Are Homosexual Acts Sinful?
I came across this YouTube video from Trent Horn today and listened to the whole thing.
I do think that these sorts of discussions are absolutely essential given the stark contrast of Church teaching with a culture that continually pushes the boundaries of sexual morality.
This discussion between Trent Horn and liberal/ progressive pastor, Brandon Robertson, encapsulates and analyses a lot of the ideas we see mainstreamed in society today without any pushback from the Catholic Church which, presently seems to only be interested in acceptance. This is extremely troubling because of what the Church actually teaches: that homosexual acts are sinful. To virtually everyone what the Catholic Church says and what it does are at odds.
We can speculate as to why this is. The well known fact that many Catholic clergy are themselves subject to homosexual tendencies must be a factor in the Church’s silence. But given the teaching itself, such silence is fatal and screams of hypocrisy. Not only that, much of what Robertson says in this discussion strikes me as true. What I mean is that the language of rejection and condemnation is extremely dangerous without a context which shows how such truths are caring and compassionate. Robertson calls anything which contradicts his world purview as "non-affirming" and suggests this leads to incredible damage in young Christians subjected to it. I have to agree. This is critical and many Christians do use it as a tool for hate which is utterly wrong: as the Catholic position is always that God created you and loves you unconditionally. Equally important is the Church's position that no individual should be defined by a sexuality. We are much, much more than our sexual urges.
I really think the silence and the lack of context and teaching is the key to much of the decay we see and especially the young people we see deserting the faith. To reverse the decline we need to start having these conversations which explain why the Church teaches what it teaches: conversations which show that the teaching is cohesive and consistent and that it makes sense and can be believed. Some in the Church seem to think we should abandon the teaching or "pretend" it doesn't exist. This is surely a path to disaster? At some point young people will be confronted with what the Church teaches and find it at odds with what progressive pastors have been saying: this can only lead to disillusionment with the very structure of the faith.
This conversation exposes all the arguments used today to revise what the Christian Church has always believed and taught. Such arguments are persuasive because as people who long for love and peace, we naturally look for compromise and ways to resolve difficult situations. We tend towards compassion and seek resolution. Homosexuality appears today to be a problem for the Church which is not one that can be reconciled with its past. I wouldn't mind betting that any survey of practising Catholics would be hard-pushed to find anyone who understood the teaching and was prepared to defend it.
Despite this reality, this discussion patiently exposes that these arguments are in fact empty and full of hubris. I've never seen a clearer exposition that, in order to contradict settled Christian teaching on sexual morality you necessarily have to ignore or subvert large parts of Scripture, and completely revise Tradition (contra 2 These 2:15). Trent Horn manages to navigate the arguments very calmly, shedding light rather than heat on what the Church teaches in this area and why.
I think this is inextricably linked to my last post about our need to return to Apostolic teaching and the post before that which looks at the recent announcement of the Methodists to deny Christ's teaching and a proper understanding of what constitutes a Christian Marriage. We consistently see that any heretical aping of the secular "gospel" leads inevitably, to decline. By contrast authentic, prophetic (in the sense of giving courageous critique of modernity’s errors with integrity), orthodox Christianity attracts those who desire truth, goodness, and beauty, in their fullness. This can only be because it is divinely inspired and speaks to deep truths of our created reality. It takes courage and faith to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, but its truth and power does not change, no matter which way the secular culture goes.