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A reader writes … By Michael D. Sullivan

March 12, 2001

I am responding to Dominic Signorotti's letter to Voice of the People. Mr. Signorotti, your reasoning is flawed when you accuse the church of using "the Bible as justification for its selfish feelings of hate and prejudice."

Your salvation, my salvation, must be based on some law above anything rationalized by man, otherwise we become makers of our own religion and morality. Obviously that law has to be God's and He provides very handily for that in three sacred sources: sacred Scripture, sacred tradition and the moral magisterium of the church.

Why are they sacred? Because Scripture is revealed by God, because tradition is guided by the Holy Spirit and because the church receives a charism from Jesus to teach in His name. "He who hears you hears me." Dignitatis Humanae (encyclical on Declaration of Religious Freedom, Pope Paul VI) requires that because men are persons endowed with reason and free will they are impelled by their nature and bound by moral obligation to seek the truth. This is not some subjective or relative truth but the moral truth revealed through God's sacred sources.

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Morality, that is the study of human conduct, can be accomplished from various points of view. If a study is undertaken strictly from a rational point of view, the study would be considered within the parameters of one of the natural sciences such as philosophy, psychology or sociology. These scientific genera focus on the study of human conduct, arguing for or against the ethical standards of this conduct based on human reasoning and rationalization. Typically the results of these studies become the baseline of recognizable codes of ethics and standard behavior with a community. The perception of morality at this level is a purely natural indigenous point of view.

Theology, on the other hand, examines human conduct from a "supernatural" point of view. Theology bypasses rational consideration and traverses to the supernatural, Theos, God. God, through revelation, has provided sacred sources to discern His will and to proceed along in the study of morality from the Theos view point.

If then we say yes to this authority and this doctrine, we are actually saying yes to more than human wisdom. If God is the source of moral theology then the morality derived from its study is far above any human law rationalized by man, even the most learned. Theology teaches God, is taught by God and leads to God. Therefore, when Yahweh says in Leviticus 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination," and in Romans 1:26-27, "God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity." We must take Him at His word because only He knows what is good for our salvation.

Mr. Signorotti, Scripture clearly teaches that homosexuality is a perversity and tradition has always declared homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life and they do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition and for them it is 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 this condition. Most of all they are called to chastity and self-mastery.

By forbidding man to "eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" it is clear that man does not possess the knowledge to discern what is good and evil. That knowledge is possessed by God exclusively. The power to decide what is good and what is evil does not belong to man but to God alone. Man is free to accept or reject the command, he is free to eat of the fruit of the other trees of the garden but his freedom is limited and must halt before the specified tree. God alone who is good, perfect and sinless knows what is good for man and what he must do to have eternal life.

MICHAEL D. SULLIVAN is an El Centro resident.

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