A recent Herald article discusses the split in opinion between various Churches in New Zealand regarding gay marriage.
The story begins with the story of Susan Thompson, a Methodist Minister, who is a lesbian. She and her “partner” Nan Russell already have their relationship formalised through a civil union (which was performed in a Church), but Nan says “Our relationship is no less than any other, so we should have the gold standard.”
There seems to be a lot of debate amongst various Churches as to whether same-sex relationships, let alone marriages are legitimate in the sight of God. Those who are liberal in their thinking seem to fall on “God’s love and justice” and how Jesus walked, talked and ate with sinners, as their evidence to approve of gay relationships and marriage.
And yes, God is a God of love and of justice. He longs for each of us to love Him.
But liberal Christians who accept homosexual relationships, and who are now calling for same-sex marriage to be legalised, fail to recognise the call to each and every one of us to live chastity.
Chastity is that virtue which allows us to direct all our sexual desires, emotions and attractions toward the dignity of the person and the real meaning of love. It means we learn to put our own desires and wants aside and instead look to the greatest good for the other. And so, through practising the virtue of chastity, we learn self-mastery and true love – becoming more Christ-like.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of chasity and the homosexual person beautifully:
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Opposition to the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex marriages, does not mean “homophobia” or “exclusion” or any other negative term that supporters can come up with. The so-called “opposition” to same-sex marriage by the Catholic Church and others, is in fact a loving call to persons who experience a same-sex attraction to live chastity just as married couples, singles, religious, priests and others must do to reach Christian perfection, which is total, unblemished love.
St Josemaria Escriva spoke of chastity as a crown of triumph:
When you decide firmly to lead a clean life, chastity will not be a burden on you: it will be a crown of triumph.
Those Christian Churches that approve of same-sex relationships and marriage would do well to return to their Christian roots and rediscover the beauty of the truth of Scripture and Tradtion. In these they will discover that their modern acceptance of the distortion of real marriage is created by a human desire to make all things right (even when they are wrong), rather than based on strong theology grounded in the Gospel.