Swiss Bishop Joseph Maria Bonnemain apparently has publicly accepted the creation of “same-sex civil unions.” Accordingly, he says that it is “good and right” that there be “different forms of stable relationships” that are “given rights and duties.” Again, “It is for me self-evident that other forms of partnership can be oriented toward an enduring love.”
Do these remarks of the bishop have support in Catholic teaching? They most certainly do not. Moreover, these remarks do not come from genuine charity, since, wittingly or unwittingly, they oppose the good of those in need of help. The Church opposes same-sex unions because she recognizes homosexual sodomy as a mortal sin and the homosexual tendency as a disorder.
Opponents of Catholic teaching immediately claim that the Church is a “hater.” Is the Church a hater? Most emphatically, she is not. True, each member of the Catholic Church is a sinner; and no doubt most Catholics have hated someone at some time; even unspeakable crimes have been committed by Catholics. But we are speaking about the Church’s teaching and action, not about the renegade actions of laymen who hate others or of prelates who water down, dilute, or deny the Catholic truth.
As I argue in False Mercy: Recent Heresies Distorting Catholic Truth, the Church firmly condemns all violence against human persons for whatever reason. Consistently, she condemns violence and hatred directed against those with same-sex attraction. Still, she is clear that the homosexual orientation is a disorder because the actions to which it points are sinful: “The proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” art. 10). Equally consistently, the Church condemns the various forms of sodomy, from masturbatory sodomy to homosexual sodomy.
The Church teaches that homosexual sodomy is unnatural, intrinsically evil, and gravely evil. She has always taught this, and her teaching is firmly grounded in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Genesis 19:1–11 expresses the wickedness of homosexual sodomy. Some Catholic scholars reject such a reading, reducing the sins of the men of Sodom to inhospitality. They were indeed inhospitable, but their chief crime was sodomy, as the CDF teaches clearly (see “Pastoral Care,” art. 6). St. Paul presents the sin of sodomy as the nadir of the historical devolution of human depravity (Romans 1:18–32). In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul presents sodomy as a sin that excludes one from the Kingdom of God. In short, sodomy is a mortal sin.