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Appendix 4

Human Sexuality

God created us as people with an affinity for sexual attraction. We see in the book of Genesis that God Created us "male and female.” We find in scripture God's ideal plan for sexual intimacy in the marriage of a man and a woman. Sexual relations outside of the bounds of matrimony has, since the beginning of time been considered sin.

In the greater part of society, both in developed and developing countries, the decline of traditional models of morality has engendered a sense of confusion among the faithful, things that were considered “truth” and “good,” are now considered something different. Moral relativism is, in the modern culture taking the place of traditional biblical values and understanding. This new context is made worse by what we observe: an eclipse of the truth about humanity, which, among other things, exerts pressure to reduce sex to something commonplace. In this area, society and the mass media, most of the time provide depersonalized, recreational and often pessimistic information. Moreover, this information does not take into account the different stages of formation and development of children and young people, and it is influenced by a distorted individualistic concept of freedom, in an ambiance lacking the basic values of life, human love, and the family.

Love is a gift of God that is to be nourished by and expressed in the encounter of a man and woman. Love is thus a positive force directed towards our growth in maturity as persons. In the plan of life which represents each person's vocation, love is also a precious source for the self-giving which all men and women are called to make for their own self- realization and happiness. In fact, we are called to love as an incarnate spirit, that is soul and body in the unity of the person. Human love hence embraces the body, and the body also expresses spiritual love. Therefore, sexuality is not something purely biological, rather it concerns the intimate nucleus of the person. The use of sexuality as physical giving has its own truth and reaches its full meaning when it expresses the personal giving of man and woman even unto death. As with the whole of the person's life, love is exposed to the frailty brought about by original sin, a frailty experienced today in many socio-cultural contexts marked by strong negative influences, at times deviant and traumatic. Nevertheless, the Lord's Redemption has made the positive practice of chastity into something that is really possible and a motive for joy, both for those who have the vocation to marriage (before, at the time of preparation, and afterwards, in the course of married life) as well as for those who have the gift of a special calling to the consecrated life.

In light of the above, we stand with the traditional Christian understandings of human sexuality: God created two genders — male and female

With as much gentleness as can be presented, we affirm both traditional understanding of scripture and modern scientific study in this matter. Social and political pressure on this matter will not change the fact that persons who have sexual identity issues (Gender Dysphoria) are in some manner, either mentally or physically challenged and experiencing great difficulties adjusting to their genetic gender. The role of the Church is to share the love of Jesus Christ with these individuals, not offer condemnation.

The act of sexual sharing was created by God to be reserved for the exclusive purpose of sharing between a husband (male) and wife (female), within the bond of holy matrimony. Vanity of vanities, there is nothing new under the sun. In their own vanity, each generation thinks that they have somehow evolved intellectually beyond their predecessors. Modern political activists claim, "The authors of the Bible did not understand sexual orientation.” This thought process relegates the Bible to being nothing more than the words of man, rather than how we believe — the inspired Word of God.

In the context of Christian morality, sexual intercourse outside of the above parameters has always been considered sin. All men and women are called to live a chaste life, abstaining from sexual activity unless it is in the context of a man and woman joined together in the life bond of marriage, or within the vows in accord with a consecrated religious life, either within the community or otherwise.

In this understanding of sin, we make no special distinction between gender and so-called sexual orientation.

Pastoral Concerns

Our modern times of mixed messages from both culture and other more liberal churches, pastors are presented with difficulties that must be met with love, compassion, and proper catechesis, especially in their homiletics, and pastoral counseling.

It is of special concern to pastors and all the faithful to create an environment where “all are welcome.” Each and every human person has fallen short of God’s ideal. None of us are worthy of God’s grace and redemption. However, while we were yet sinners, Jesus offered himself upon the cross for our salvation! Though we don’t celebrate or condone any sin, we must become a people who provide a safe place for every person to seek God and find the peace that passes all understanding, being reconciled to Him.