I was challenged on the Church’s teaching on homosexual “marriage.” My acquaintance has trouble with the Church’s definition of marriage and some of the presumably valid Catholic marriage she’s seen. She claimed that the Church’s requirement of fruitfulness in marriage (as in the openness for children discussed as one of four F’s in premarital counseling) isn’t real and cannot be a reason against homosexual marriage because the church allows people who have sterilized themselves to marry.
As a pair of examples that she gave me, she said that a man who had a vasectomy (and confessed but not reversed it) could be presumably validly married despite his deliberately frustrating the sexual act in terms of children. Also, a woman who has had a hysterectomy due to cancer is allowed to marry validly despite the fact that she knowingly marries with the deliberate frustration of the conjugal act. Both of these cases assume that the person is otherwise free to marry.
The best and easiest way to answer/refute the Gayrriage claim is to ask: Is there an actual fixed definition for “marriage” or is “marriage” whatever each person wants it to mean?
In our society, “marriage” has already been redefined long before gayrriage came along, and it was redefined by Protestantism mostly, who threw out the Sacramental nature of marriage. In our modern “definition” of marriage, it means ‘an arbitrary union of a man and woman for as long as they feel like it’. Well, that’s quite a silly definition. If it’s an arbitrary union of man and woman, then it could just as easily be 3 people or it could be people of the same gender. It’s arbitrary!
But as soon as you try to put an actual fixed definition to marriage (this definition is not invented by Catholicism, just confirmed by it), then modern society runs into problems, because it cannot be as slippery with the concept of marriage. The point of marriage is for a man and a woman to create a stable environment to welcome children into the world. This immediately rules out gay marriage and makes marriage fundamentally about being open to life and naturally forbidding divorce. And it is for this reason that the family is the basic building block of society, because the family is the basic unit of society. But for our modern minds, the individual is the basic building block of society, yet this clearly doesn’t lead to society at all.
The gayrriage definition of marriage is really about 2 people who love each other and want to live in the same house as long as their love lasts. But this really is just called friendship. The gayrriage definition doesn’t really have a goal beyond friendship.
Now, with that foundation laid down, that there is a fixed definition of marriage as noted above, then the other questions can be properly answered. Those who are unable to have children can still get married because the essence of marriage is not the actual having of children, but the ability and openness to do so, and such a union still models the basic building block of society. An infertile couple would be seen as an unfortunate defect, BUT not a feature of marriage, whereas with gayrriage the inability (and thus non-openness) to have children is an essential “feature”.
The relationship between an individual and God through the Church is like a spiritual marriage. When we receive the Eucharist our souls become one with God. Likewise, man and woman become one through a child. The sacramental marriage should reflect the spiritual marriage. While a couple may not always be able to create a child, penile-vaginal sex is the only way to reflect the spiritual marriage. Gay marriage will never be able to naturally reflect the spiritual marriage. Even in cases of disability, a marriage between a man and a woman is still a reflection of what God intended.
In our modern world, good evidence against same-sex unions is Darwin. Same-sex relationships directly oppose Darwin’s teaching of “survival of the fittest.” They are, by design, pairings that are sterile and do not comport with nature and biology. They do not and cannot further the human race. Quite the contrary, they tend to diminish it.