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Homosexual Unions are Not Marriages

3/16/2005 - 6:15 AM PST

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By Michael J. Gaynor

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate dictionary defines marriage as "the mutual relation of husband and wife" and "the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family."

Of course, homosexual, lesbian or same-sex unions are not marriages under that definition.

Because marriage requires one man and one woman.

But, Humpty Dumpty told Alice, in Wonderland: "A word means precisely what I want it to mean, neither more nor less."

And many homosexuals and lesbians are demanding that marriage be redefined to include their unions.

They cleverly claim to be arbitrarily excluded.

Even though it is they who are being arbitrary.

And they have found some success with some activist judges (but not with most voters).

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a helpful statement titled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons."

The title itself recognizes "unions between homosexual persons."

But the statement explains that such unions are not marriages, and should not be treated as civil marriages.

These five sentences constitute a succinct summary:

"There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts 'close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved'."

However, the full statement merits careful reading.

Especially by Humpty Dumpties.

Here it is:

1. In recent years, various questions relating to homosexuality have been addressed with some frequency by Pope John Paul II and by the relevant Dicasteries of the Holy See.(1) Homosexuality is a troubling moral and social phenomenon, even in those countries where it does not present significant legal issues. It gives rise to greater concern in those countries that have granted or intend to grant – legal recognition to homosexual unions, which may include the possibility of adopting children. The present Considerations do not contain new doctrinal elements; they seek rather to reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason which could be used by Bishops in preparing more specific interventions, appropriate to the different situations throughout the world, aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element. The present Considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience.(2) Since this question relates to the natural moral law, the arguments that follow are addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.

I. THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE AND ITS INALIENABLE CHARACTERISTICS

2. The Church's teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.(3) No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.

3. The natural truth about marriage was confirmed by the Revelation contained in the biblical accounts of creation, an expression also of the original human wisdom, in which the voice of nature itself is heard. There are three fundamental elements of the Creator's plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.

In the first place, man, the image of God, was created “male and female” (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.

Marriage is instituted by the Creator as a form of life in which a communion of persons is realized involving the use of the sexual faculty. “That is why a man leaves ...

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