I guess with all the hubbub regarding "Gay Marriage Rights" I should have expected this to come about sooner or later. My oldest, dearest friend challenged me with the question of how I could fall in line with Catholic teaching regarding homosexual marriage. That was tough for me, because I felt that "outing" myself as a traditionalist could cause her to lose respect for me. I was worried she'd think that I had lost my mind a bit due to the religious brainwashing us Catholics are always accused of being victim of.
At that same moment, though, I realized that if I wanted to be a true Catholic, I wasn't going to shy away from the tough issues. So off I went. And I did a horrible job, I'm sure. She asked some very valid questions, and made very valid points... the same ones I made not too long ago.
I should explain. For about 4 or 5 years, I dated a bisexual man on and off. He, at the time, was also a very close friend, and he opened my eyes to a lifestyle I never understood much about. I came to know a great number of wonderful people. They were all very kind, intelligent, and - in my mind - sophisticated. As a result, I couldn't accept Church teaching anymore. It didn't make sense to me. In my mind, God loved everyone, made everyone unique, and love was love was love. Two consenting adults who loved each other shouldn't be barred from marriage just because a religion says so. After all, where Love is, God is, right? So even if the love is between two men, two women, or a man and a woman, it stems from God, right?
It took me MANY years to understand the error of my thinking. It took a great deal of humility and a great deal of soul-searching, and honestly, this realization is probably one of the tougher ones I've had to swallow, especially because I have family and friends who subscribe to the homosexual lifestyle.
My thoughts are this, though: The Catholic Church teaches that the act of homosexual sex is sinful because it does not follow the prescribed order God put in place with the creation of man and woman and it cannot participate in the creation of life. Since I believe that the Catholic Church is guided by the Holy Spirit on matters of faith and morals, I believe that God really did ordain this as fact. Thus, who am I to argue with God? I know I certainly don't have better ideas than He. So the best I can do is say, "Okay, God, I accept what you say as Truth, just please help me understand."
So the Holy Spirit let me dangle for a bit before offering this nugget of understanding through meditation. God DOES create us all as unique individuals, with wonderful strengths, wonderful traits, and wonderful gifts. He also creates us with crosses to bear to strengthen us spiritually for the life to come after we leave this world. Maybe, just maybe, homosexuals are born with this cross to bear. I'm not saying they are defective - because they're not. I believe their cross was given not only for them, but for the rest of us as well. Homosexuals would have to lean heavily on Jesus in prayer to deal with their temptations. We, in return, must rely on Jesus to extend our hands in love, acceptance, understanding and prayer to those we incorrectly view as different or "less" than us. Homosexuals and heterosexuals are not different - we simply have different crosses to bear.
After all, it is my firm belief that God knows exactly what obstacles are needed along the path to steer us towards salvation, right? According to Church teaching, homosexuality can be viewed as another cross to bear along the path to salvation - another bend in the road leading us closer to Christ.
However, all of this is from a theological perspective. From a political perspective, I believe that homosexuals should have the same rights granted under law as heterosexuals. What I don't understand, however, is this desire to call it a marriage. Marriage is a religious word. A sacramental word. I don't understand why the term "marriage" even enters the equation other than to gain some sort of universal validity from the religious communities. It is foolish. For folks who are so anti-religion (claiming religions are archaic, backwards, patriarchal, etc), they are awfully set on usurping religious words to validate their own feelings of inadequacy. No matter how many laws are passed, no matter how progressive the world (and even wayward Catholics) become, no matter HOW pervasive the idea of homosexual marriage becomes, it will simply never be valid in the eyes of God and the Church because when God speaks, He speaks Truth, and when the Church echoes that Truth, it cannot be altered or diminished as we echo with the Voice of the Holy Spirit.
So that, in a nutshell, is my belief regarding homosexuality. Same as bisexuality, transgendered folks, etc. Sexuality is soul deep - so regardless of outwards alterations, ceremonies, etc, the soul knows when it is in conflict with its Creator. Thus, even as this country (and now Brazil) moves into a more full acceptance of homosexual unions as "marriages," I must remove myself from my previous mindset and strive to accept and understand, to the small degree that I can, the Will of God.