In case you havn't noticed, everybody is talking about gay marriage.
Of course, it's something people always do: talk about gay marriage. It's kind of a thing in our society. But this last week- or was it two weeks ago now?- what with the President and North Carolina and Mitt Romney being a bully; people are talking about it like it is going out of style.
And this all makes the Catholic Church very sad.
I get a kick out of them phrasing it that way,
"It's not that we're angry, Barak. We're just so disappointed."
God, could you GET more Catholic???
For a while I thought maybe The Church's stance was just old men being homophobic and stubborn. And it kind of is, but I read a few articles on the Catholic position, and began reading Pope John Paul's "Theology of the Body" which incidentally is INSANELY dense, and I kind of think I see where they are coming from. It's not that I agree mind you, and my understanding on the Church's stance is still developing, but this is what I've got so far:
One of the big differences between the Catholic Church and other Christian churches is that Catholics believe that humans can only receive the fullness of God's grace in communion with each other. We have to see God in our experiences with other people, or we cannot really know God. This is actually one of my favorite parts of Catholicism.
Anyway, because the Church believes that we experience God through communion with others, the Church regards sex as the greatest expression way two people can experience God. Seriously. I know there is this thing that Catholics are afraid of sex, but that is absolutely wrong. Why do you think we have all these babies? Catholics LOVE sex. It is one of the truest ways Catholics get to God.
One of the crucial reasons Catholics revere sex as sacred above other expressions of love is because through sex you can create life, just like God. Truthfully, it is harder to think of a way people could be more like God than by creating another life. Actually, for a Catholic, there is not other way for people to be more like God: sex is God's gift to us so we could be more like God. Now that it is possible to remove the creation element from sex, Catholics are "sad". How can you truly experience God if you are not thinking about the creative element? Catholics mourn the loss of that connection in secular society. This is why they have banned birth control; they are trying to keep the connection between creation and sex in the hearts of their faithful. Now, that doesn't mean you have to conceive a child every time you have sex; it just means that Catholics don't want to totally eliminate the creation aspect from sex, because that is part of sex's awesome power.
Now Catholics believe that sex should only take place between a devoted pair. I think there are all kinds of arguments medically and socially that support that argument. Hence, sex should only take place within marriage. It's not a particularly FUN perspective, but it is hard to argue that it is not a sound argument. Waiting until you get married to have sex probably avoids a lot of life's potholes. In an interesting twist, Catholics not only believe that sex should be reserved for marriage, but also that marriage should be reserved for sex. As in, if a person cannot have sex because of a physical disability, then the Church doesn't think they should get married. What would the point of getting married be if they can't have sex? (note that people who are infertile can get married because they can have sex, just not children. There is always the possibility that the couple may become fertile. Plus, it is not as though one couple's failure to have children will change the view of sex in the community at large.)
So, Catholics hold sex sacred because it brings us closer to God, especially the creation part of sex. You see where this is going, right? Homosexuals cannot engage in sex that has creative power. To allow them to marry would change the Catholic view of sex as something that brings us closer to God through the creative force, and changes it into something that is strictly pleasurable for the two individuals. They do not necessarily see gay marriage as an abomination, as much as they see it as sad; they don't want society to lose that creation element within the relationship of marriage.
I get it, but I don't agree. It seems to me that this doctrine was thought up by people who have not really been in a long term loving relationship. Sex within a committed relationship is amazing and does indeed bring you closer to God, but not because of the babies. Knowing that a couple has the power to create life is awe inspiring, but that creative power does not necessarily lead to the selfless gift of one's self during intercourse. No, the giving of one's self to your partner and to the community has to happen before the sex. Regardless of whether a couple is fertile, impotent or homosexual, when two people have surrendered themselves completely to one another, I believe they experience the closeness to God that Catholics so cherish, regardless of the physical details of the act.
* Title shamelessly stolen from Rachel Maddow. Love you, Rachel!