At that time, about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews wondered, saying: “How doth this man know letters, having never learned?” Jesus answered them and said: “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do the will of him, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, he is true and there is no injustice in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why seek you to kill me?” The multitude answered and said: “Thou hast a devil. Who seeketh to kill thee?” Jesus answered and said to them: “One work I have done: and you all wonder. Therefore, Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers): and on the sabbath day you circumcise a man. If a man receive circumcision on the sabbath day, that the law of Moses may not be broken: are you angry at me, because I have healed the whole man on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance: but judge just judgment.” Some therefore of Jerusalem said: “Is not this he whom they seek to kill? And behold, he speaketh openly: and they say nothing to him. Have the rulers known for a truth that this is the Christ? But we know this man, whence he is: but when the Christ cometh, no man knoweth, whence he is.”
Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying: “You both know me, and you know whence I am. And I am not come of myself: but he that sent me is true, whom you know not. I know him, because I am from him: and he hath sent me.” They sought therefore to apprehend him: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. But of the people many believed in him. John 7:14-31
This week, the Roman church came out with a statement regarding the blessing of same-sex unions. That statement, found here, says in part:
Blessings belong to the category of the sacramentals, whereby the Church “calls us to praise God, encourages us to implore his protection, and exhorts us to seek his mercy by our holiness of life”. In addition, they “have been established as a kind of imitation of the sacraments, blessings are signs above all of spiritual effects that are achieved through the Church’s intercession”.
Consequently, in order to conform with the nature of sacramentals, when a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord. Therefore, only those realities which are in themselves ordered to serve those ends are congruent with the essence of the blessing imparted by the Church.
For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.
Furthermore, since blessings on persons are in relationship with the sacraments, the blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit. This is because they would constitute a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing invoked on the man and woman united in the sacrament of Matrimony, while in fact “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”.
The declaration of the unlawfulness of blessings of unions between persons of the same sex is not therefore, and is not intended to be, a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them.
The Christian community and its Pastors are called to welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations, and will know how to find the most appropriate ways, consistent with Church teaching, to proclaim to them the Gospel in its fullness. At the same time, they should recognize the genuine nearness of the Church – which prays for them, accompanies them and shares their journey of Christian faith – and receive the teachings with sincere openness.
I don’t know how to respond to this.
At first, I was frustrated. I posted on Facebook this morning, how is this view held by the Roman Church any different than that of the backwoods pastor who shall remain nameless, and who’s sermons are basically of the same ilk as this statement if not a little more american bible belt?
At the root of the Roman church’s teaching is the idea of the “homosexual person” maintaining disinterested friendships.
Have any of you reading this had a disinterested friendship? How was that for you?
By the time I got to writing this reflection, I realized that it doesn’t matter in one sense. I’m not *of* the Roman Church. While my rites and rituals are of the Roman Church at the time of the Council of Trent, the doctrine that I know is one that emphasizes the health of diversity in God’s plan.
But the problem here isn’t that the Roman Church doesn’t condone same sex unions. The problem is this:
The Disinterested Relationship with the Eucharist, with Jesus Christ. If you don’t have an interested relationship with God, how can you know love except in a way that comes from a place of disinterest?
Have you ever loved someone who was disinterested? Did you ever know someone who loved you, but you were disinterested?
I don’t believe it’s possible for God to be disinterested. I don’t believe that loving relationships that ask for the sacrament of marriage are outside of God’s plan. I’m not one hundred percent convinced that Pope Francis endorsed this document easily. I believe that the Vatican is political, acts politically.
And I also believe that if you, reading this, look into your heart right now? You will recognize the doctrine of Love to be one that cannot fully be understood by human beings because it encompasses a Love that is infinite.