the bitter-sweet madness that makes us blind to everything except the darkness of the Night. If this is love, it can go to Hell. Indeed, if this is love it’s already going there.
But is this love?
For St. Paul, love is the greatest of all the virtues. For Christ, the two great commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor. On the deepest theological level, God is love. God and Love are One. It is ironic, therefore, that Jesus Christ and John Lennon are in apparent agreement. Love is all we need.
The problem is that John Lennon does not mean the same thing as Jesus Christ when he speaks of love. For Lennon and his legion of admirers, love is about doing our own thing; it’s about marching to our own drum. In other words, it’s ultimately self-centered. It’s about me and not the other. For Christ, love is about laying down our lives for our friends—and for our enemies. It’s ultimately selfless and self-sacrificial. It’s about the other and not me. In short, and to put the matter bluntly, the “love” that Lennon espouses is the very opposite of the love that Christ practices and preaches.
This primal difference between the two loves—one true, the other false—is at the heart of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The play satirizes the false understanding of love, lampooning the language of the Petrarchan love sonnets and the adulterous finesse of amour courtois. On a deeper level it highlights the dangers of seeing love as rooted in feeling or emotion. For a Christian, and let’s not forget that Shakespeare was a believing Catholic, love is not a feeling but an act of the will in obedience to a Commandment. It is freely choosing to sacrifice our own interests for the good of the other. False love, being a slave to feeling and passion, is essentially irrational; true love, being a free choice in obedience to a perceived truth, is essentially rational.
Throughout Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare connects passionate or libidinous love, rooted in feeling, with the “gossip Venus” and “her purblind son,” Cupid (Eros). It is from Venus that we get the adjective venereal, as it is from Eros that we get the adjective erotic. Romeo’s “love” for Juliet is both venereal and erotic—it is a servant of his libido. Thus, in the opening lines of the famous balcony scene, Romeo proclaims that Juliet is the sun, the light by which he sees, eclipsing all other perspectives. This “sun” is at war with the “envious” moon, equated with Diane, the goddess of chastity: “Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon.”  Romeo desires that Juliet should kill chastity and cast off her robes of virginity, her “vestal livery”, which “none but fools do wear”. His description of Juliet’s livery as “vestal” connects her to the goddess, Vesta, to whom the vestal virgins consecrated their virginity. In the Christian culture in which Shakespeare was writing, the adjective vestal was applied to any woman of spotless chastity. In stating that only fools live chastely and in his hopes that Juliet will “kill” chastity and “cast it [her virginity] off”, Romeo is showing his disdain for traditional Christian virtue. The same contempt for Christianity was evident in his desire to have the “sin” transmitted by his and Juliet’s first kiss: “Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urg’d! / Give me my sin again.”
A telling judgment on the nature of Romeo’s love is given by the Chorus, a neutral and therefore objective voice, which might be seen as the narrative voice of the playwright himself:
Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie,
And young affection gapes to be his heir;
That fair for which love groan’d for and would die,
With tender Juliet match’d, is now not fair.
Now Romeo is belov’d and loves again,
Alike bewitched by the charm of looks.
 According to the authoritative judgment of the Chorus, there is no difference in Romeo’s love for Juliet than with his earlier love, his “old desire”, for Rosaline. He is “belov’d and loves again, / Alike bewitched by the charm of looks”. The use of the words “bewitched” and “charm” are palpably significant. There is nothing healthy in Romeo’s obsessive infatuation for Juliet, anymore than there had been in the earlier infatuation with Rosaline. In both cases, he is bewitched “alike,” possessed by “the charm of looks,” the vanity of the eyes. The only difference is that now he not only “loves again,” i.e., in the same manner in which he had loved before, but is “belov’d.” In other words, whereas Rosaline had spurned his amorous advances, Juliet had succumbed. The difference is not in the “love” that Romeo offers, which is as false in both cases, but in the response of the object of his desire. Rosaline retains her chastity; Juliet casts it off.
Once one understands the erotic nature of the love that Romeo and Juliet have for each other, the tragic consequences seem almost inevitable. The real heart of the tragedy, the ironic and paradoxical twist, is that Romeo and Juliet are possessed by the devil that hides in their possessiveness of each other. Romeo’s madness and Juliet’s blindness are caused by an obsessive and possessive “love” that excludes any other love and which exorcises both God and neighbor from their affections. They are doing their own thing, marching to their own drum, following their feelings, and to hell with everyone else.
The sobering lesson that Romeo and Juliet teaches is that the thing possessed possesses the possessor. This is evident in Romeo’s blasphemous remark in which he exclaims that “heaven is here / Where Juliet lives.” Juliet is Romeo’s alpha and omega, his beginning and his end. She is the goddess to which he owes the sum of all his worship. It is for this reason that he chooses this “heaven” even when it becomes his hell. Lovers of literature will be reminded of how the love between Romeo and Juliet parallels that between Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. Compare Romeo’s remark with the words of Catherine about Heathcliff:
If all perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and, if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the Universe would turn to a mighty stranger. I should not seem a part of it … Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks … a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff—he’s always, always in my mind—not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself—but, as my own being—so, don’t talk of our separation again.
Catherine is possessed by Heathcliff who is the eternal rock upon which she builds her church. It is, therefore, not surprising that she confesses to Nelly that she would be “extremely miserable” in heaven. Her “heaven” is where Heathcliff is and nothing will separate her from the “love” of her god, not even the love of God. In similar vein, the “love” of Paolo and Francesca, Dante’s adulterous lovers, also parallels the love of Romeo and Juliet. Dante’s lovers are as inseparable in hell as they had been in their lives, making their lustful “heaven” in each other’s arms, blown hither and thither for all eternity by the winds of heedless and unsatisfying passion.
In Dante’s Inferno the lustful are described as “those who make reason slave to appetite” or as those who let their erotic passions “master reason and good sense.” Like Paolo and Francesca, Shakespeare’s lovers have overthrown reason in pursuit of passion. Embracing their madness and blindness, their “love” has surrendered to the force of feeling. Succumbing to the sway of emotion, they have willfully abandoned reason to satisfy their irrational appetite. Their love is headless and therefore heedless of the bad consequences of the bad choices being made. Shakespeare and Dante, both believing Catholics, are well aware of the danger of separating love from reason. Love, like faith, must be subject to reason; a love that denies or defies reason is illicit and is not really love at all.
In some ways, Romeo and Juliet can be seen as a cautionary commentary on the two great commandments of Christ that we love the Lord our God and that we love our neighbor. The two lovers deny the love of God in their deification of each other, with disastrous consequences, and their respective families deny the love of neighbor in their vengeful feuding. It could be said that the venereal and vengeful passions of Verona represent the culture of death in microcosm. A society that turns its back on Christ and His commandments is on the path to self-annihilation. If the lessons are not learned and the warnings heeded, the sinful society will be doomed to be damned. 
The lessons are learned by the Capulets and Montagues at the end of Shakespeare’s play, which bestows a happy or at least a hopeful ending to the story of the star-crossed lovers. It remains to be seen whether the culture of death in which we are living will heed the warnings and learn the lessons.     
Let’s end as we began with the questions posed by Tina Turner: What’s love got to do with it, and who needs a heart if a heart can be broken? 
On the one hand, the love of Romeo and Juliet has nothing to do with love in the true sense. On the other, it has everything to do with love because it shows what happens when false loves take the place of true love. The lesson that Shakespeare teaches is that true love is necessary. It is like oxygen. Its absence is deadly.
And who needs a heart if a heart can be broken? The answer to this is simple, though seemingly unknown to the world in which we live: We all need a heart and we all need it to be broken! As Oscar Wilde reminds us in The Ballad of Reading Gaol, “God’s eternal Laws are kind / And break the heart of stone.”
Oscar Wilde knew more than most about the blindness and madness of pursuing illicit passions. He hardened his heart in pursuit of a false “love” that he later called pathological. As one who embraced the culture of death and then recoiled in horror from it into the arms of Mother Church, the last words should be his:
Ah! happy they whose hearts can break
And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?

Sinners, Prophets, and the Business of Heaven | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views

Sinners, Prophets, and the Business of Heaven | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views

Sinners, Prophets, and the Business of Heaven

On the Readings for Sunday, June 16, 2013
2 Sm 12:7-10, 13
Ps 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11
Gal 2:16, 19-21
Lk 7:36—8:3 or 7:36-50
What did the most famous king in the Old Testament and a poor, anonymous woman in the Gospels have in common? They were both sinners. They were both in need of forgiveness. And they both knew it.
King David’s sin is as well-known as the woman’s sin in today’s Gospel reading is unknown. David, having witnessed the beauty of the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s loyal warriors, arranged to have Uriah put on the front lines of battle, where he was killed. It was the darkest moment of David’s often magnificent and noble life, and the king finally confessed to the prophet Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” In the Psalm written after Nathan had confronted him about his murderous actions, the repentant David wrote, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. … Deliver me from bloodguilt, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance” (Psa. 51:10, 14).

David’s life and sin were chronicled in great detail, by others and by himself. His remorse was expressed with poetic poignancy by his own pen. It is quite a contrast to the sinful woman who came to the house of the Pharisee where Jesus was invited to dine. Her name is not given, her sins are not described or listed, and if she uttered any words, they are not recorded. She may have been a prostitute; whatever the case, her sins were apparently public and well-known. 
These various facts and details are not of primary concern to Luke the Evangelist because he is intent on revealing Christ’s mercy, love, and power to forgive sins. “You perceive,” wrote St. Peter Chrysologus about this particular story, “that Christ came to the Pharisee’s table not to be filled with food for the body but to carry on the business of heaven while he was in the flesh.” 
A significant amount of this business of heaven was worked out within the earthly context of Jesus’ ongoing debates and confrontations with the Pharisees. The host, the Pharisee Simon, was concerned with judging—was Jesus a true prophet?—which is why Jesus asked him a question that required his judgment as a Pharisee, an interpreter of the Law. Simon, in judging rightly the answer to Jesus’ question, rendered judgment upon his own actions, or lack of actions. The problem was that Simon, like many of the Pharisees, was fixated on the letter of law, while failing to love the Giver of the law.

Put another way, Simon had asked Jesus into his home in order to judge Jesus, while the sinful woman sought out Jesus in order to kiss and anoint his feet. The Pharisee wished to stand face to face with the Incarnate Word in stubborn wariness; the woman desired only to worship at his feet in a silent act of vulnerable love. She did not have to give verbal expression to her sorrow and repentance for her actions spoke louder than words. Her sins, Jesus said, were forgiven “because she has shown great love” and because of her faith: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
We are not saved by faith alone but, as the Apostle Paul told the Galatians, who were being tempted to embrace a form of Pharisaism: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6). Faith, James emphasized, is dead without works—and those works are animated by charity and oriented toward God and neighbor (James 2:8-18). 
“To err human,” wrote Alexander Pope, “to forgive divine.” That is the essential message of today’s readings, which unflinchingly point out man’s sinful ways while rejoicing in God’s merciful ways. All of us—famous kings and unnamed women and everyone between—are sinners, and Christ died for us so that we, as Paul writes, can be crucified with Christ and thus truly live by faith and love.
(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the June 13, 2010, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.) 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Demise of DOMA: Pathway to ‘Gay Marriage’

Demise of DOMA: Pathway to ‘Gay Marriage’

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into law by President William Clinton on September 21, 1996. DOMA was a response to the State of Hawaii’s near attempt to legalize gay marriage in 1993. In order to stop this unpopular and threatening trend, DOMA clearly defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. Moreover, the law defended traditional marriage by asserting that each state had the right to refuse to recognize same sex marriage by any other state, and affirmed that the federal government would NOT recognize gay marriage, even if individual states choose to do so.

As just noted, the movement toward the legalization of gay marriage was markedly unpopular when DOMA was signed into law. This was evident by how quickly and overwhelmingly DOMA became the law of the land. DOMA was presented to the House of Representatives as H.R. 3396 on May 7, 1996. Two months later, on July 12 of this same year, DOMA passed through the House, 342 for and 67 against it (eighty percent of the House opposed gay marriage). On September 10, the Senate overwhelmingly supported DOMA, with 85 yeas and 14 nays opposing it (Eighty four percent of the Senate opposed gay marriage). Only eleven days later, the Act was signed into law by President Clinton.

While DOMA temporarily curbed the gay marriage movement, much has changed since then. The most recent figures show a thunderously increasing support for the legalization of gay marriage. According to the March 20, 2013 Pew Research report (Gay Marriage: Key Points from Pew Research), 49% of the population are now in favor of gay marriage and 48% are opposed to it. These results show a significant reversal over the past decade. In 2001, the data showed that 57% opposed gay marriage and only 35% supported it! Moreover, in 2001 none of the States had legalized same sex marriage. Massachusetts was the first state to break this barrier, legalizing same sex marriage on May 17, 2004, only nine years ago. Since this time, eight other States plus the District of Columbia have followed Massachusetts in granting gay couples the “right” to marry (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington).

Further fuel to the fire was added by the Obama Administration (February 2011) when they declared that they believed that DOMA was unconstitutional. In light of this, the Administration refused to defend the law in court. Moreover, President Obama publicly declared his support for the legalization of gay marriage on May 9, 2012. This is without precedent. In 2008, Obama opposed gay marriage. He claimed that his thinking has “evolved” since then and he now views gay marriage differently. Sadly, his political cohorts, such as Bill Clinton who initially supported and signed DOMA into law, have also “evolved” and become more enlightened over the past decade and a half. DOMA’s life on this planet could be a short one. In fact, oral arguments on the constitutionality of DOMA, as of March 26 of this year, are now being argued before the Supreme Court.

One thing is for sure. The legalization of gay marriage will have lethal consequences for us and the generations to come. Gay marriage strikes at the heart of the primary purpose of marriage, which is the generation, nurturing, and education of children. The begetting of offspring by a married man and a woman, as God intended, is the foundation upon which family life is built and the bedrock of a healthy, vibrant, and productive society. Legislation which weakens rather than strengthens traditional marriage will eventually lead, not only to the desolation of families, but to the destruction of society itself. God will not be mocked. Those great nations who have ignored His teachings have crumbled throughout the course of human history. The point of the preceding is that marriage between a man and woman is what God intended. This is why they were created with anatomical differences, complementing each other, and this is why He elevated marriage to the sacramental state, providing special graces to those who chose this vocation. God never taught that marriage between same sex couples was permissible. In fact, He specifically condemned sodomy and homosexual acts as “sins that cry to heaven for vengeance” — sins of impurity against nature that could NEVER be approved of by His Church (Corinthians 6: 9-10; Genesis 19: 1-29; Romans 1: 24-27; Cf. Obviously our Lord would not have supported legislation permitting gay marriage or same sex civil unions. In fact, He would have vociferously condemned the notion that gay marriage was a civil right and those who supported this.

In order to get sympathy for their position, gays will trumpet the message that their same sex attraction is genetically caused. Like those who inherit brown or blue eyes, gays will contend that homosexuality is a fixed trait. In other words, they “were born that way” and there is nothing that can be done to change this. However, the evidence indicates otherwise. There is no gay gene or common grouping of such that are responsible for one’s sexual orientation. Rather, a combination of environmental, psychological, social, and cultural factors have been identified as potential causes of homosexuality.

Even though no specific homosexual gene or genetic combination has been discovered, many gays contend that they have inherited a “genetic predisposition,” causing them to be attracted to same sex persons. Again, they will insist that they “were born that way“ and their homosexuality is a natural outgrowth of this inherited predisposition. However, a fixed genetic trait such as eye, hair, or skin color is not the same as an inherited genetic predisposition. We have no control over the former. The latter, on the other hand, differs in this regard. An individual, who is attracted to same sex persons, can stay away from persons and situations, which are “ occasions of sin.” Moreover, he can learn to control his thoughts and behavior when the temptation to engage in homosexual activity arises. This does not mean that exercising such control will be easy, especially if this problem is of a long standing nature. However, with much effort, prayer, and perseverance change is possible. The “genetically predisposed” sufferer can choose to avoid engaging in homosexual thoughts and activity. He or she can seek spiritual and professional help in order to change and better cope with their same sex attraction. Choice, not predetermination, is the critical point here. The genetically predisposed person can choose to act in such a way that he or she does not become the victim of a sensual attraction, leading to mortally sinful behavior. (See the note at the end of this piece for more on the “genetic predisposition.”)

In conclusion, those who support gay marriage will contend that this is a civil rights rather than a moral issue. However, natural law and the laws of God’s Church would dictate otherwise. If gay marriage becomes the law of the land, it will lead to the perversion of this sacrament and the loss of those graces attached to the marital state, given to us by Jesus Christ. This will eventually lead to the weakening of the family and the destruction of the society upon which it is founded.
The politicians will pretend that they have agonized over this issue and claim that they have become more enlightened, leading to a change in their thinking. They will insist that they want to do the right thing. But as we have observed, this is hardly the case.

Rather, they waffle from one position to the other depending upon on the way that the political wind is blowing. The most recent poll Pew Research data (March 13-17, 2013) on Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters’ response to the question: should same sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples? would support this contention. The current figures show that 74% of the Democrats, 49% of the Republicans, and 74% of the Independent voters agreed that gay and heterosexual couples should have the same rights. As noted previously the House and Senate overwhelmingly (80+ %) opposed gay marriage when DOMA was signed into law seventeen years ago. What a difference one decade has made!

The current crop of politicians, particularly our Catholic politicians who should know better, are a sad lot. For them, getting elected is what is important. If this means violating natural law and God’s commandments, so be it. Deep down inside, I suspect that the over-riding majority of our politicians and legislators know that gay marriage is an abomination and makes no sense from both a moral and practical perspective. Common sense would dictate that. Unfortunately common sense is not so common, especially when it comes to politics. With the guillotining of DOMA, the legalization of gay marriage is not only likely to accelerate, but it could soon become the law of the land. Those who refuse to comply with it and openly oppose such a law may be persecuted more vehemently than ever. God give us the grace to face such adversity, should it arise. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph — the Holy Family upon which society is founded — pray for us and provide us with the strength to follow Your example.
 * * * * * * * * * * * *

Note on “Genetic Predisposition”In this article, I used the term “genetic predisposition” toward homosexuality. For the purpose of clarification, I would like to explain what I meant by this term. Let me preface my remarks by stating that I am not a geneticist. However, in my perusal of the literature, two points were evident. First, the various theories that posit a genetic (or epigenetic) predetermination toward homosexuality are scientifically unproven. And secondly, these theories are not in conformity with the fundamental truths of human nature. In light of the preceding, I rejected the notion that a specific gene or combination of genes were responsible for “fixing” one’s homosexual orientation at conception and compelling him or her to engage in a gay lifestyle thereafter. As a psychologist, my operative theory in this area is that certain men and women have a predisposition (a “potency” in philosophical terms) toward homosexuality. This potency might or might not be activated depending upon those environmental circumstances to which the individual becomes exposed.
The “genetic predisposition” of which I speak is a person’s inclination to engage in morally disordered actions when the potency, which I previously mentioned, becomes aroused or activated. For example, Michael is a young man whose family members are afflicted with obesity. This runs in Michael’s family. With such an inherited predisposition, Michael is strongly attracted to food and its consumption. He is constantly fixated on food and experiences gluttonous inclinations, which are most tempting indeed. Monitoring and controlling his food intake will be an ongoing problem for Michael, given his “genetic predisposition.” Raymond, on the other hand, has no difficulty with controlling his food intake or with gluttony. However, the members of Raymond’s family tend to behave violently when stressed. Raymond, like his family members, has a low frustration tolerance. As a result, he can quickly become so violent that he poses a danger to others and could inflict injury or even death upon them. Raymond’s inclination to act violently and the control of his temper may be an ongoing problem, throughout the course of his life, given his “genetic predisposition.”
It is important to note that people and the vices to which they become attracted differ. The old saying that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” applies here. If someone lacks the particular “predisposition” for a certain vice, it will hold little or no attraction to him. However, if he inherits this predisposition, he could — as if by temperament — easily fall into that sin.
There is also the related question as to what occurs when someone’s predisposition becomes “set off” so to speak. The person’s inclination, which was previously latent and now triggered, will first come to the forefront in the form of temptations. If these temptations are then consented to, they become actual sins. We are all born heterosexual, since God gave us a certain complement of male and female biological traits at conception. If one has a predisposition toward homosexuality, this potency could become activated by one’s own sins against purity, in which he freely chooses to engage. It should be noted that suffering from some sort of trauma: mental or physical abuse, premature exposure to sexual matters, pornography, rape, etc., might also trigger someone’s “predisposition.” In my opinion, even bad parenting habits and parental role dysfunction (all too common today) can have a profound influence in leading predisposed young men to embrace homosexuality. Again, if the temptations are freely consented to, the behavior and thoughts become actual sins. The repetition of these becomes more habitual and deeply integrated into one’s personality.
The theory that I accept does not reject the culpability for sin, nor does it deny the freedom of the human will. Still less does it advance the notion that homosexuals are “born this way.”

“The Apostle James, when he says, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God. He begins by saying: 'Adulterers!'. He yells this out to us and he uses that word: adulterers. Why? Because whoever is a 'friend' of the world is an idolater, a person who is not faithful to the love of God! The true path is not distant. It advances and it moves forward in the Kingdom of God. It's a path of loyalty which resembles that of married love.”The Pope then added that idols are represented in different ways, depending on one's personality or way of life. He then added that the first step is to pray to God, so that one may leave idols behind. 

"No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" -St. Maximilian Kolbe