Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is Same Sex Union "Marriage"? Msgr William B. Smith

When asked if same sex union is “marriage,” Smith answered:

“Same-sex union is not `marriage’ and should not be called such. The present Code of Canon Law correctly defines marriage as a `matrimonial covenant’ by which `a man and woman’ establish a partnership of their whole life which of its nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children (cf. Canon 1055, #1 and also CCC, #2362).

“Obviously, same-sex union has nothing to do with procreation; same-sex human procreation is a physical and human impossibility.

“Similarly, same-sex union is not truly unitive sex `ordered to the well-being of the spouses’ (here partners) because the exercise of sexuality here is not a `gift of self’ to the other but rather and simply masturbatory sex, a gift (if you will) of self to same self. Thus, the use of words here; `love’ (love that is not marital) or `lovers’ is quite misleading and simply not true.

“Same-sex expression – be it oral, anal or manual – is not and cannot be marital love since the complementary unitive dimension of human sexuality is absent. Masturbatory sex is not self-giving. It is, perhaps, self-getting and, in truth, it is self-indulgent lust. Galatians 5, 24 is addressed to all Christians: `How those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passion and desires’ (cum vitiis et concupiscentiis in the Vulgate).

“Now, either St. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has it right or, the whole of Christian tradition has it wrong. Masturbatory sex is not truly unitive nor is it at all procreative and that is what the Catechism teaches about Chastity and Homosexuality (CCC, #2357).

“This fundamental teaching of the Church `is founded upon the inseparable connection, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning’ (Humanae Vitae [1968] n. 12; cf. CCC, #2366).

“This unitive-procreative connection is the very meaning of human sexuality. Every misuse of human sexuality somehow tries, most often artificially, to separate and/or suppress one of these goods allegedly for the sake of the other. Artificial reproduction separates the unitive good for the procreative; whereas, contraception and sterilization chemically suppress or surgically remove the procreative good for the unitive. However, masturbation is neither unitive nor procreative and thus can never be marital. Any love that does not transcend itself is not worthy of the name love.

“To advance legal claims, legal benefits or arrangements to make same-sex unions supposedly stable does not change in nature or reality what this activity is. It is what it is; indeed, it cannot help but be what it is, and surely it is not marital!”[1]

[1] Homiletic & Pastoral Review January 2004, 62.

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