Saturday, June 30, 2012

More on the Morality of Homosexual Acts

On the 13th of last month, someone by the name of "Harriet" came across my post from 2008 on Proposition 8 and Homosexuality (please read that post and Part 2 for an overview of what I've already said in defense of the Catholic position). She left some comments on that post that I would like to respond to here. Her words will be indented and italicized.
Personally, I believe that there is nothing wrong with Homosexuals or Same-Sex marriage. I believe that if God made everyone exactly the way they are - I believe Jesus once said 'You created my innermost self; you knitted me together in my Mother's womb' - then God made people Gay. And if God made people Gay, then why do other people have problems with it?
Well, first of all, there's no conclusive proof yet that God "makes people gay." In other words, there's no "gay gene" that has been discovered. There's no genetic predisposition that has been definitively proven.

Secondly, even if it could be said that God makes people gay, this does not mean that he approves of gay sex acts. God makes some people with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, but that doesn't mean that He approves of such people abusing alcohol.

God also made us with free will. This means that someone with alcoholism in his family actually has the power to refuse becoming an alcoholic. Someone with a "gay gene" actually has the power to refuse acting on his sexual orientation.

I know, I know, this seems so unfair, right? Why create someone with a gay gene and then tell him he can't act on it? The fact is, disorder, and chaos, and genetic abnormalities, and suffering and pain are not God's doing. They are the result of sin. Yet, we also know that God's grace is powerful enough to bring good out of any situation, no matter how hopeless it may seem.
Homosexuality is evident in animals such as Dolphins, Domestic Cats and Brown bears (a full list can be found here). So if Homosexuality is documented in animals and humans, then doesn't that mean God wants it to be there?
What animals do has no bearing upon this discussion. The actions of animals have no moral quality to them. Animals don't possess a spirit that was made for union with God. They don't have an intellect or a will. BUT, human beings do. Our actions DO have a moral character. We ARE made for union with God. Thus, we must be sure that our actions are in accordance with His will and His design for our bodies and our sexual faculties.

At any rate, do we really want to begin doing what the animals do? There are animals that also eat their own children, have children by multiple females, and abandon their children. Just b/c animals do it, that doesn't mean it's ok for us.
I know that there are some Bible books that are Anti-Homosexuality, such as Leviticus, but doesn't Leviticus also condemn wearing clothes made of mixed fibre, mixing seeds when planting your crops, and believe that bats are just unclean birds?
The laws regarding the eating of certain foods and ritual purity are not of the same kind as the moral laws. The moral laws communicate universal norms for all mankind. They do not change. The other laws, however, are culturally conditioned. They can and do change. The law on gay sex acts (and any other law that is one of the Ten Commandments or a derivative of the Ten) is a universal moral norm that we are bound to follow.

Beyond that, Leviticus isn't the only place where the Bible condemns gay sex acts. If my arguments in support of the Leviticus passage aren't persuasive, then just look at the other books. In them you don't have the confusion over what still applies and what doesn't. There you have simple, straight-forward condemnations of homosexual acts.

For a list of these passages, see the bottom of Part 2 from my Prop 8 debate.
I hope my views do not come across as offensive. I really don't mean to offend anyone by disagreeing with some of their views. I'm just curious.
Not a problem. I'm not offended in the least.

[From here you may proceed to Part 2 and Part 3]

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Catholic Q&A: Part 27

This post continues my series of short answers to common questions about Catholicism. For the previous parts in the series, see the "Catholic Q-A Series" blog label.

Who was King James and why is there a Bible version named after him? I think it's kind of ironic that Protrestants give Catholics grief for honoring saints and yet they have a Bible named after someone.

Haha, good point! I guess I never thought of it that way. To have a Bible named after you is a tremendous honor, isn't it! King James received this honor because he was the one who initiated the endeavor to create a new English translation of the Bible. He did this in 1603 (almost as soon as he became king) at the Hampton Court Conference, which was convened to ease tensions between various factions of the Church of England. You can read more about the King James Version at the Bible Researcher website and, of course, Wikipedia and New Advent.

How did the set number of prayers in the rosary come about? 10 Hail Mary's, 1 Our Father etc.

For the answer to this question, see Q&A #9 from my parish website: "What is the history of the rosary?"

Why do we have both the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed? Both prayers are similar, why didn't the early church just modify the already existing prayer?

There have been many creeds formulated throughout the history of the Church. The AC and the NC are simply the most prominent ones. The Catechism is helpful here:
192 Through the centuries many professions or symbols of faith have been articulated in response to the needs of the different eras: the creeds of the different apostolic and ancient Churches, e.g., the Quicumque, also called the Athanasian Creed; the professions of faith of certain Councils, such as Toledo, Lateran, Lyons, Trent; or the symbols of certain popes, e.g., the Fides Damasi or the Credo of the People of God of Paul VI.

193 None of the creeds from the different stages in the Church's life can be considered superseded or irrelevant. They help us today to attain and deepen the faith of all times by means of the different summaries made of it.

Among all the creeds, two occupy a special place in the Church's life:

194 The Apostles' Creed is so called because it is rightly considered to be a faithful summary of the apostles' faith. It is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome. Its great authority arises from this fact: it is "the Creed of the Roman Church, the See of Peter the first of the apostles, to which he brought the common faith" (St. Ambrose, Expl. symb. 7).

195 The Niceno-Constantinopolitan or Nicene Creed draws its great authority from the fact that it stems from the first two ecumenical Councils (in 325 and 381). It remains common to all the great Churches of both East and West to this day.

The statement of faith from the Council of Chalcedon is another prominent creed (more on that here). The Apostles' Creed is the most ancient one. We find remnants of it from as far back as the middle of the second century, and reference to it from even earlier. The Nicene Creed came later, at the councils of Nicaea (325 AD) and Constantinople (381 AD), out of the need to respond to various heresies and make clarifications about the divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit that are not present in the Apostles' Creed.

For more information, see New Advent: Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed.

Why isn't embalming someone desecrating the body? There is removal and destroying of organs.

I'm not really sure. Perhaps since the intention is to preserve the body, to perform a good service toward it, embalming would not be considered desecration.

Are exorcists the only ones that can perform exorcisms?

I should say right off that I am no expert on this, and I feel a little out of my league in addressing it. But, from what I understand, we have to first make a distinction between major and minor exorcisms.

The actual expulsion of a demon takes place through a major exorcism. Normatively speaking, this is the faculty only of priests who have received special training and permission by the bishop to perform major exorcisms. A minor exorcism, which is basically a prayer for protection from sin and temptation, can be performed by any priest or, outside of a liturgical setting, by any Christian. Minor exorcisms are performed, for example, at a person's baptism, and for the catechumens during the Catechumenate stage of the RCIA process. They are much more common than major exorcisms are.

I said that the normative minister of a major exorcism is a properly delegated priest because one can't deny that exceptions exist within the Body of Christ. There are instances of many very holy saints of the Church who were not priests but who had the power to expel demons. Even some non-Catholic Christians have been known to possess this power. But, God gave this power first and foremost to His Church, specifically His priests, and so it is them that we should always turn to first if we have reason to believe that a major exorcism is needed.

I should state again that this is how I understand it based on my reading of the subject. But, I am not an authority on the matter, and I invite correction from anyone more knowledgeable than myself on this subject.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Short Q&A on St. John the Baptist

What is “the Nativity of St. John the Baptist”?

Well, it’s today’s feast day, for one thing! More specifically, the word “nativity” means “the event of being born.” So, today we are celebrating the circumstances of John’s birth, and his coming into the world. John is a miracle baby. He was born to Zechariah and Elizabeth even though they were both “advanced in years” or too old to conceive a child (Lk 1:7).

Even if John had not been miraculously conceived we would still have cause to rejoice. Why? Because “he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Eli'jah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared" (Lk 1:16-17).

How can Catholics say that Mary is God’s greatest creation if Jesus himself said, “Among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11:11)?

First off, here is the passage in question, along with the verses that immediately precede it:
Mt 11:9-11 Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.' 11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
The context reveals that John is the greatest of the prophets, not the greatest person who ever lived. All of the prophets of the Old Testament told of the coming Messiah and the Kingdom He would inaugurate. But, only John had the privilege of being the immediate precursor of the Messiah, of “preparing the way” for the Lord. Only John was able to see with his own eyes the one who was to come. It is in this sense that John is the greatest.

Note also the last part of vs. 11: “… yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” This means that even the least of the New Covenant saints (those who come after Christ and live according to His grace) outshine the most illustrious saints of the Old Covenant, who lived under the Law and without the sacraments.

The mystery hidden for ages and generations has been revealed to his saints (cf. Col 1:26). As long as we decrease so that Christ may increase (cf. Jn 3:30) we can be sure of a seat beside John in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Sunday, June 03, 2012

In Honor of Trinity Sunday

Since today is Trinity Sunday, I thought I would repost my Topical Index page on our Triune God. I pray this will prove a worthy offering. Have a blessed Sunday!

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Jesus Christ

For more on our trinitarian God, see Biblical Evidence for Catholicism:
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