It is Divine Law – Homosexuality is Never Acceptable
Tuesday June 28, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Genesis 19:15-29) Gospel (St. Matthew 8:23-27)
In the Gospel reading today, the apostles are amazed that even the winds and the sea obey Our Lord. We have to remember always that He is God and He is all-powerful and He has authority over everything. So as we look around at the things going on in the world today, we realize that none of this is happening without God tolerating it, without Him allowing it. And He is allowing it as a test for each and every one of us to see if we are going to remain faithful.
We see the grace and mercy of God, for instance, in the first reading when we hear about how He removed Lot from the city of Sodom before He destroyed it, and how when Lot tried to play the American problem and be as lazy as he possibly could – “No, no, I can’t go that far” – the Lord even pulled him right out of the city and then allowed him to go to a small town that would have been overthrown, but was determined to save his life because he was innocent. And so we see that even if we are willing to make a minimal effort to do what is right, God is going to take care of the rest. That does not excuse us by saying it is okay to do the absolute minimum, but rather what we see is that if we are willing to at least take the first step, God is going to then provide the grace so that we can take the next step. It is the way the spiritual life begins. All we have to do is get started and the Lord will take care of helping us to move along. Then we can keep taking one step after the next step after the next.
At the same time in the readings today, we see another situation. As Sodom and Gomorrah are being overthrown for the homosexuality that was going on in those towns, we look around and see that the same thing is happening today. And we see the exact same attitude among people today: “It’s okay. It’s not a problem. They were born that way. How can I judge?” These are not from God. Number one, we have to realize that if somebody is acting on something that is completely contrary to nature, it is a mortal sin and it is from Satan. God created us male and female, and he placed within our hearts an attraction to persons of opposite sex. Now the Church is very clear that a homosexual orientation is not a sin. It is disordered, but it is not a sin. To act upon it, however, as it would be for anyone outside of marriage to act on anything sexually, is a mortal sin.
So for us to be able to sit back and think that it is not so bad or that we have to accept this is playing right into Satan’s hand. It is not acceptable in any way, shape, or form. And the fact that in some places, at least, people would suggest that the majority of people are in favor of these sorts of things does not mean anything. Morality is not based on an opinion poll. It does not matter if everyone except one person agrees. If that one person is God, Who does not agree with it, then God is right. The prescriptions against homosexuality are Divine Law. This is not even a Church law. This is not something that the Church can change if She wanted to, or if enough people thought they were homosexuals and therefore we need to think about changing this. It is Divine Law. It is God’s Law and it cannot change ever, under any circumstances. We need to be very clear about that.
As Christian people, we need to make sure that we always treat others with charity and respect. However, we also need to make sure we are clear that if someone is doing something which is objectively wrong that we recognize that and we acknowledge it. It is not being judgmental of the person to say that the action is wrong. We do not know what is going on in their heart and in their mind, but this is what they are doing. We cannot make a judgment on the person, but we can and we must make a judgment on the action. The actions are wrong. They are mortal sins. There is no justification ever for acting in a way that is mortally sinful, and in this particular case, contrary to nature. We must be very clear and not fall into the prevailing thought that making any kind of judgment is therefore wrong because we cannot judge. That is wrong and we need to make a distinction. We must judge actions. We cannot judge persons. That is where the difference comes. And when we are talking about the action of homosexual sin, it is a flagrant violation of the law of Almighty God and never under any circumstances is it acceptable. We must be very, very clear about that.
So we must love the sinner but hate the sin. That is the proper response we have to have. That is not always easy for us to be able to do, but that is what we have to be about. We have to extend the mercy of God. We have to pray for people’s conversion. We have to treat them with charity and dignity. But in all cases we must always acknowledge that a sin is a sin, and it is never under any circumstances acceptable.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.