Church is wrong about sexuality
Letter to the Editor
On Nov. 2nd I attended the speech given by Francis Cardinal Arinze. I was both heartened and saddened by his words. He spoke quite convincingly on the topic of solidarity with the poor and defended the dignity of the person against the tyranny of the contemporary economic order. Cardinal Arinze made it clear that to be a Christian means helping our brothers to establish decent and worthy lives. This entails fighting against those forces that are antithetical to personal liberty and the stability of our social systems. The global economic order is a primary force for destruction and pain in this world, and therefore our duty is to do what is in our ability to end this unjust system.
I was saddened, however, by his implications regarding homosexuality and birth control. He said that in his collaboration with other religious leaders, he has found much agreement on these matters. He implied that most religions find these to be sinful and accordingly condemns them. One needs only to look at statistics from the United Nations and other reputable sources to find the justification for birth control — a desperately needed measure in many parts of the world, not so much to keep down population, but to stem the spread of disease and reduce the burden on families and societies short of resources needed to sustain new life.
Regarding homosexuality, a letter to the editor appeared in the Observer on Wednesday that echoed what the Cardinal's sentiments were implied to be. John Bergsma wrote, "Why should homosexuality be singled out as the one tendency toward sinful acts which we should celebrate? We don't celebrate our tendencies toward sin. Instead, we struggle against them ... and sometimes getting the help of trained professionals, hope to attain healing and wholeness to reach a state where our desires are for the right things." The suggestion that homosexuality is a tendency toward sin is simply wrong —the Catholic Church is wrong. The implication that people with such "tendencies" need "professional help" suggests that the author believes a gay person can be converted to heterosexuality — the "right thing." This is a position the Church doesn't even support. Both the positions on birth control and homosexuality stem in large part from a belief that sexuality is a reproductive process primarily. The Church acknowledges unity and love as important elements of sexuality, but ultimately the argument against homosexuality relies on the fact that it is not procreative and therefore sinful. The matter is not one of all or nothing. If we believe there are other purposes for sexuality than procreation, we can see the goodness of all loving relationships, and understand the necessity of birth control. In regard to the former, if the ultimate message of Christ is love, then acceptance of all loving relationships is required of Christians, and ANY attacks against these relationships are also an attack on Christ's message.
With these thoughts in mind, every day that I'm at Notre Dame, I feel I am becoming less of a Catholic, but yet a better Christian.
November 4, 1999
All Viewpoint Stories for Thursday, November 18, 1999