By: Paul Murano – December, 2011
In the October 28th edition of the Boston Pilot, the Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, Daniel Avila wrote a column entitled, “Some fundamental questions on same-sex attraction”. He was highly criticized, and both he and the newspaper apparently bowed to politically correct pressure and issued a public apology.
He wrote that the devil was behind the phenomenon of same-sex attraction. The problem with the apology is that his piece was theologically correct and did not seem to contradict the bible or Church teaching. If there was a flaw it might have needed a little added clarification.
In his apology this sentence, “The Church proclaims the sanctity of marriage as the permanent, faithful, fruitful union of one man and one woman”, was sandwiched around this claim: “..the Catholic Church make(s) it clear that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God and have inviolable dignity…(and it) opposes, as I do too, all unjust discrimination and the violence against persons that unjust discrimination inspires.”
This is, of course, without dispute and goes without saying but is irrelevant to the theme of his column, which was on the primary cause of homosexual attraction. The belief that God loves everyone immeasurably is a given; whether we love Him back is the only question.
Theologically speaking, it is and always has been the teaching of Christianity, stemming from the apostle John, that God is both Reason (logos) and Love (agape). Hence, He could never be primarily responsible for anything in creation that is unreasonable or imperfect, for He cannot contradict His own nature.
To make sexual beings with a sexual reproductive system ordered to the opposite sex only to purposefully give them a disordered sexual attraction to those of the the same sex would be objectively unreasonable. It would make no sense. To claim that God always willed to have some people possess disordered attractions or desires, or that it is natural and good to act upon them, is clearly illogical.
Then why does the phenomenon exist? Science still has not uncovered the secondary causes, but the primary cause must go back to another force, a created force with free will, that would introduce into the perfect order of creation an imbalance, a woundedness, that would taint the original perfection in both human nature and the world.
From this perspective all imperfections, imbalances, and disorders are seen as the result of the fall illustrated in story form in Genesis chapter three. Man as God’s image was meant to be in a relationship of perfect union with God that would last throughout eternity. This perfect union with the Source of life and love would have maintained man’s creaturely perfection and kept us free from concupiscence (internal disorder), suffering, and death.
But that was all changed when the tree of knowledge was chosen over the tree of life.
Human nature was tainted and weakened, and thenceforth everyone comes out of the womb imbalanced in some way or another with various imperfections; some obvious and others propensities.
This original sin, which afflicts everyone differently, is ultimately the cause of all objective disorders including same-sex attraction; and is rooted, as Mr. Avila alluded, in the seduction of the devil.
It is also in Scripture and Church teaching that this same devil and his demons, who were all once beautiful angels before they freely rejected God, still prowl about the world for the ruin souls. And what better way than to work on one’s weaknesses, vices, or disordered propensities – which may come forth from a hormonal imbalance, a trauma as a toddler, an abusive upbringing, or anything else that may afflict a person by sharing the effects of the fall. Denying that same-sex attractions are disordered is as illogical as attributing them directly to God’s positive will. True happiness can never come through the defense mechanism of denial, but only through humility and an openness to the truth.
The good news, for anyone open enough to accept it, is that Christmas reminds us that God came down from heaven to take on our tainted human nature in order to perfect it again. Christ was born in a manger to take on the pain and suffering we have collectively caused ourselves, and to offer the supernatural help it takes to overcome our broken nature so we don’t have to be a slave to it.
He was born in Bethlehem to also establish a Church, to offer grace making it possible to govern the self according to what is true and good, and forgiveness in His name to those who seek it after each fall along the way. Jesus overcame the world, the flesh, and the devil and offers that same power to us.
That is good news worth celebrating this Christmas.
Paul Murano teaches philosophy at North Shore Community College and theology at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen. He is host of Beneath the Surface television show at Burlington Cable Access TV and is co-host of the Paying Attention Radio program. Paul is also chairman of Heartbeat Pregnancy Help center in Burlington and is a singer/songwriter/musician.You can email him at PJDM@aol.com