I am sure the first two words of the title would have confused you. You might be tempted to presume that this is an article about something else. No, this is about homo sapiens. The definition of homo sapiens goes like this: ‘Homo sapiens is the binomial nomenclature for the human species’. The literal meaning of the Latin term is “the wise human” or “the clever human”. Yes, it is about us. We are wise and clever, or at least we are expected to be so. The reason why I add a caveat here is that these are times when thousands of those who belong to the homo sapiens species do not exhibit the basic trait demanded from them, viz wisdom.
Do you remember any other word starting with these alphabets? In an advanced dictionary you can find hundreds of such words. The striking feature common to them is that in most of those words the prefix ‘homo’ comes with a meaning of ‘same, similar or identical’. But in the rest of the group ‘homo’ refers to ‘human race’. Do you think it is an inconsequential and inadvertent mistake committed by somebody who invented the word? No, it is supposed to be so because human race is unique. They are endowed with the most precious faculty of wisdom, which is a replica of God’s own character!
If we are wise, we should act wise. If we act foolish, we better skip ‘sapiens’ from our name and be contended with ‘homo’. But then it is a prefix which cannot stand by its own. We need to add something to it to get a meaningful word. It can be homocentric, homogeneous, homologous and the like. The list is not exhaustive. In fact I am yet to mention the most frequently used word starting with ‘ homo’. But unfortunately that word is opposite to sapience. This article is about a folly by that name, which men and women who think they are wise commit.
We should confine this article strictly to what our Lord said, what the Catholic Church teaches. We are not concerned about stray voices of folly coming from individuals, however high they are in hierarchy. Our commitment is to the Word and not to the world. Individuals can have their own opinions. Whether to follow them and end up in darkness or take the right path of the Word to light is a decision each one of us have to take personally.
With this introduction, we are going straight to the book of Genesis. ‘And they called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them’ (Gen. 19:5). In Biblical parlance, knowing is used at many places to connote ‘knowing sexually’. This is evident from the verse that follow where Lot told them about his two daughters who had not ‘known a man’. All those who came to Lot’s door were homo sapiens sans sapience. The scripture testifies that ‘ the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house of Lot. What did they want? They wanted to have sexual relation with those two angels, who appeared like two young men to them. Incredible but true; the whole city has gone mad. Lot and family were saved from Sodom, but the lot of Sodom was rain of sulfur and fire from heaven!
Later, Lord the God of Israel warned them; ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman: it is an abomination'( Lev. 18:22). ‘None of the daughters of Israel shall be a temple prostitute; none of the sons of Israel shall be a temple prostitute'( Deu. 23:17). In spite of the warnings from heaven such abominations did happen in Israel. After Sodom it was Gibeah. In the Book of Judges, we read about an old man who gave shelter to a Levite and his companions at his house. Then ‘the men of the city, a perverse lot, surrounded the house, and started pounding on the door’ demanding him to bring out the Levite so that they may have intercourse with him. In the end we see their city completely destroyed and its residents – all belonging the the tribe of Benjamin- put to death. Only six hundred of them could escape the punishment. Folly of a ‘perverse lot’ from Gibeah almost annihilated the tribe of Benjamin.
Paul the Apostle was straightforward when speaking about this abomination; ‘Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolators, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers – none of these will inherit the kingdom of God’ (1 Cori.6:9). So it is clear. Be wise to enter the kingdom of God. Elsewhere, Paul singles out one from among the long list of sins that would make us ineligible for the kingdom of heaven. Let us read from his letter to the Romans: ‘Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error’ ( Rom. 1:24-27).
We started with the Book of Genesis and it is fair to end with the Book of Revelation. Like Paul, John also testifies that certain categories of people are excluded from heaven. ‘Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolators, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood’ ( Rev. 22:15). Bible is all about the salvation of humankind, but in the end we are surprised to read that a dog will not enter heaven! Do animals other than dog enter heaven? We know, the question itself is absurd. To get the meaning of ‘dog’ we should go to the Book of Deuteronomy 23:18. There the Hebrew word ‘dog’ is translated as ‘male prostitute’!
Now we should examine what the Church teaches us. It is good to start with the Catechism of Catholic Church.
‘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, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”. 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’ ( CCC 2357).
‘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’ ( CCC 2358).
This is the unchanging teaching of Catholic Church. Nobody can ever change or modify it, because it is rooted in the Scripture. If anybody challenges it, it simply means that he/she is challenging the Church. As late as 2003, at the direction of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Joesph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) as the head of Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued unambiguous instructions about Church’s approach towards this particular aspect of human life.
“Respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself” .
“Not even in a remote analogous sense do homosexual unions fulfil the purpose for which marriage and family deserve specific categorical recognition. On the contrary, there are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase,” the document asserts.
After going through these paragraphs, there should not remain any doubts in the minds of Catholics as to what is wrong with a man lying with a man or a woman lying with a woman. More important we should identify the lies that certain vested interests both within and outside the Church are spreading about this abomination which is condemned from Genesis to Revelation. If it was a sin at Genesis and if it will be a sin at Revelation, how can it be made acceptable in between?
Before conclusion, let me bust a lie spread by those who support this abomination. They will come with all sorts of arguments claiming that homosexual tendency is innate and irreversible. Nothing is far from truth. It can be cured as evidenced from thousands of men and women who got healed from this disease which once affected their souls. The remedy they used was trusting in Jesus Christ who is able to save those who come to him. Let us remember that Jesus Christ is alive even today.
Let me conclude with a verse from the letter to the Hebrews; ‘Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them’ ( Heb. 7:25). This is what Catholic Church teaches too. ‘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 ( CCC 2359).
Be true homo sapiens with sapience. Wisdom will lead us to our Saviour Jesus Chrsit and he will save us.