Fr. Peter West

Opinion

Homosexuality and Theology of the Body

Fr. Peter West
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May 10, 2013 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - Polls show that most young people today, even those who identify themselves as Christians, have no problem with “same-sex marriage.”

If young people today are at all aware of what the Catholic Church teaches about marriage and human sexuality, what they think they know is often only a caricature of the truth. They see it as simply a set of prohibitions established by men. But what the Church actually presents is a vision of the beauty of marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman who are committed for life and open to the transmission of new human life. With this vision, “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron, making about as much sense as a “squared circle.”

“Same-sex marriage” has been presented to the public as an issue of fairness. But the worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal. Leaders in the homosexual movement have themselves admitted that the promotion of “same-sex marriage” is a device to destroy the institution of marriage. A poster at a homosexual conference called the National Conference on Organized Resistance in 2008 read “Marriage is the proverbial burning building. Instead of pounding on the door to be let in…queers should be stoking the flames!”

Of course, our understanding of marriage has been damaged by the fruits of the sexual revolution: no-fault divorce, cohabitation, contraception, sterilization and abortion. What is our problem with changing the definition of marriage to accommodate same-sex couples? Are we being “unfair”?

Blessed Pope John Paul II reflected on love, the nature of the human person, marriage as a vocation and the purpose of the body in a series of lectures from 1979 to 1984 during his Wednesday audiences which he called the “Theology of the Body.”

With regard to marriage, John Paul referred to Our Lord’s teaching. When Jesus was asked a question about marriage and divorce, He referred back to the beginning – to God’s original purpose for marriage.

Jesus said:

Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate (Mt. 19: 4-6).

John Paul recognized that at the root of the current cultural divide is confusion about the nature of the human person. There are two basic competing philosophies in the world today. One sees man as the result of a blind process of evolutionary development. The other says that man was created by God in his image and likeness, giving man a supernatural origin and destiny. One philosophy sees man simply as perhaps little better than a barnyard animal, but basically incapable of controlling his impulses. The other sees man as being capable of discipline and love.

Isn’t it true that every healthy person desires to love and to be loved? It is also true that oftentimes people look for love in the wrong places. Particularly with sins of a sexual nature, men are seeking to satisfy a natural desire that God has given us to fulfill his plan for love. Our desires are often distorted because of original sin and our tendency to selfishness.

All love flows from God. Christ reveals man to himself, showing man his dignity and teaching him to love. By loving others we become free of our tendency to selfishness.

Further, the human body was created by God. He created sex as a beautiful physical demonstration of love between a husband and a wife. Sex is part of the original creation that God found to be very good (cf. Genesis 1, 31). Any prohibitions about sex are meant to protect God’s original plan for marriage, sex and family life.

We are not simply “ghosts in machines” as some philosophers and pop stars have claimed, but we are both body and soul. This has profound implications on who we are and how we interact: Because human beings are a composite of body and soul, we can express ourselves spiritually through the body. Because of this sex can never be purely biological. There is a language expressed in sex: it says I love you; I give myself to you without holding anything back; I commit myself to you for life; I open myself to the possibility of having children with you. Sex before marriage is really a lie. The couple’s body language says I give myself to you completely, but they are unwilling to make the commitment to each other that this love requires.

This is why, far from denigrating sex, the Catholic Church teaches that sex within marriage is actually holy; in fact, she has raised marriage to the level of a sacrament. The Catechism of the Catholic Churchsays, “The matrimonial covenant by which man and woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole life is by its nature ordered to the procreation and education of offspring. This covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” There is nothing “unfair” about honoring this covenant.

Through Christian love given and received God gives the marriage partners a sharing in his life and helps them grow in grace and spiritual maturity. Physical intimacy that is open to life becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion.

In part two, Father West will discuss the implications of these truths about men and women, and about marriage.

 

Father Peter West is the vice president for missions at Human Life International.



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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 



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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.



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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.



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