Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(I Corinthians 6:1-11; Luke 6:12-19)
A recent article on the editorial page of The New York Times criticized the Church for its sexual morality. The author reacted to the suspicion of homosexual activity among priests and bishops raised by the former Apostolic Delegate to the United States. More to the point, the author said that the Church has failed “to come to grips with sex.” Especially problematic for him was St. Paul’s condemnation of homosexual activity, an instance of which is found in today’s first reading.
Paul does not make distinctions when he declares that “sodomites,” like other kinds of blatant sinners, will not inherit the kingdom of God. By using that term he might well have in mind promiscuous men who seek to victimize others. Perhaps he would not as hastily doomed men in a committed relationships. However, the issue here is the purpose of sexual activity. The Church has always maintained that genital sex is ordered to have children. In more recent times the Church has emphasized another purpose which is to assist a married couple grow in mutual love. Procreative, love-nurturing sexual activity is not an ideal for the holiest couples. It is a reality in millions of marriages throughout history and today.
Advocates of the Sexual Revolution have proclaimed that sexual activity outside marriage can be good. With the wreckage of poverty, emotional distress, to say nothing of abortions, that has resulted from “free love,” one should think that it is they, not the Church, who have to come to grips with reality. The Church must continue teaching, whether or not its message is accepted, what it has received from Jesus: when a man and a woman marry, they become “one flesh” which is not to be divided. St. Paul never denies this truth but means to affirm it with his condemnation of sodomy.