84. Since When Does the Catholic Church Forbid Love?


As I’m sure you’ve heard, Polish theologian Monsignor Charamsa was removed from his post at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith after announcing he was gay and openly living in contradiction to Church teaching. “It is time for the Church to open its eyes about gay Catholics,” he said, “and understand that the solution it proposes to them – total abstinence from a life of love – is inhuman.”

Time out. Does the Church tell anyone on planet Earth that we must abstain from a life of love? The Church I know proclaims from the rooftops that “Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (CCC 2392). As St. John Paul II insisted: “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it” (Redeemer of Man 10). Everything, absolutely everything the Catholic Church teaches pivots on the call to love.

The question is this: What is love? More to the point, what does love have to do with our bodies and with the engagement of our genitals? When is it loving to stimulate a person’s genitals and when is it not? The underlying question in all of this, as I discussed in this blog from last February and in this blog from last May, is what are genitals for and when is stimulating them an act of self-sacrifice for the good of others?

[tweetthis]Everything, absolutely everything the Catholic Church teaches pivots on the call to love.[/tweetthis]


Pardon the frankness, but we must be even more specific if we are to look squarely at this priest’s allegation that the Church demands he abstain from “a life of love.” Is it loving for a man to insert his penis in another man’s anus and ejaculate? Is it loving for a man to put his penis in another man’s mouth and ejaculate? What is ejaculation for? And do these behaviors serve to fulfill the purpose of ejaculation?

Again, I beg your pardon for being so blunt. It’s not comfortable to speak of these things, but these are the real issues at stake, and we need to understand that clearly.

If we don’t know what love is and we don’t understand how our bodies reveal the divine truth about love, we will draw the utterly ridiculous conclusion that by forbidding certain acts, the Catholic Church forbids love. No. By forbidding certain acts, the Catholic Church is proclaiming to the world what love is … and what it is not.

Word made flesh, show us what love is, for our lives are senseless without it!

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