Now that’s queer.

The last blog ‘Who decides our morals?’ received interesting and constructive comment. We touched on the subject of homosexuality, and John Thomas warned us about possible outcomes:
“Truly-independent studies have shown that the result of many homosexual practices involve disease, pain, suffering and death: are we really “liberal” in believing in an institution (eg. same-sex “marriage”) which promotes such practices, and their results? I doubt it. Maybe the truly “liberal” approach – that which truly frees people – is the one which says “for your own sake, you mustn’t …”

So let’s talk a little more about this since homosexuality has some issues which can help our understanding of Natural Law, as presented by the Church.

Perhaps I should start by saying that I do not question John’s evidence. Rather I welcome it, because it reinforces the nature of homosexuality as a mismatch. That is not a theological conclusion but a factual one: the mismatch is between biology and orientation. And mismatches tend towards problems: try putting a two-pin plug into a three-pin socket and you will see the mismatch straightaway. So we should expect the sort of problem outcomes to which John refers. The Church (CCC 2357) describes homosexual acts as grave depravity, intrinsically disordered, and which can under no circumstances be approved. While ‘disordered’ has the same meaning as ‘mismatched’, it carries more condemnatory overtones.

Clearly we should avoid mismatches as far as practical. But we are told that homosexual orientation is not chosen. It is suggested that it can come through genes, through problems in the womb before birth, or through upbringing. Nor is it curable. Various psychologists, or pseudo psychologists, have claimed that they can ‘cure’ it, but evidence of success is lacking. So we can presume that homosexual orientation in itself involves no moral fault.

But homosexual acts are a different matter. Could there be circumstances in which these might be justified? The answer in Catholic terms is unconditionally ‘no’. The reason is that homosexual acts are judged as intrinsically wrong, so, by definition, they are always sinful. This is an element in Natural Law which holds that God expresses his direct will through the structure he has created. This was understandable up to the 19th century but now we know that, through evolution, the creation of biological structure is indirect. While the outcomes of evolution are generally good since they have supported survival, this is not always so – particularly when conditions change. (A current example is the fertility rate which is about three times too high for modern conditions, and has to be controlled though contraception.)

While we are free to judge homosexual acts as evil, depending on the circumstances, we may no longer claim that they are always evil simply because God was once thought to have proclaimed this through his direct creative act.

It then becomes possible to consider whether two homosexuals who have entered into a committed loving relationship may be behaving virtuously in terms of what is open to them. We might well expect that the mismatch involved could cause problems, although the evidence that this is so in the case of homosexual marriage, is not yet available. I would not call it marriage for semantic reasons, and I would prefer to think of it as a civil partnership, but I should be happy to respect it as a good thing. Would you?

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Bio-ethics, Church and Society, evolution, Moral judgment, Quentin queries and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Now that’s queer.

  1. hadashiblacksky says:

    Hold up. Jesus died and rose to free us from Jewish laws, of which this is one. Second, why is what two adults do with each other evil if they consent? Third, if gay acts are evil, are you proposing a return to the nightmare time, not so long ago, when the merest hint of gayness was a death sentence? I seem to recall that most gay suicides, and conversations to athiesm, are down to shitty people treating them like they are evil by default. Fourth, there are many who believe Jesus actually blessed a gay Roman centurion. If you could cite reputable sources for gayness being more harmful than regular sex, I’d be very grateful.

  2. Horace says:

    I am not quite clear as to what constitutes a ‘gay act’ but if I am right it is a variety of mutual Masturbation
    The church teaches that Masturbation is an evil act and a ‘gay act’ is therefore also evil.

    • Quentin says:

      Heterosexual masturbation is quite common in marriage as a supplement or a substitute for full sexual intercourse: gayness is related only to homosexual acts. The matter is complicated by the female ability to have multiple climaxes.

  3. John Nolan says:

    I’m reminded of a doctor who had to treat diseases resulting from what is euphemistically called ‘gay sex’ (of which AIDS is only one). He said ‘What do you expect if you treat the main sewer of the human body as a playground?’

    A few years ago there was a case in Germany where a man killed and ate his boyfriend – the victim apparently consented. Adultery is between consenting adults, but is nonetheless immoral.

    ‘Jesus died and rose to free us from Jewish laws’. He did nothing of the sort.

    The last executions for sodomy in England were in November 1835. Quite possibly a miscarriage of justice, but they were not hanged for ‘the merest hint of gayness’.

    There is no evidence that the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8 was his catamite; although Roman attitudes to sodomy were more relaxed than Jewish ones, the idea of ‘gayness’ in the modern sense was repugnant to them. An adult Roman would not allow himself to be sodomized; such behaviour was associated with the ‘filthy Greeks’.

    Quentin is right in acknowledging that human sexuality is not as clear-cut as many of us would like to think. The composer Francis Poulenc was homosexual yet a devout Catholic; Oscar Wilde converted towards the end of his life; Siegfried Sassoon also became a Catholic.

    I think it was Wilde who said the Catholic Church was for saints or sinners – for respectable people the Church of England would suffice.

    • Quentin says:

      A little irony here. Oscar Wilde was prosecuted under the Labouchere Amendment. ‘Labby’ was my great great uncle. His ‘Spy’ portrait is in the downstairs loo.

      • hadashiblacksky says:

        “I’m reminded of a doctor who had to treat diseases resulting from what is euphemistically called ‘gay sex’ (of which AIDS is only one).”

        Straight sex is just as germy. You are still up in an unwashed orifice that could be crawling with clap and all kinds of nasty stuff.

        “A few years ago there was a case in Germany where a man killed and ate his boyfriend – the victim apparently consented.”

        I’ve only ever heard of straight people doing that. Thanks for implying we are all cannibals. I’d have thought Catholics, at least, would understand why group blaming is wrong.

        “The last executions for sodomy in England were in November 1835.”

        I never mentioned executions at all. But thanks for reminding me about the gays getting dropped off rooftops in the middle east because people think we’re evil. No. I was talking about what happens when a bunch of cops or public get it into their head that they gotta go ‘teach those fags a lesson’. I suggest you google “Gay beaten to death news” because one of the victims was just six. It wasn’t that long ago that being outed could ruin your entire life.

        “There is no evidence that the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8 was his catamite”

        I’d argue, but what’s the point? You think we are evil cannibals who don’t still, to this day, get our heads kicked in for being abnormal.

  4. John Thomas says:

    Goodness! Just imagine opening a blog and finding one’s own name staring at one! Well, that’s what SECOND SIGHT has done for one (me). I fancy I tried, in my comment, to draw a distinction (well, I always do, when discussing this subject) between the romantic, sanitised version of homosexuality, and the reality. “committed loving relationship “, sure, but does that mean exclusive? I think I have even seen the words of a bishop (Anglican, I should say, one of ours) telling us that homosexuals are not able, by the very nature of the attraction, to be exclusive/faithful. Loving one another, sure – but it that enough/everything? Source of homosexuality: Peter Tatchell himself has said that the reasons for a person becoming gay are several and complex. Sinful – yes – but what, exactly? Anal intercourse? It might be that a man and woman, who married in a church, practise anal intercourse. Is that sinful? I have often wondered about that, and have come to no conclusion. Does the Catholic Church have an official position on that one? – I’d be interested to know it. But to us, what matters (all that matters) is what God thinks – in the Anglican church there is Changing Attitude, a pro-gay lobby group which attempts to change peoples’ (hierarchy’s) attitude – but only one attitude matters a jot, and I don’t see any lobbying group affecting God very much. ‘Cures’ – “no evidence of success” – many (Christians, AND some non-Christians) would disagree with you, Quentin – would this “evidence” be that which comes from studies commissioned by governments, or published by the mainstream-media? – could such people be objective, or unbiased (against orthodox Christianity)? – I doubt it.
    I did appreciate your article, as always.

    • Alan says:

      I can see that what God thinks about this would be important. Is why he thinks it also important?

      • tim says:

        Yes, if we can work it out. But our speculations on why may be just that, and so capable of leading us astray.

      • hadashiblacksky says:

        ” I should say, one of ours) telling us that homosexuals are not able, by the very nature of the attraction, to be exclusive/faithful. Loving one another, sure”

        I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years. That’s more than most straight couples. The bishop maybe right that gays are promiscuous, but so are straight people. Would be nice if he didn’t label us all like a phrenologist.

        ” It might be that a man and woman, who married in a church, practise anal intercourse. Is that sinful?”

        Thank you for saying that.

  5. galerimo says:

    “Would I not call it marriage for semantic reasons?” I disagree with that because meaning goes a lot deeper here than semantics.

    “I would prefer to think of it as a civil partnership?” I disagree with that as it would have to be a properly established promulgated law guaranteeing rights to both parties and not just how I would think of it.

    “but I should be happy to respect it as a good thing” – and that’s too vague a thing for me to respect.

    Thanks for the question on same sex marriage Quentin and I,for one do not agree with it.

    Didn’t we try to stop whites from marrying blacks and catholics from marrying protestants at one stage?

    Aren’t we a bit more enlightened around that now? so why not gay people marry in church too?

    As a social contract can’t we evolve in our social behaviour as we have done with slavery and women’s rights to renegotiate the contractual terms and conditions of marriage?

    The whole population is being surveyed on their opinions on this question and we are encouraged to have our Yes or No (to Gay marriage) in by October 27th.

    I do value your thoughts here.

    • Quentin says:

      Galerimo, let me clarify what I meant by semantics. Marriage, in our traditional understanding, is the formalised unit of procreation. Thus to apply it to a homosexual relationship is simply a misnomer. A civil partnership, homosexual or heterosexual, is now an alternative which gives civil protection and tax advantages to both partners. A sexual content is inferred because siblings are excluded as they are for traditional marriage. This of course is an injustice, but it is the law.

      • galerimo says:

        Thanks Quentin. That puts it in a different light. I would still consider calling a homosexual union a marriage to be more than just a misnomer. I have no problem with the civil partnerships as you describe them.

      • John Candido says:

        I do not agree with giving same-sex partners civil partnerships instead of the radical equality afforded to traditional marriage partners of the opposite sex. Nothing but legal equality with heteronormative marriage will suffice. Legally defined marriages for all homosexual couples has been the sought-after goal. Much like the rest of the world, once these changes occur, the sky will not fall down on all of us and no minister of religion will be forced to marry any homosexual couple.

        SSM is currently legal in 24 countries and will most likely be legalised in Taiwan, South American countries, Australia and most of Europe. Much like the sun never failing to shine on countries that were members of the British Empire around the globe, SSM will similarly be legalised around the world in a similar fashion.

        ‘As of 1 October 2017, same-sex marriage is legally recognized (nationwide or in some parts) in the following countries: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.’ (Wikipedia, Same-sex marriage)

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage

      • hadashiblacksky says:

        I think most of us would be quite happy with just a formal blessing as long as it had the trappings of marrage.

  6. John Candido says:

    I agree with all of galorimo’s points. We have had a voluntary plebiscite on the question of same-sex marriage (SSM) in Australia, the final result of which will be announced on the 15th November 2017.

    I have no hesitation in stating that I voted ‘Yes’ for SSM, which is something that should have been done decades ago. I have always supported equality between heteronormative and homosexual couples, the right of homosexual couples to adopt children, and that they not be discriminated against in any context, to be realised in society. There isn’t any chance that I would vote ‘No’ in the plebiscite.

    Whether the Liberal coalition government will actually do anything at all assuming that the ‘Yes’ vote is upheld by a majority remains to be seen, as they are hopelessly divided on the question of SSM.

    ‘Could there be circumstances in which these (homosexual acts) might be justified? The answer in Catholic terms is unconditionally ‘no’. The reason is that homosexual acts are judged as intrinsically wrong, so, by definition, they are always sinful.’ (Quentin)

    ‘Aboard the papal plane returning from a trip to Brazil in July 2013, he offered a description of his attitude toward homosexuals:

    “Who am I to judge?”

    It became the most-quoted line uttered by any public figure in 2013.’

    From Allen, John L.. ‘Against the Tide: The Radical Leadership of Pope Francis’, (p. 8). Liguori Publications. Kindle Edition.

    During a trip to Florence, Pope Francis speaks to a conference of Italian bishops and says he wants to see a Catholic church that is humble and poor, rather than obsessed with power and money. Telling the audience that ‘evangelical poverty’ is creative and welcoming, the pope warns against the ‘unhealthiness’ of clinging to the status quo.’

    Admittedly, whether this quote has anything to do with the teaching of the Catholic church on homosexuality is questionable. I have quoted him because ‘evangelical poverty’ is a major theme running through his pontificate as well as his seminal Apostolic Exhortation, ‘Evangilii Gaudium’, promulgated 24th November 2013.

    ‘I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and which then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.’

    From Chapter One, ‘The Church’s Missionary Transformation’ in Section V, ‘A Mother with an Open Heart’, and in paragraph 49.

    • galerimo says:

      Thanks John – I am very conflicted about the matter.

      Having a postal survey in the first place is a complete dereliction of duty by the lesigislature – they are elected to make the laws. On the other hand I am grateful to be able to exercise my own choice too. Difficult though it is.

      The terrible history of persecution and the rate of suicide among gay people is not acceptable to me but I see no reason why a genuine Civil Partnership (not like the travesty that some arrangements have turned out to be) cannot accommodate the desire for equality before the law and in the eyes of the community.

      Even with a belief that God recognises the permanency of a bond in matrimony between a man and a woman – civil law recognising same sex marriage in no way diminishes my own marriage or the continuation of Christian marriage as it stands.

      It is because that I believe that the permanent union between a man and a woman who are not siblings is still, as the traditional definition of marriage, the best model we know of and despite its fractures, flaws and deficiencies, it is still the best model we have to hand on to future generations of adults and children are concerned.

      For that reason I have voted “No” in the SSM postal survey.

      I hate that it makes me the only one in my family to do so and that it puts me among some of the most obnoxious hardline extremists.

  7. John Nolan says:

    The Church’s opposition to same-sex civil partnerships was made clear back in March 2003. Since it is rooted in Scripture and unbroken tradition, it is difficult to see how it could be modified or set aside. In particular, adoption of children by same-sex couples is seen as ‘gravely immoral’. This put Catholic adoption agencies on a collision course with the State.

    It’s easy to say ‘let’s accept civil partnerships but draw the line at same-sex marriage’, or ‘adoption agencies do such good work that it would be a pity to close them on a point of principle’. This satisfies pragmatic concerns, for the time being at least, but are there not problems in jettisoning Catholic moral doctrine in order to conform to societal norms, especially if these ‘norms’ are of very recent origin?

    Was it reasonable (even were it possible) to expect the Church to ‘go soft’ on homosexual practices
    at the very time when she was confronted with evidence of clerical sexual abuse, which was, in the vast majority of cases, homosexual in nature?

  8. John Candido says:

    JN.

    I am sorry but you are wrong to say that the church was,

    ‘…confronted with evidence of clerical sexual abuse, which was, in the vast majority of cases, homosexual in nature?’

    Homosexuality can never be equated with paedophilia, period!

    This is because homosexuality is no longer classified as a psychiatric illness but paedophilia is classified as a psychiatric illness defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

    Homosexuality is homosexuality and paedophilia is paedophilia. The two never overlap.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedophilia#Definitions

    • hadashiblacksky says:

      Thank you for saying that.

    • John Thomas says:

      Paedophilia, etc. by RC priests: apparently in the US it is shown by the stats that the vast majority of sexual abuses to minors are by sports coaches or teachers. We never hear about these people being hounded by the media, etc. – they’re not RC priests. Nobody, in my view, really cares about coaches, teachers OR their victims – bashing the Catholic church is really what they want to achieve. Also in the US, apparently, there are more of such crimes committed by married clergy of non-RC churches, so marriage of clergy is NOT the “answer” (as I’m not a Catholic myself, it cannot be said that I have a motive to exonnerate the Catholic church; our lot, CofE, have had married clergy since the beginning, as I’m sure you know).
      I don’t think anyone answered my query [above] about married folk doing anal intercourse, and its possible-sinful nature.

      • Alan says:

        Perhaps, rather than any conspiracy to bash the church, the reason that teachers and coaches don’t get the same attention is because they aren’t presenting themselves as having any particular insight into or direct line to moral standards. We might expect a group that makes such claims to be better than others, not close behind the very worst.

        Another factor might be degree to which efforts were made by others to cover up such crimes or protect the perpetrators. Did that happen to the same extent (relative to the number of cases) amongst these other professions?

    • ignatius says:

      JC
      I am impressed by your certainty but read this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1556756
      Its actually an extremely complex subject views on which shift all the time.

  9. John Nolan says:

    Sorry, JC, it is you who are wrong. Paedoplilia erotica was first identified in 1886 by the Austrian psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his seminal work Psychopathia Sexualis. It describes a sexual orientation towards pre-pubescent children. At that time all deviant sexual orientations (including homosexuality) were seen as a mental illness. Homosexual orientation is no longer seen as such and by the same token paedophilia is also increasingly regarded as a sexual orientation.

    If you read the John Jay report, you will see that over three-quarters of the allegations against clerics concerned behaviour with adolescent boys and young men. This is not paedophilia however you might want to stretch the term to include it. (The ‘gay’ lobby has a vested interest in doing so.)

    Like it or not, it has been a feature of homosexual culture since classical times. This is not to say that all homosexuals prefer boys and young men but it can be safely said that no heterosexuals do, although the latter may have a predilection for adolescent girls. Again, such an attraction is not paedophilia.

    Oscar Wilde, who was married to a beautiful woman and who fathered two sons, preferred to get his sexual gratification from young men. His affair with Robbie Ross began when the latter was only 17, and he also made use of the services of ‘rent boys’. Whatever we may think of such conduct, it is hardly ‘paedophilia’.

    So neither I, nor anyone else, is equating homosexuality with paedophilia.

    • John Candido says:

      JN.

      I now see where you are coming from and acknowledge that you did not mean to say that homosexuals are paedophiles. My apologies for this.

      Referring to the John Jay study, you say,

      ‘This is not paedophilia however you might want to stretch the term to include it. (The ‘gay’ lobby has a vested interest in doing so.)’ (John Nolan)

      I don’t want to ‘stretch’ or play with the definition of paedophilia or homosexuality regardless of who may benefit by this, simply because it is not a competency of mine. The definition of what constitutes paedophilia and the definition of what constitutes homosexuality is not up to me, but those qualified to make these sorts of judgements. Namely, a global community thousands of psychiatrists involved in researching and treating people who have psychiatric conditions.

      There was a brief period in the late 1950s to the late 1990s when several independent groups of paedophiles in Europe wanted to lower the age of consent and wanted to legalise child pornography. Hardly anyone in society supported them and have retreated all of their demands. Most of these organisations have folded as a consequence of society’s reaction to their demands.

  10. John Nolan says:

    Erratum. Krafft-Ebing first used the term paedophilia in 1896, so it only appeared in later editions of his book.

  11. Nektarios says:

    I am disconcerted, as we have delved into this subject so many times on the SS blog and noted the rise and radicalisation and politicised approaches to this issue. I also note now there are places classed as gay churches.
    As Christians what are we supposed to learn from all this investigations and opinions? To create and accept homosexuality is just normal as heterosexual relationships – a man and a woman. I think not. Homosexuality has been around for long enough, there is nothing new in it.
    Classifications of it, may change how the world looks at or accepts it, but God’s view on the issue does not change.
    The warnings in Romans 1: 18-32 are clear what God thinks on the subject and he warns the Church( The true Children of God) so we can be in no doubt about what will happen at the judgement.
    We can ignore God’s judgement on this matter at our peril. And, I would remind us that this is Holy Scripture and this and other Epistles were and are given for the Church alone, not for the world at large who are until born again, are lost.

    Lastly, no amount of government legislation, public opinion will alter what God has by the Holy Spirit communicated to us in Scriptures. He tells us that such things should not even be mentioned among us who are the Church. Obviously, we have not listened to God, but to man, and their self -styled experts. But judgement is coming.

  12. John Nolan says:

    John Thomas

    In answer to your question concerning marital anal intercourse, it was illegal long after it was legalized for consenting males in 1967. But for obvious reasons there were few if any prosecutions. Until recently, rape within marriage did not constitute a criminal offence, but a wife who had been buggered by her husband against her will did have recourse to law.

    Anal intercourse would indeed be regarded as sinful by the Church even in a marital situation. But by the same logic so would any act if it did not result in normal sexual intercourse – oral sex, mutual masturbation and so on. It seems to me that anal penetration would be a graver matter as it constitutes sodomy (quite apart from the health risks) but that is only my opinion.

    When it comes to sex, the Church is inclined to split hairs. There are nine other commandments apart from the sixth. My own transgressions with regard to the sixth
    commandment I can admit to (without going into details) and would not attempt to justify them, although I might attempt to mitigate them.

    But there is little excuse for other sins, in particular lack of charity for which I have to utter ‘mea culpa’.

    By the way, in the Catholic numbering of the Decalogue, the sixth commandment is ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’.

    • John Thomas says:

      Thanks for this, John. I’ll have anothrer look in my Catechism of the Catholic Church (the only book I have on the Church’s position on things). I did know that such acts were illegal under state law. As you say, the important thing is that we, Christians, acknowledge any form of infidelity/non-exclusivity as being sinful (whether or not we regard promiscuity as ‘natural’), know that we should’t do it (or try to justify it) and – hopefully – attempt NOT to do it. Notice I said that the “natural” may not be that which is right (“nature is what we were put in this world to rise above”).

  13. John Nolan says:

    Hadashiblacksky

    I don’t know you you are, but if you are indeed gay, as you say you are, you do not do your cause (such as it is) any favours by imputing to me (who posts under my own name) opinions which I do not hold and which cannot be inferred by any reasonable person from anything I have written.

    Grow up or shut up.

  14. ignatius says:

    Children, children…! One thing on the question of semantics: ‘Evil’ is not a term to be bandied about in these general discussions. Could we please not use the term ‘evil’ when referring to masturbation or homosexual acts? The catechism deliberately refrains from using these terms and so should we.

    • John Nolan says:

      John Candido

      There is a reason for still classifying paedophilia as a ‘psychiatric illness’, and it is this. Acting out this particular orientation causes great harm to children. Therefore if paedophiles are given therapy it might prevent them from offending. Homosexuals would not (in most countries nowadays) be given therapy since their actions are not deemed as harmful.

      However, most psychiatrists would probably agree that there is no ‘cure’ for paedophilia. In this sense they are at one with the Church which separates the intrinsic disorder (not sinful) from the act (sinful).

      The reason why homosexuality cannot be equated with paedophilia is evidential. There is no evidence that homosexuals (male or female) are any more likely to be attracted to pre-pubescent children than are heterosexuals; and since heterosexuals are by far in the majority, it is true to say that most paedophiles are heterosexual.

      • ignatius says:

        It might be worth adding that most of the ones I meet are well aware that their behaviour is of an offending nature and needs addressing even though they themselves may feel powerless to address it.

  15. hadashiblacksky says:

    You know what. I think I’ll just leave this here:

  16. Alan says:

    The health risks to consenting participants as an indicator of what might be a natural “mismatch” seems a curious indicator. If that rule were applied more generally I think the results wouldn’t be very consistent or welcome. “For your own sake, you mustn’t …” could be applied to quite a few activities. Many of which barely give us any pause even where there may be a small indirect cost to ourselves. We can justify these other risks?

    • John Nolan says:

      Alan, I don’t think that ‘mismatch’ is necessarily predicated on sexual health issues. It should be obvious that the vagina is designed for sexual intercourse. The anus is not so designed; apart from anything else it is vascular (thus easily allowing rupture of blood vessels) and harbours pathogens which simply do not occur in the vagina. Also, the vagina is part of a natural procreative physiognomy – the anus is simply the last point of waste excretion.

      The vagina, I understand, is antiseptic to the point of being spermicidal. I am not a medical man, and would welcome correction from those who are better informed than I.

      By the way, in traditional Catholic catechesis, sodomy is one of the four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance, along with wilful murder, oppression of the poor, and defrauding a labourer of his wages. This was not an arbitrary choice; it is grounded in Scripture. Of course one is free to dissent from all of this, or from all Catholic teaching, and most people do. There does come a point where dissent cannot be reconciled with adherence to the Church.

      For example, I find John Candido’s posts interesting on a number of levels; yet there seems to be no doctrine of the Church which he accepts.

  17. ignatius says:

    We do seem to have been diverted into anatomical detail here rather. In answer to the question, yes I would happily respect civil partnership as a good thing.

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