Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 16, 2008
The Catholic Church witnesses our culture
We cannot betray Christ's standards
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
In late May, Canada's Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the case of federal employee Susan Comstock who objected to her union dues being used to support dubious liberal causes.
Her union is the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). It collects union dues from 130,000 federal employees and has actively supported things like same-sex marriage, and more recently opposed the Unborn Victims of Crime Act which is presently before Parliament.
The PSAC has zero tolerance policies toward traditional family values which it has dubbed as "heterosexism." Comstock's position was that this sort of advocacy on the part of her union violated her conscience rights as a Roman Catholic and so she sought to divert her dues to charity. The Catholic Civil Rights League supported her.
Place to place to place
Comstock's case dragged on for four years making its way from her employer, the Treasury Board, to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and finally the Federal Court.
In the current cultural climate, it's not surprising that her case was turned down at every stage. The Public Service Alliance of Canada is free to continue with its zero tolerance toward "heterosexism."
What is heterosexism? It's a politically charged and contrived term recently created to cast traditional values in a negative light. A simple Google search gives a number of definitions of "heterosexism" including this one: "The assumption that being heterosexual is the only 'normal' and 'correct' type of lifestyle."
The agenda that invented the term is hostile to those who espouse traditional family values - people like me. By logical extension, it is an agenda also hostile to Catholic teaching that spans the ages regarding homosexuality.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this, among other things, about homosexuality: "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to natural law" (no. 2357).
This may sound harsh to modern ears, but the next section (no. 2358) shows understanding when it says that homosexuals do not choose their condition, and they find it a trial. The Catechism continues: "They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."
The Church recognizes the trials many Christian homosexuals face as they "unite to the Lord's cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition." The homosexual Christian is called to chastity (2359).
The Church embraces the homosexual, not their homosexuality, just as it accepts the adulterer, not their adultery, and the alcoholic, not their alcoholism. These are all sins.
The Church embraces the sinner but never their sin. The good news is that the Catholic Church specializes in forgiveness and reconciliation.
But this will not do for modernists. Twenty-first century thinking demands nothing short of affirmation and celebration of homosexuality, not to mention abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The Catholic Church does not base its teaching on transitory ideas popular in a given age (and there have been many). Its teachings are not subject to public opinion polls: the Church cannot redefine or change what the divinely inspired Holy Scriptures or sacred tradition say.
God is Scripture's author. Scripture was written under divine inspiration. The Scriptures speak the truth and as repository of truth, the Catholic Church bears a great weight of responsibility to be true to the Holy Scriptures, Sacred Tradition and the faith and teachings that Jesus entrusted to it more than 2,000 years ago.
Our Lord defined the standard for marriage in Matthew 19 when a Pharisee asked him about divorce.
Jesus replied, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate."
Christ defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman: They are joined together as one flesh. His language was very strong.
In commenting on this passage, some biblical scholars have asserted that the relationship between a husband and wife is the most permanent in society - even more than the parent-child relationship. After all, a husband and his wife become one flesh, a parent and child never do. The marriage covenant is inviolable.
If the Catholic Church were to acquiesce to the direction society has taken and allow same-sex marriages, it would betray Christ's standard for marriage. It cannot do this.
The Catholic Church must not bend to the culture. Rather it must be a witness to the culture for the sake of all that is sacred.
That is our high calling and Jesus is depending on us.
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