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Some Thoughts on the Holiness of Matrimony

July 28, AD2017

While I’m neither a theologian nor a Bible Scholar, I’ve always thought that the Bible is really very clear and straightforward in regard to both marriage and homosexuality.

In Matthew 19:16, Jesus says about marriage “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” What exactly do these words mean? Deconstructing the sentences is not all that difficult.

The first phrase, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh” says that the husband and wife are now one in mind (faith and love), body (their union will create offspring, literally becoming one), and spirit (together for eternity in His Kingdom).  It’s even possible that God created the circumstances which brought this man and woman together. Marriage is holy not only because God ordained it so; it is also holy because of the miracle of life it creates.

The second phrase reads:  ” Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” This phrase may mean two different things, depending on how you look at it. Some may understand it to mean that no one on earth can come between the two people taking the holy vows of matrimony. I believe it to also mean that no one on earth can ever change the order of matrimony, and its intended meaning for us. The vows of matrimony are holy. This means they cannot be rewritten to suit our needs and desires.

In Ephesians 5:25, Paul says: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.” And in Genesis 2:24 we read: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.”

Marriage Is Between a Man and Woman

Marriage is both an emotional bond and a physical one. Same sex unions, however, cannot function in the same manner. God has given us Scripture and Commandments that He desires us to obey. However, if we decide to turn our backs on His Word, we are left to fend for ourselves in the consequences of our actions. No matter how much we wish for things to be our way, in the end His own divine will should be done.

While God does not make mistakes, He has blessed us with free will, and this means we can make mistakes. So we can choose to live a path that is not in our best interests, spiritually or physically, or one that is not in keeping with His will.

Only a man and a woman can become one body, one flesh, and this in the creation of  child. Same sex unions do not and cannot produce offspring. While the female is a beautiful being, she is not intended for another female to mate with biologically. The same is true for male same-sex unions.

The Bible speaks of such unions as being unholy: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).

Therefore, we may only interpret same-sex unions as ungodly and sinful. This does not mean that we are to hate or turn our backs on those who experience same-sax attraction or are confused about this Scripture. As Catholics, we are called to evangelize, not judge.

A Difficult Cross to Carry

Same-sex attraction must be a difficult cross to carry, and we should all remember that there are those who are hurting with this burden. But in such instances Church council should be sought out immediately. Many dioceses have same sex attraction counseling for those who are interested. The Catholic Diocese of Wichita, and many other dioceses, encourages those with same sex attraction to contact the organization Courage [https://couragerc.org/]. Courage can help equip those with same-sex attraction with the tools to fight the temptations they feel.

We all have sin in our lives to varying degrees, and it is healthy to speak to someone (a counselor or priest) about these issues. It is also our Catholic duty to uphold Scripture.

As St. Jerome said “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

 

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Karen Reep is a Catholic wife and mother to seven children. She lives in a small town in southern Kansas. She has a degree in health science, but prefers to be a stay-at-home mom. She teaches catechism to the tenth grade girls of her local parish. In her spare time she enjoys writing, reading and running.

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  • Maria A.

    The episode with the woman caught in adultery , can also help to give a glimpse of the Heart of The Lord , His desire to keep the sacredness in this area .

    He does not condone what she is accused of or even deny the punishment that the law wanted to mete out , instead wants those who were eager to do the stoning to get own hearts in good order as well , by ridding them of any ? stone cold hardness in them , from the adulterous ways of being unfaithful to God, by using their roles only for self serving desires , without justice , in greed .

    Our Lord also warns us too how one who looks with lust at another commits adultery ;
    thus , the need to keep hearts pure and clean , possibly by seeing self and others , through the eyes of The Lord and His Mother, as beloved children who have been called to be a blessing unto themselves and others .

    That would involve recognizing the sacredness of marital relations , seeing same as occasions of being grateful to God , in what God has ordained to be a blessed occasion to help bring forth holy children ; thus , no room in there , to bring lies and its curses into that whole realm , in any format .

    Our Lord , The Living Stine – may His Spirit bestowed on us , through the deliverance in The Passion help all in ongoing cleansing and healing , for the joy of trusting in Him to help us all to be blessings .

    .May the prayers of St.Ignatius of Loyola and Saints help us all in same .

    • Maria A.

      If I may add this too , one aspect of the Old Testament laws that do not seem to make sense in our times could be better understood , if we recognize how before the coming of The Lord ,
      the Chosen People , when they sinned , the demonic powers possibly had lots more destructive impact and the laws were to instill in them of the need to not get entangled with the gentiles and their pagan rituals .
      With The New Covenant , in our calling to be One with The Lord , in our Flesh and Blood relationship , the need for holiness on our part , no less and if all all may be more , even as we are given the grace and power of The Spirit through The Lord .

  • Maria A.

    Thank you for tackling a needed topic , since it does pertain to many other areas as well , in the format of inviting in the spirit of lie , who has been after us , since The Garden …thus, more or less all the sins various manifestations of same .

    True, in Old Testament , prior to The Incarnation and the presence in personal lives at our calling in holiness , of the Holy Spirit ,
    God was in the loving planning stage of preparing The Redemption of those that He had labored to create …

    and that needed a whole line of Godly persons , to finally bring forth The Woman ( and parents of Bl.Mother as well as St .Joseph , others ) , for that one life of The Woman to be conceived in the
    Pre Fall plan of His truth and purity and putting in place , all the supporting aspects for their lives and so on ..

    the enemy too had sensed the plan , thus , hard at work , to destroy same, which necessitated some of the war fares and laws that would seem arcane / senseless , from our very limited grasp of reality of the times , how the Jewish people had to be set apart form the prevailing , powerful pagan forces around and how all these seemingly ‘senseless ‘ rules helped them , to be a people set apart ..

    Good thing is , in our times , any areas where the spirit of lie gets invited in , at major or minor levels , we are given the role and responsibility ,as His children , to grasp the price of our redemption ..
    how every darkness from such choices , our Lord took upon Himself , in The Agony , sweating out His Blood ..every unholy attachment . in the shedding of The Blood at the scourging …every lying /prideful thought , of not being loved enough by The Father etc : , by the crowning with thorns and so on ..

    and we accept same , with true contrition for our role , to thus ask for and receive His mercy

    – whether it is choices against the sacredness of marriage or other areas ..to thus thank our Lord ..His Mother ..

    The Church desires such a holy , joyful destiny for all Her children and thus warns with love all the ways and occasions that the enemy spirits can be given access , even unto family lines .

    Invoking the Immaculate Conception – may be one means of deliverance from familial spirits that too might make the struggles for holy lives more difficult .

    Is it not a mystery why Adam would have allowed the serpent, access to The Garden ..does not call on The Father ..does not step in , to protect his wife even though standing right there and as per Emmerich , even picked the fruit for Eve ..

    ? confusion / seduction from the spirit of lie ..which might be the same issues in such situations in our times as well …..all the way from our First Parents .

    .’Father , forgive us , we know what we do ..’ – Adam and Eve too would not have known what it takes to set things right ..at what price ..

    Thank God that Our Lord makes us His Flesh and Blood children ..and gives us a whole army of saints to help us along ..

    http://spiritdaily.org/blog/prayer-protection/prayer-to-the-immaculate-conception

    God bless !

  • adam aquinas

    You say that marriage is between a man and woman because Leviticus says so. The Book of Leviticus contains a minimum of 79 prohibitions, some more absurd than others, but if you accept one prohibition as God’s word and command, do you accept the other 78? Since you are not a biblical school here is a link to all 79 and not the one you cherry picked:

    http://leviticusbans.tumblr.com/post/23730370413/76-things-banned-in-leviticus

    And while we are speaking of the Bible and marriage, you failed to mention the command of bride-price.
    Exodus 22:16–17 says:
    If a man entices a virgin who isn’t pledged to be married, and lies with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
    Deuteronomy 22:28–29 similarly states:
    If a man find a lady who is a virgin, who is not pledged to be married, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; then the man who lay with her shall give to the lady’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has humbled her; he may not put her away all his days.

    And did Jesus Himself every say anything about about gays or gay marriage? Quote please? If you want to write of marriage and love why no reference to the Song of Songs, or Canticle of Canticles, or Song of Solomon …. the liturgy also avoids passages from that book. And was it ok for Solomon to have 700 wives and 300 concubines? 1 Kings 11

    Remember that a a text without a context is a pretext for having it say what you want…..

    • Dan

      Christ did not leave us with a bible. He left us with a Church and invested in it the authority to forgive and retain sins. From Matthew:

      And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

      In order to be able to forgive and retain sins that means that you must alos be able to teach on specific issues in terms of if they are sinful or not. It is clear Christ gave the Church the authority to teach and instruct the faithful. So what does the Catholic Church teach us in the area? Let us turn to the Catechism of the Catholic church:

      2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

      2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

      2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

      Intrinsically disordered. That means at the very core, it is wrong and thus so-called same sex marriage is wrong. The church is very clear in this teaching and has been for years. And don’t try to bring Fr. Martin into this discussion. That is one priest who has gone astray: not magisterial teaching from the church.

    • adam aquinas

      Solipsism…you address none of my objections to the tenor of the article….nothing about the prohibitions of Leviticus, nothing about The Canticle of Canticles, nothing about Kings….and nothing about one word Jesus every said about homosexuality. If it is such an important issue….Jesus would have dealt with it like he dealt with the temple money changers.

    • Caine

      Adam, why do you troll this website solely to attack actual Christians/Catholics? You seem to be a very bitter individual who doesn’t even want to investigate what the Catholic Church teaches. Yes, the Catholic Church is based upon the Bible, but, it’s also explained thru the Catechism, and has been in some fashion, since its origin. The New Testament trumps the Old Testament. Christians/followers of Jesus used to have multiple wives. Now that’s against the teachings of the Church. And no, Jesus didn’t speak directly about homosexuality. He also didn’t specifically speak about abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, IVF, pornography, transgender individuals, man-made global warming, or the potential for life on other planets. He didn’t have to. That’s why the Church was established.

    • Dan

      Caine,

      You beat me to the punch. Thanks for replying. I was going to mention many of the same issues that Christ never commented on and the role of the Church in developing thoughts on those issues.

      I would also recommend to Adam that he reads the documents of Vatican II. With regards to the role of the bible, Dei Verbum states:

      It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.

      So yes, the bible is important but it is not the sole authority. That is an important point of distinction for Catholics. We need to and must turn to the church to understand scripture and how it relates and addresses the challenges of our time. Remember, Christ didn’t establish a bible: he established a church.