Same-Sex Attraction A Parents' Guide.
Edited by John F. Harvey, OSFS, and Gerard V. Bradley Published by Saint Augustine's Press. South Bend, Indiana, 2003, ISBN: 1-58731-751-6 Hardcover, pp. 270, $36.95 CND
In the view of many people, the debate over same-sex "marriage" is finished. Canadian political columnists like Jeffrey Simpson of the Toronto Globe have claimed that protests and polemics against it will have no effect; when the courts speak, the argument ends. Courts in eight provincial and territorial jurisdictions in Canada have ruled that these "marriages" must be allowed to go on. So there is no dispute, it seems, over their legality. The Catholic Prime Minister is in favour of these "marriages" and has permitted his Minister of Justice to forge ahead and present appropriate legislation early in 2005.
For the United States, Vermont recently became the first American jurisdiction to legally recognize such "marriages," calling them civil unions. In his chapter in this book, "Same-Sex Marriage: Our Final Answer?" Gerard Bradley, a law professor at Notre Dame, Indiana, points out that the legal judgments of one state must be given recognition in all other states according to the U.S. Constitution. So there is a possibility that states which frown on such unions will still have to regard people as "married" if they are from other states that do consider them legally bound together.
The matter has been further complicated by the recent decision of a Massachusetts tribunal to recognize these marriages. In order to stop their spread, President Bush would like to see a constitutional amendment specifying the traditional view of marriage; it is questionable, however, that he can muster enough votes to get it through Congress.
Bradley quotes the view of Homer Clark, in the 1988 edition of his treatise on The Law of Domestic Relations, that marriage is being transformed from a clearly defined relationship to something either uncertain or left largely to the control of the parties. The uncertainty and privatization of marriage, he said, emerged suddenly, and without any general consideration by courts or legislatures of the consequences for the institution of marriage. He was writing only a few short years after a time when it would have been inconceivable to take seriously the validity of same-sex marriage. It was not until 1978 or later that the idea was even imaginable.
From a Catholic point of view, as Oxford philosopher John Finnis points out, it is still unthinkable. His chapter, entitled "An Intrinsically Disordered Inclination," rejects it out of hand. The Church, he says, refuses to consider a person as heterosexual or homosexual; it insists that every person has a fundamental identity as the creature of God, and a sexual identity, either male or female. Each male should accept his sexual identity as a man, and each female hers as a woman. That means accepting that one is different from but complementary to, and equal in dignity with, persons of the opposite sex. Even the most deep-seated homosexual tendency must be called disordered, because it is an inclination toward an intrinsic moral evil. It is not a sin, for a sin is committed only by a choice. But homosexual acts are always "intrinsically disordered," and the inclination is also "intrinsically disordered".
In his profound teaching on human sexual identity (Matt. 19:4), Finnis continues, Jesus shows that the marital communion of man and woman was established "from the beginning", requiring the overcoming of any desire for sexual activity or enjoyment outside of marriage.
The whole Christian teaching on sex, Finnis writes, does nothing more, and no less, than point that every kind of sex act other than authentic marital intercourse is opposed to the good of marriage. The more distant a sex act is from marriage, the more immoral it is.
There are other excellent chapters in this useful book. Jeffrey Satinover says that a biological theory of homosexuality has arisen again, with solid evidence against it. Joseph Nicolosi describes "gay" as a self-deceptive identity, brilliantly marketed by a small number of people consciously pursuing an agenda. Kevin Miller examined the letter by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the pastoral care of homosexual persons, and concludes that the scriptural passages cited by the CDF show that homosexual acts violate Christian charity.
An excellent parents' guide to difficult situations.
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|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2005|
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