Is There Such a Thing as Episcopally Sanctioned Adultery?

The Attack on Marriage, Morality, and the Eucharist

Prior to the publication of Amoris Laetitia (hereafter AL) in March 2016, certain influential German bishops had a direct hand in persuading a willing Pope Francis to incorporate a subjectivistic view of conscience and discernment into the document. The German Bishops’ Conference then appealed to AL’s morally anarchic perspective in the set of guidelines it issued in February 2017 to justify admitting select, divorced and “remarried” Catholics to Holy Communion. The Conference is now pushing hard to bring the Lutheran spouses of Catholics to Holy Communion using that same, infernal strategy. But that is not all. Several German bishops have been unabashedly promoting the political recognition of gay “unions,” while encouraging a greater ecclesiastical appreciation of all the “good” found in them. This suggests that the majority of the bishops expect the Church to “integrate” gays1 more fully into her ecclesial and sacramental life. Unsurprisingly, they are setting the stage for this, too, by appealing to AL’s moral subjectivism.

All these efforts seem to have but one, immediate goal: to attack both the sacrament of marriage and the sacrament of mystical marriage, the Holy Eucharist, by indirectly sanctioning marital and religious adultery respectively. Through this diabolically efficient and destructive — but ultimately futile — method, the German bishops and their cadre of episcopal collaborators are dismantling the Church’s moral patrimony, and thereby tampering with her mission, and hence her very nature. In order to see that more clearly, we must first examine briefly the central principle behind AL’s moral subjectivism, since the German (and other) bishops are relying on it to further their ecclesiastical agenda. Next, we must examine, in its basic features, the mysterious connection between marriage and the Eucharist. Against that background, we will be in a better position to grasp the gravity of the “remarriage,” the Lutheran, and the gay issues, which we will examine in turn. The anthropological component of our analyses will be based largely on the work of Saint John Paul II, and also on the work of Catholic psychologists notable for their success in counseling persons having same-sex attractions.

Laying the Landmine:
The Appeal to a Falsified Church Teaching

As indicated above, to justify bringing “some” Catholic adulterers, “some” Lutherans, and “some” actively gay Catholics to Holy Communion, the German bishops are employing the seemingly high-minded, but radically dehumanizing and depersonalizing concept of conscience and moral discernment that they, like AL (whose lead they claim merely to be following), have adopted from situation ethics and Catholic moral revisionism. Contrary to authoritative Church teaching, this concept gives subjective factors, such as personal intentions, and secondary factors, such as particular circumstances, priority over attention to the deliberately chosen object of the will in the moral evaluation, or “discernment,” of human acts in conscience. The object pertains to what my will is aiming at directly as good or desirable in the act itself, which I have deliberately chosen to perform as the means to the end I want to achieve. My intention, on the other hand, pertains to why I have deliberately willed to act so. It is therefore the end, the goal, of my acting. For that reason, my intention confers on my action its subjective meaning, the purpose that it has for me, under the circumstances.

Thus, if I give a lethal injection to a sick man, what I am immediately aiming to do is to murder him. Whether my intention — my end — was to eliminate acute suffering or to cash in a bit early on my inheritance, it doesn’t change the essentially heinous nature of the means I employed to achieve it: murder, the object of my deliberate will.2 If my conscience had been rightly ordered and hence truly good, it could never have “discerned” (or judged) that my concrete act of murder was justified based on my intention(s) under the circumstances. There exists a complete and insurmountable disproportion between what I have done and my reason(s) for doing it. The subjective and the secondary sources of morality can be wholly discounted in the moral evaluation of such an act, for its object is always and absolutely evil in itself. The fact that I willed that object deliberately both reflects and causes evil in me.

Thanks to AL, however, certain German (as well as other) bishops are now telling us almost explicitly that the good end we intend can justify the objectively evil means we have chosen to achieve it — at least in “some” cases. But because that view effectively allows each subject to fabricate his own justifying rationalizations for committing any personal sin or sacrilege that might appeal to him, it does not, in principle, provide any serious basis for restricting the performance of evil acts to only some cases. For their perpetrators can always claim that they have examined their conscience and discerned that they are motivated, in their evildoing, only by good intentions directed toward a morally good end.3

It follows that the subjectivistic view of conscience and discernment does not provide the bishops with any basis or incentive for restricting the invitation to Holy Communion to only some of the people who have hitherto been forbidden to receive it because of their persistence in doing evil, or because of their non-Catholic status. Through their enthusiastic propagation of AL’s corrupt doctrine, therefore, the German bishops, and others like them, have effectively opened wide the floodgates to anyone and everyone who wants to receive the Blessed Sacrament, regardless of how he acts or what he believes. Any attempt on their part — whether real or for appearance’s sake — to impose restrictions would be logically arbitrary, and hence ever subject to change.

The German Blitzkrieg:
The Simultaneous Takedown of Marriage and Holy Communion

As we know, the German Bishops’ Conference has already used AL’s moral subjectivism to justify inviting Catholic adulterers to Holy Communion. The Conference is now determined to bring certain Lutherans to the Catholic Eucharist using the same rationale. It seems poised, moreover, to do likewise for gay Catholics.4 In each instance, the Conference is looking to give formal sanction to practices that many German bishops are allowing anyway. Why? It seems that these bishops are mounting a coordinated offensive against both marriage and Holy Communion itself, “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9).

When we recall that Eucharistic communion with Our Lord is, for the good Catholic this side of heaven, the supreme form and exemplar of spousal union, or marriage, we can begin to understand that to attack one is to attack the other. So, before we consider the three issues mentioned above, which are the means by which this twofold attack is initially being carried out, let us look briefly at the connection between: (1) the reciprocal, spousal relation of Christ and the Catholic faithful, which is newly actualized whenever they receive Holy Communion; and (2) the reciprocal relation of a man and a woman united faithfully in sacramental marriage. Given the indispensable place of marriage and the Eucharist in the life of the Church, we can only see, in the attacks against them, an attack on the Church as we know it.

The Reflection of Christ’s Love for Us in Marital Love

The Eucharist ever renews sacramentally the “Great Mystery” of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice for, and union with, His Church — the Mystery of the Head’s total gift of Himself to and for the sake of His Body. It is only fitting, therefore, that the communicating members of the Body should respond in kind, by surrendering themselves freely, under grace, to their divine Head in love and gratitude. In that way, their ineffable union with Him — which both consecrates them spiritually to God and unites them in charity to one another — will produce rich fruit.

The faithful union of a man and a woman in marriage is the premier icon of this unreserved, reciprocal self-giving of the Head and the Body, of the divine Bridegroom and His Bride, in self-sacrificing love (see Eph 5:21–32). To the extent that spouses conform, in their marital life, to this salvific pattern in cooperation with divine grace, they participate in and extend its salvific efficacy, especially insofar as they sacrifice themselves freely for each other’s true good and for that of their children, the richest fruit born of their union.

Those who enter marriage must commit themselves permanently, exclusively, and unconditionally in love to their beloved, as Christ has committed Himself to His Church. In order to fulfill that commitment, they must completely renounce certain aspects of their former way of life, while accepting the new responsibilities of married life. For example, such persons are no longer free to court other love interests. They have to defer to the legitimate wishes of their beloved when they would rather pursue their own. They have to share each other’s trials and burdens. They have always to keep open the possibility of family life, and to take on its obligations as it grows with the addition of new members. They have always to love and honor each other and each member of the family. And they have to make whatever personal sacrifices all this will entail.

That same disposition is absolutely essential for anyone who approaches Holy Communion — the marriage supper of the Lamb. First, one must be properly wed to the divine Bridegroom, expressing one’s permanent, exclusive, and unconditional love for Him by becoming a member of His Body, the Church. Our partaking of the Eucharist, in the state of grace, then renews and strengthens our spousal union with Christ in the Spirit. As a result, the family of God’s pilgrim saints becomes bound more closely in charity. In conformity with the will of the divine Spouse, each member of the ecclesial family must look selflessly to ensuring the true good of the others, lest the family be wounded by those who would choose, rather, to pursue forbidden loves. That would separate them from the Bridegroom, against whom they would be committing “adultery” by their rebellious infidelity to their spousal covenant with Him.

Holy Communion and Catholic Adulterers

The guidelines issued last year by the German Bishops’ Conference for allowing “sincere” Catholic adulterers to receive Holy Communion (not to mention the guidelines of other bishops similarly “inspired” by AL) disregard completely the fact that it is precisely the marital disposition described above that divorced and “remarried” Catholics have renounced. Christ has unequivocally revealed that the man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery (Mt 19:9). The basis for a valid marriage is lacking in every such case, for the adulterer has already irrevocably pledged his love permanently, exclusively, and unconditionally to another, against whom he is acting unjustly by disavowing their marital covenant and taking a new “spouse.”

The content of the marital pledge, lived faithfully, is what true spousal love demands absolutely. For that alone is consonant with the dignity of the human person, who is eternally love-worthy as someone made in God’s image, and whose proper end is the absolute Love of God Himself. Where neither the marital pledge nor, therefore, the keeping of its content, is possible because the “marriage” is adulterous, the merely sexual and affective union of complementary bodies cannot fulfill the deeply personal desire for free and total mutual self-surrender, and for free and total mutual possession, which the heart yearns for naturally (if only secretly), and which the marital act seeks to satisfy both symbolically, according to its very structure, and in a profoundly real way, by engaging the whole of each spouse’s distinctively human and personal being in its integral truth.

Marital indissolubility, exclusivity, and unconditionality are therefore essential to a man and a woman’s free and total self-gift to each other in marriage. By these traits, they express concretely and truthfully their inalienable union in love, which is ultimately patterned on Truth itself — on the eternal, consubstantial unity formed of the mutual compenetration, in Love, of the three Persons in God. At the same time, true marital love anticipates the ineffably intimate union of love existing between Christ and His saints in heaven.

Adulterous couples, on the other hand, merely mock these truths in practice, for their attempt to reflect them is always, at bottom, an untruthful pretense. The nontransferable conditions for an indissoluble, exclusive, and unconditional union in love were already absent before any of these couples ever came together, rendering a true and total reciprocity in self-giving and other-receiving impossible. For that reason, when they seek to confirm their “marital state” and their “marital love” through bodily union, they enact, inescapably, an egregious lie, regardless either of circumstances, or of their sincere feelings and intentions to the contrary. It is a lie that invariably wounds the true good of marriage, of the family, and, by extension, of society at large.

Catholic adulterers cannot but carry that same lie with them, increase its gravity, and commit even graver acts of dishonesty and adultery when they receive Holy Communion while persisting in their adulterous state. For they have willfully refused to surrender their will to the manifestly nonnegotiable will of the divine Spouse: “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Their flagrant disobedience to God, and their disregard for its invariably negative consequences for the family and society, manifests their refusal to cooperate with the grace God is offering to strengthen them to make the personal sacrifices that renouncing their sin would entail. Since they prefer to cleave to their sin rather than to God and the absolute good of His moral law, it is not surprising that they would also show a self-centered disregard for their responsibilities toward the ecclesial family — Christ’s Body — which they are wounding by their obstinate persistence in grave sin, and scandalizing by flaunting it at the Communion rail.

And yet, some Catholic adulterers presume to approach the divine Bridegroom in Holy Communion because they have “discerned,” perhaps with the “help” of certain bishops or their surrogates, that they are properly disposed and “dressed” for His marriage feast, given their “good-faith” intentions to do the best they can amid the complex circumstances of their concrete situation. The fact is, however, that they have willed not to love the Bridegroom permanently, exclusively, and unconditionally as He wills (the minimum requirement of which is to observe faithfully the concrete moral norms set forth in the Ten Commandments, as interpreted authoritatively by the Church), but only in an open-ended and conditional way, inclusive of forbidden “loves.” Instead of expressing an unqualified love for, trust in, and obedience to Christ, the object toward which they express all this is their own, subjectivistic ego, exclusive of Christ. There is consequently no death to self for the sake of the One who died for us, that we might live for Him — and in Him.

We are thus faced here with nothing less than raw self-assertion and sheer ingratitude. We are faced with Catholics who reject Christ in the very act by which they purport to receive Him truly and substantially, so as to become “one body” with Him. To the contrary, they are dishonoring His Body by having willfully dishonored their own through their persistent adultery, which has profaned the temple of the Holy Spirit within them (1 Cor 6:19).

For these Catholics to partake of the sacramental sign and source of supreme union with the divine Spouse when they have willfully chosen to cleave instead to their grave sin is to commit “adultery” against Him, just as partaking in the privileges exclusive to marriage with someone other than one’s true spouse is adultery. Both are lies of the first order. When the Israelites professed belief in the one, true God with their lips and their rituals, but strayed far from Him in their heart and hence in their moral actions, the prophets called their blatant hypocrisy “idolatry,” or, more aptly, “adultery.” They had been unfaithful to their spousal covenant with God, their true “husband,” preferring instead to cling to the profane practices and lifeless “gods” of other peoples.5

Both marital and religious adultery involve the kind of hypocrisy that the prophets of old, and the incarnate Son of God Himself, roundly condemned. The “good” intentions and “positive” feelings that the sinners have in committing these sins do not alter their incalculably destructive consequences, whether in them or beyond them. But it is precisely all this that Catholic adulterers and their episcopal defenders have inexcusably failed to discern.

Holy Communion and the Lutheran Spouses of Catholics

According to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, the German bishops agreed, last February, that the Lutheran spouses of Catholics should be allowed to receive the Catholic Eucharist if they so desire. But they would first have to undergo a period of “deep discernment” about their “situation,”6 and they would also have to express faith in the Catholic understanding of the sacrament. Marx made it clear, however, that they would not have to convert to the Catholic faith. The bishops have therefore given them no incentive to renounce whichever of Martin Luther’s radical errors, self-contradictions, self-deceptions, and intentional falsehoods might still appeal to them.

It follows that these Lutherans would consider the Catholic Church to be heterodox in whatever respects she does not agree with Luther. Of course, we can understand that, in Germany — the very cradle of Lutheranism — various historical, cultural, psychological, social, familial, or other factors might be strongly conditioning their attachment to the idols erected by Luther, whom they acknowledge — even by their collective name — as their founder. But the fact remains, this precludes their surrendering themselves permanently, exclusively, and unconditionally to Christ as He has truly revealed Himself to be, and hence as He truly offers Himself to them, through the saving mission and sacramental ministry of the Holy Catholic Church — the Church that He founded.

In their relation to the divine Bridegroom, therefore, the Lutheran spouses of Catholics possess neither the marital disposition nor the marital status necessary for partaking of His marriage feast. Should they partake of it anyway, seeking thus to unite themselves with Christ, while yet following Luther in remaining separated from His Body, their act would objectively reduce to a sterile, “contraceptive,” act of “adultery” — a hypocritical lie. By that same lie, they, together with the German bishops promoting it, would also put a stumbling block in the way of faithful Catholics, who, confused by the practice of Lutherans receiving the Catholic Eucharist, might think it licit for them to receive, in turn, the corresponding, but wholly invalid, Lutheran “sacrament,” at the invitation of Lutheran pastors. Were Catholics to do that, however, they would be committing a grave act of religious adultery themselves.

Even the “acceptance” of Catholic Eucharistic belief that the German bishops assure us they will require of the Lutheran spouses of Catholics is bound to be illusory, given the intrinsic relation of the Blessed Sacrament to doctrines anathema to most Lutherans. For example, the reception of Holy Communion is, for faithful Catholics in the state of grace, an act proclaiming that herein they have really entered an intimate, spousal union with the glorified Lord, and that, through their consequent increase in charity, they have also entered a fuller communion with: (1) the other members of His Body (the Church militant); (2) the blessed angels and saints in heaven (the Church triumphant); and (3) the souls in purgatory (the Church suffering).

Lutherans who are admitted to the Catholic Eucharist will likewise be proclaiming, in the act of receiving it, that they, too, enjoy those same relations, in the same way. But in fact they do not. For they have chosen to remain separated from the Body, to which the divine Head is wed. In standing outside the unity of the Church, they are depriving themselves of the fullness of the means that Christ has provided for drawing them more intimately into relation with Himself. This impoverishes, in turn, their relations among the Communion of Saints. To make matters worse, they implicitly will some of those relations not to exist, for they regard the Catholic belief in purgatory, in the invocation of the Blessed in heaven for their intercession, and in the charitable exchange of spiritual goods within the Communion of Saints (especially when it involves the treasury of merits), as Romish innovations, rather than as expressions of reality.

Though it is true that their valid baptism and their faith in Christ constitute Lutherans as fellow Christians having a kind of imperfect communion with the Church,7 it is precisely on account of that imperfection and the contradictions to which it gives rise that they can neither receive fruitfully nor honor duly the Eucharistic Presence of the divine Bridegroom.8 For, apart from becoming members of the Church themselves, they can never surmount the untruth of their being separated from her unity, on the one hand, and their receiving from her the very sign and source of her unity,9 on the other. Their objective status prevents their truly affirming and participating in all that this sacrament implies, signifies, and effects. And so they are not fit to receive it. Of the sheep “that are not of this fold [the Church],” the Good Shepherd said He must lead them, not feed them, until there is “one flock, one Shepherd” (Jn 10:16).

Holy Communion and Gay Catholics

Both before and since the release of AL, German Cardinals Reinhard Marx, Walter Kasper, and Christoph Schönborn have been particularly vocal (but hardly alone) in claiming that homosexual “unions” contain “positive elements” that the Church ought to affirm in her “discernment” of Catholics in this “concrete situation.” Based on an unabashedly dishonest interpretation of AL, Kasper has even gone so far as to assert that such “unions” are analogous to marriage. He insists further that the Church should not oppose “democratic” efforts by the state to recognize them legally as marriages, whereas Marx and Schönborn (not to mention Pope Francis) seem to settle for their legal recognition as “civil unions,” as though that linguistic distinction makes any real difference in practice.

Despite their claims to stand by the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, these prelates exhibit a glowing admiration for the moral pluralism of the modern secular state. Do they think, perhaps, that the legal recognition of gay “unions” would compel the Church (under threat of draconian civil penalties?) to recognize them, too, as the “reality” that some of her children are living, in accordance with the “sincere” convictions of conscience? It would then become a matter of “justice” for her to “bless” those “unions” liturgically — just one step away from the Church’s performing the rite of “union” herself. Were the Church to go along with all this, she would thereby also be giving heterosexual Catholic couples tacit approval to practice the mortally sinful, unnatural vice of sodomy in their marital life, thus seriously endangering both their marriage and their souls (to say nothing of how cohabitating heterosexual Catholics would increase the gravity of their sin by adopting the practice of this evil, simply because the Church has “blessed” it). More fundamentally, the Church would be betraying Christ, and hence also her own mission to signify and to safeguard the transcendence of the human person.10

Contrary to Kasper’s false claim that AL regards homosexual unions as analogous to marriage,11 the document states that they are not “in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family” (AL 251).12 The Catechism of the Catholic Church (para. 2357) summarizes why that is so.13 On the other hand, AL’s paragraph 52 does wrongly suggest that same-sex (and also de facto) unions constitute a type of “family situation” that offers “a certain stability.” It is precisely this false idea of stability, lifelong commitment, “fidelity” — in a word, monogamy — that certain prelates are exploiting to imply an analogy between gay “unions” and the valid marriage of a man and a woman. It is hard to see any sincerity in that (however misguided), given the well-known fact that sexual promiscuity is a defining and jealously guarded feature of the gay subculture, even among gays who are in an allegedly stable relationship with someone to whom they are “committed.” These same prelates seem also to overlook the fact that the sexual promiscuity, the mutual violence, and all the other mutually degrading practices typical of the gay subculture, constitute an attack on the transcendence of the human person.

We should therefore not be surprised to find Cardinal Schönborn painting a rosy picture of the mutual help and the mutual sharing of one’s life — in a word, of the mutual “self-giving” — that allegedly characterizes “stable” gay “unions.” He also implies that the “self-giving” taking place therein has a self-sacrificial component, a sharing of joys and sufferings. But he whitewashes the fact that the gay “union,” with all its “positive elements,” exists only because it is rooted in unnatural and unbiblical activity.14 Nevertheless, we can be sure that “pastors” such as him will eventually insist that it would be “unjust” to jeopardize all those “positives” by not allowing that relation to be expressed, since sodomites are “naturally” ordered toward it.15 That would be consistent with episcopal and clerical calls to dispense with the authoritative Catholic teaching that the homosexual orientation is “objectively disordered,” and that the act toward which it tends is “intrinsically disordered” — evil by its very nature.16

In our present, fallen condition, true self-giving always entails personal sacrifice, for we find it difficult to put our own desires (however legitimate) aside for the sake of a good beyond ourselves. That requires self-discipline, death to self. Sacrificial self-giving is therefore a distinctively personal trait. It finds complementary, human forms of expression through masculinity and femininity respectively. True marital life provides a privileged context in which that trait can and should be expressed in a harmonious way, and to a very high degree; however, everyone is obliged to realize it in a way appropriate to his or her state in life. For our disposition to give ourselves to and for others issues from our personal being, and so it belongs to the human vocation as such. Schönborn and like-minded bishops are therefore utterly disingenuous in using language strongly evocative of marriage (such as monogamous, mutual help, sharing of life) in relation to homosexual “unions,” so as to imply that these are somehow analogous to, or on a par with, the marital union in their “self-giving” character.

God established the male-female constitution of marriage specifically so that the couple could form, through their complementary sexuality, an interpersonal and a familial communion of persons united indissolubly in a life-giving love born of mutual self-giving and personal sacrifice. That is why marriage is a perennial sign both of God’s redeeming love for us in Christ, and of God’s inner life as a communion of three, dynamically intra-related divine Persons united consubstantially to form eternally the Love that God is. Gay “unions,” on the other hand, are nothing but debased parodies of these blessed realities — travesties that tempt God to fiery judgment.

In order to be realized, generous, sacrificial self-giving requires that our ontological disposition toward conscious self-possession and self-governance be appropriated by a mature, psycho-moral personality, and directed rationally, through our bodily actions, toward our freely making a personal gift of ourselves to and for another (or others). This gift, whose manner of expression is shaped by our biologically based masculinity or femininity, must be given in a way appropriate to the type of relationship involved — whether that of spouses, of good friends, of parents toward their children, of teachers toward their pupils, of doctors toward their patients, or some other intersubjective relation. The measure of appropriateness is authentic love — a rightly ordered concern for the true good of the other person(s). Expressed concretely in action, therefore, authentic love fulfills God’s commandments perfectly, in the manner God intended.

Instead of seeking to give of themselves to another in a way that is truly good, appropriate, and life-giving, gays seek rather to appropriate the other, in order to seek something for themselves. They do not necessarily and invariably do so, for they are still rational and free. But rather than disciplining themselves so as to gain complete possession of themselves, they surrender to the desire to possess completely what is not theirs, precisely by possessing the person who has it.

In particular, gays have an abnormal, persistent, and dreamy tendency to see, in a person of their own sex, one who can fulfill a need, perhaps as yet ill-defined, that they perceive as lacking in themselves or in their life. This fixation gives way to the experience of a disordered, erotic attraction to that person. The next step is to possess him sexually, as though thus to obtain for themselves that which is uniquely and incommunicably his. By acting in this fundamentally superstitious way, they substitute a false complementarity for the true one, which is grounded in the sexual difference of mature male and female persons.

For a time, the same-sex “couple” might mistake for “true love” the deceptive, short-lived feeling of emotional satisfaction that their radically disordered “relationship” sometimes provides. But it is a false love that can never conduce to their true good, for it has no grounding in the objective structure and exigencies of the human person as a masculine or a feminine soul-body unity, which finds its true complement in a person of the opposite sex. That explains, in part, the futile gay effort to make up the deficit through sexual promiscuity. It also explains the endless gay and gay-friendly efforts to rationalize homosexual “unions.”

And so we have Cardinals Schönborn and Kasper, among others, telling us that such “unions” have “positive,” marriage-like elements that we ought to pay more attention to in our “discernment” of these “concrete situations” — never mind that the elements they allege are either wholly fictional products of the gay propaganda machine (e.g., the “faithful monogamy” of gay “couples”), or simply natural, human traits that take on a particular shape in heterosexual marriage (e.g., self-giving, mutual help), but which gays express in a way that is decidedly inhuman and diabolically opposed to marriage. We also hear that the Church must rethink her approach to sexual morality because an “evolution” of history, culture, society, and even human nature itself has taken place, such that we have now “liberated” ourselves from the artificial “constructs” and constraints of the past. Alternatively, some assert the neo-gnostic “right” to define or to “create” human nature as one sees fit — the “transgender” movement being the logical extension of this. The need to contrive or to appropriate such patently false rationalizations only serves to underscore the fact that homosexually active acts of “love” are not ultimately loving at all. They are massively evil and destructive lies that always require more such lies to justify them.

I stated earlier that in the true marital act, a man and a woman seek freely to express, both symbolically and really, their deepest, mutual desire to give themselves to and to possess each other fully, so as to become “one body.” The spouses do not withhold from each other anything of what belongs to them in the integral truth of their human and personal being. The condition of their attaining such a comprehensive “oneness” is their inherent intellectual, psychological, emotional, affective, relational, and physical complementarity, which allows for a true, personal unity of the two. That is why their act of love-giving is also inherently life-giving, particularly in the procreative sense, but also in other ways. For example, the spouses discover themselves and each other more fully in their unitive act (in part, by making each other a parent), thereby becoming, in a sense, more fully alive. In turn, this deepens their gift of self to, and their receiving of, each other. Their growth in life and love reflects their growth in grace, as their marital life becomes incorporated more deeply into the life and love of God.

The sodomitic act (and all unnatural genital activity), on the other hand, expresses and effects the exact opposite. Its unnatural structure is one that naturally expresses expulsion, and hence rejection. The symbolism of a forced “union,” along with the reality it inculcates, is therefore inherently violent, unloving, and alienating. The very structure of the act (or any other perversion of the sexual act) can never allow for a true giving of oneself to, and receiving of, the other person. Particularly obvious is the fact that the absence of sexual complementarity results in the act’s being inherently (that is, ontologically, not merely accidentally) sterile. The “couple” selfishly agrees to deny each other the proper expression of their fertility, aptly symbolizing how each one has suppressed his own and the other man’s masculine and personal identity. They remain hidden from themselves and each other, for neither one can ever be the true and fitting complement of the other. And so they construct and live a pitiful lie about “who they are,” thus exposing the inherently sterile and impersonal nature of their “relationship.”

Based, as it is, on the force fitting of non-complementary body parts, the same-sex “union” reflects the non-complementary juxtaposition of two egos, each of which uses the other instrumentally to facilitate the essentially self-centered act of autoeroticism. As the very antithesis of a life-giving love, it represents a radical rejection of God’s grace, and hence of God Himself, who is the supreme and unfathomable fullness of Life and Love. All things considered, then, the intrinsically dehumanizing and depersonalizing sin of sodomy is ineluctably directed toward the violation and destruction of bodily and spiritual life in those who commit it.

The sodomitic message of mutual rejection and of self-rejection, in the personal totality of body and soul, is essentially the same when the act of sodomy is carried out by a heterosexual couple. But unlike the latter case, the gay “couple” has no possibility of ever establishing (or reestablishing) a properly complementary basis for forming a real unity of persons, in which personal growth in a life-giving love can be reciprocally fostered. For there is simply no such thing as a gay “union.” The implied basis for this so-called union is nothing more than the violent, unnatural, and depersonalizing abuse of human sexuality and the human body. Sexual union is possible only in the complementary encounter of masculine and feminine gifts; however, even then, it is rightly ordered and redeeming, and so finds its fulfillment, only within the framework of a valid marriage — indissoluble, exclusive, and unconditional.

In view of the foregoing, it is beneath contempt for Cardinals Kasper, Marx, and Schönborn, and for others like them, to encourage us to focus on the so-called commitment, companionship, or worth of homosexual “relationships,” and then to “discern” their situation and their “fidelity” to Christ on that basis. Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for such an aberrant method of “discernment” in conscience — one that justifies rebellion against God, self, and neighbor based on subjectivistic feelings, intentions, and rationalizations. On the contrary, we see from Genesis through Revelation that we are judged by our deeds, by how we conduct ourselves objectively, based on the revealed moral law. Our obedience to that law, in cooperation with divine grace, is the measure of our response to Christ, and hence of our love for God, self, and neighbor. Even some people who do not yet know or accept biblical revelation recognize God’s revealed moral law naturally, and they obey it, in response to God’s gracious, hidden prompting in conscience (see Rm 2:12–16). How, then, will a Catholic be excused for not obeying it, especially in so fundamental a matter?

Our Creator has inscribed, in the body, objective meanings that, even apart from divine revelation, we know both instinctively and, above all, by intelligence, based on the purposes that the body serves. Some of those meanings are distinctively personal and, as such, ordered toward the interpersonal. When we govern the body freely and rationally to speak the personal language for which God created it, we conform ourselves to His will, and so we fulfill ourselves as human persons by cooperating with His creative plan for us.

But right where the body’s divinely given, objective meaning touches on the most fundamental human matters — namely, those of sexual complementarity, human existence, and love — gays presume to try and override it, forcibly and perversely imposing on the body the subjectivistic meaning they want it to have. They thus clash inevitably with both the Creator and themselves, silencing the beautiful language of love and life that God created the body to speak, and using it instead to utter the foul and destructive language of alienation and death. Though they have no power to change the body’s objective meaning, they act as “gods” who would re-create and redefine that meaning as they will. Their flagrant opposition to the language with which God endowed the body is nothing short of an exercise in self-deification. Thus, when gays proclaim, “God made me this way,” they are calling attention to the fact that they, as “gods,” are the ones who have so appallingly disfigured themselves.

Precisely because gay “unions” are the very antithesis of heterosexual marriage, they present a grave threat to it by posing as just another form of marriage, equal or better. But since those “unions” are inherently grounded in the idolatry of self, they are in no way analogous to marriage. For by its very nature, marriage draws the spouses outside of themselves and toward each other, so that each might seek the true good of the other person, of the family, and of all.

That said, there does exist an analogy between gay “unions” and adultery — the religious adultery about which we have already spoken. Whenever a Catholic who persists in any unnatural sexual activity, heterosexual or homosexual, presumes to receive Holy Communion at the urging of a conscience darkened by his idolatrous, sexual self-absorption, he commits the kind of hypocrisy for which the Old Testament prophets denounced Israel, except that the covenant he is violating, and the destructive consequences of his violating it, are far greater than anything Israel had ever known.

It is only too obvious that gay Catholics do not worship and become united with God by receiving Christ in the most Blessed Sacrament. For they have chosen, instead, to worship themselves by the narcissistic pretense of “uniting” with each other. They have rejected God’s creative plan for the body in so flagrant a way — defying both right reason and divine revelation itself — that it can only reflect their rejection of God Himself, as they try futilely to take His place by “re-creating” their nature according to the illusory reality they have willed to fashion for themselves. Having thus broken the original covenant of creation, now subsumed by the New Covenant in Christ, they are deprived of sanctifying grace. The gay Catholic’s false “love” of neighbor translates directly into contempt for Jesus Christ, whom he degrades and rejects in the brother he relates to in a sodomitic way. By clinging so tenaciously both to the cult of self and to the cache of lies on which it feeds, the Catholic sodomite is in no way disposed and attired to feed on the Supper of the Lamb.

Concluding Remarks

As noted earlier, the indissoluble spousal union of Jesus Christ with His Church is ever renewed in us by our faithful reception of Holy Communion, the marriage feast prepared by the Bridegroom for His Bride. The faithful, sacramental marriage of a Christian man and woman is born of that union and shares in its holiness, concretely proclaiming and extending its salvific efficacy in the world. Sacramental marriage is therefore an icon of Christ’s indissoluble, exclusively privileged, and unconditional love for His Church. What is more, the interpersonal communion of life and love formed by a man and a woman in marriage, and which gradually widens to include each new member of their family, is also an icon of the ineffable communion of Life and Love formed by the Persons of the Holy Trinity in their eternal relations with one another.

Given all this, it should not surprise us that when the divinely established institution of marriage in general, and of Christian sacramental marriage in particular, is compromised in any way, it weakens our belief in God’s love for us. In turn, this leads to a weakening of our belief both in God Himself and, for Catholics, in Christ’s mystical, spousal union with us in Holy Communion. For if genuine love, informed by the notes of indissolubility, exclusivity, and unconditionality, is no longer clearly evident in marriage and the family, then neither the personal communion of Life and Love that God is, nor Christ’s love for His Church, ever renewed and tangibly signified in the Eucharistic marriage feast, is clearly evident any longer in its foremost, created symbol in the visible world.

It is no mere coincidence, therefore, that belief among Catholics in the substantial Eucharistic Presence of our divine Lord has declined in tandem with the dramatic increase in the rate of failed Catholic marriages. Conversely, when Catholic belief in the reality and the spousal meaning of our Eucharistic communion with the Lord is compromised, the very structure of marriage itself is jeopardized, both in our understanding and, consequently, in our practice. Again, all of this causes changes in the true, Christian understanding of God, both as He is in Himself, and as He has met us — and continues to meet us — personally in Jesus Christ. The trajectory of that change is toward unbelief.

Left unchecked, the erosion of faith just described will inexorably pick up speed and magnitude. It has received an enormous boost by the rush of so many German bishops (to say nothing of others) to upend the Church’s belief and practice through the radical implementation of AL’s moral subjectivism. This document has provided them with a cover for effectively sanctioning both marital and religious adultery — that is, adultery against one’s human spouse and against the divine Spouse of souls. That is the only credible way of interpreting their zeal to parade divorced and civilly “remarried” Catholics, non-Catholic Christians, and Catholic same-sex “couples” before the Catholic faithful at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Their profanation of marriage and of the Blessed Sacrament at one and the same time, reflecting their adulterous prostration before the idol of secular humanism, is the surest way to adulterate the whole Catholic faith.

One is at a total loss to find anything of the transcendent in this agenda to deform the Church into a spiritually adulterous, amoral, self-worshiping “community” — one that is promoted as being pastorally and ecumenically “sensitive” to everyone’s personal “reality,” whatever it might be. This new “church” would not only welcome practically anyone on his own terms: it would also invite all who desire it to avail themselves of newly “evolving” liturgical and sacramental rites more “relevant” to their contemporary human experience, and hence more suitable for “celebrating” every conceivable moral perversion and religious aberration. This more tolerant, inclusive, and morally nonjudgmental “Christianity” would seem to exclude no one, except Jesus Christ and those who strive, by His grace, to obey Him.

The more immediate goal of the bishops behind this agenda seems to be to dissolve, de facto, the doctrine of marital indissolubility, so that they can eventually institute Catholic divorce and remarriage de jure. After all, our “enlightened,” evolutionary take on human nature, and on contemporary historical, cultural, psychological, social, and other conditions, would seem to demand such a change. But then it would also demand a change in all other areas of morality now considered outmoded, unrealistic, unenlightened, divisive, or as representing an “ideal” attainable by only a few.

Marriage and the Eucharist go to the very heart of the first four Commandments, without which all the others fall like dominoes. To destroy them, therefore, in favor of ersatz sexual relationships and modes of worship more in keeping with the times, is to destroy the very foundation of all morality and true religion. But rather than that clearing the way for a new, “everyone’s included” ecclesial unity, it would completely undermine the whole moral and religious basis of genuine human solidarity, to say nothing of eternal salvation. Once Adam and Eve had compromised their spousal relationship both with God and with each other, the whole moral and religious order unraveled very quickly: scorning divine and parental authority, their son Cain slew his brother Abel.

Whether intentional or not, for any bishop effectively to scorn God’s supreme authority by offering sinners “official,” pastorally packaged invitations to rebel against His manifest will is to participate in the murder of human transcendence and human souls. Such intense spiritual blindness has also led some bishops to the point of commending the sinner for his persisting in grave sin. They tell us that he is acting “responsibly,” or exercising an “adult spirituality,” because, with their “pastoral” encouragement, he has “seriously discerned” in conscience that God’s moral and religious demands don’t apply to him in his “complex” situation.

To the contrary, in perverting practical reason so as to oppose God’s will with a “clean” conscience, the sinner is choosing to act in an immature, self-serving, irresponsible, dehumanizing, and sacrilegious way, thus showing contempt for God, for himself, and for others — his claims to be acting purely “for love’s sake” notwithstanding. That sinners such as this are nevertheless receiving glowing “pastoral” praise for their “deep,” introspective approach to sin is perhaps the surest sign of all that neither the morally or religiously irresponsible parties themselves, nor the ones commending them for their irresponsibility and inviting them to receive the Catholic Eucharist, are well disposed and well clad enough to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb.

  1. I will use the term “gay” throughout this article because it has come to denote someone who has immersed himself in the ways of the sodomitic subculture, which he regards as an expression of his fundamental “identity.” The term “homosexual,” on the other hand, could refer simply to someone who experiences the same-sex orientation. Some such persons recognize its abnormal character and resolve, with God’s help, to live a chaste and morally virtuous life. And they do.
  2. Adding to the heinousness of the crime, which utterly disregards the intrinsic, personal dignity of the victim, is the fact that it usurps God’s prerogative over human life and death.
  3. In that way, the “doctrine” of moral subjectivism displaces the doctrine of Original Sin, and, with it, our realism concerning one of its signal consequences: concupiscence. By deluding ourselves into believing that we always act out of purely good motives, it follows that we must all have been immaculately conceived (thus denying Mary the singularity of her privilege). We are therefore incapable of ever really doing anything evil. But, then, what need have we of a Savior?
  4. See note 1, above.
  5. See Is 54:5–8; 57:7–8; Jer 3:20; 9:2; Ezek 16:8–38; Hos 2:2–13; 3:1; 9:1.
  6. Maike Hickson, “Germany’s bishops approve Communion for Protestant spouses”, LifeSiteNews, February 22, 2018, lifesitenews.com/news/germanys-bishops-approve-communion-for-protestant-spouses.
  7. See Unitatis Redintegratio, no. 3.
  8. The sincere, personal desire of an invincibly ignorant Lutheran for union with Christ in the Catholic Eucharist might gain for him, independently of his actually receiving it, the grace of a spiritual communion with the Lord. But that grace would be no different from what he might have gained by his having the same disposition toward receiving the invalid Lutheran “sacrament.” In either case, his spiritual communion would be ordered toward the true, Catholic Eucharist. But it would be only indirectly a fruit of it, in that God grants His graces solely through the instrumentality of the Church because of her indissoluble union with Christ, the one and only Mediator between God and man (Lumen Gentium, no. 8; Dominus Iesus, nos. 16, 20). The foundation of baptism leads properly to the reception of Holy Communion only when a Christian is united to the Church in the fullness of the faith she proclaims. That includes his accepting her sacramental system, and, therefore, his receiving full, sacramental initiation into her life (see Unitatis Redintegratio, no. 22). Despite the confusion caused by the German bishops in this matter, for which they bear the greater sin, Lutherans in general would surely have some sense of the inherent contradictions that their receiving the Catholic Eucharist poses, and it is always imprudent, hence morally impermissible, for anyone to act in a way that contravenes the reasonable doubts of conscience.
  9. Ibid., 2.
  10. See Gaudium et Spes, no. 76.
  11. Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, “Cardinal Kasper: Homosexual unions are ‘analogous’ to Christian marriage”, LifeSiteNews, March 14, 2018, lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-kasper-homosexual-unions-are-analogous-to-christian-marriage.
  12. Kasper ignores what AL 251 actually says, relying instead on a false interpretation of AL 292 to support his opposing position. In context, however, AL 292 is unequivocally clear: “Some forms of union {meaning homosexual unions, a clear allusion to AL 251} radically contradict this ideal {of Christian marriage between a man and a woman}, while others {fornication and adultery} realize it in at least a partial and analogous way. The Synod Fathers stated that the Church does not disregard the constructive elements in those situations which do not yet {referring to “cohabitation”} or no longer {referring to unlawful marriages} correspond to her teaching on marriage.” Italics added.
  13. See also CCC 2360–65.
  14. Andrew Guernsey, “Cardinal Schönborn: At Synod, Church should embrace ‘positive elements’ of gay unions and other sexual sins”, LifeSiteNews, September 14, 2015, lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-schoenborn-at-synod-church-should-embrace-positive-elements-of-gay.
  15. AL note 329 argues in this vein relative to divorced and “remarried” Catholics.
  16. See CCC 2357–58.
Jeffrey Tranzillo About Jeffrey Tranzillo

Jeffrey Tranzillo earned his doctorate in theology at the Catholic University of America. Several of his essays have appeared in HPR and Crisis Magazine, and he posts others on his own website, trulycatholicmatters.com. He is the author of John Paul II on the Vulnerable, published by CUA Press.

Comments

  1. I was married and divorced from a husband who abused me and my children after a marriage of 20 years. I had left the church for years because of this situation but as I became aware of my need for the church and her sacraments, I returned and was welcomed back. I never remarried because I was not wanting to ever be married again. My ex husband remarried two times and when he was on his death bed m alone , no wife, or anyone but his daughter and myself, his ex. , he said, ” I am sorry,]. ” I knew what he was sorry for, the abuse and the terrible situation he had made and of course I was also guilty of verbal retaliation in those arguments, but that was all he needed to say as tears came down his face and I patted his cheek and said ” I’m sorry too,”He died shortly after but I felt love for him as a sister and not an ex wife. I believe we were both forgiven and that he is in Heaven because we both said we were sorry. I would not have been forgiven if I had not responded to that , If you are a married couple and considering a divorce or abusing your family, think very hard of your meeting with Jesus when the day comes and what you could have done to help one another. Marriage is precious, and you have to sacrifice. People cannot live together and have sexual relations whether married to another or being Gay and having a relationship that is tainted with sin, or not as God made us to be. A family of a man and woman , not a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, It is sinful and when you are ready to meet God, whether you believe it is good or bad, the result will be a surprise to you when you realize your time has come and you will shortly be in the Presence Of the Almighty God. and how do you want to be in that moment? Free from sin as best as you can be or still in that relationship that is contrary to the Law of God ? Sincerely,, Beatrice

  2. Ted Heywood says:

    Beautifully said and done Beatrice. There is no other path to salvation.

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