I, for one, don’t get much joy from writing about homosexuality.
I’d much prefer to do battle against something a little less debased. Like divorce for instance. But for whatever reason, God has put us in a time when the public battle against divorce has been lost (for now) and our lives are shaped by the consequences of that.
What I mean by that is this: if divorce was not such a mundane affair, and if marriage really was cherished for life, then all the notions of homosexual unions would be ridiculed for what they are. Utter depravity.
But, as I said, today’s fight is against homosexuality. It’s everywhere. Even in our capital, which has just legalised ‘gay marriage’.
That’s why today is an opportune moment to look at what real men and women have said about homosexuality. These are quotes from the Fathers of the Church and the saints (with thanks to various Catholic websites).
St Gregory the Great
“Brimstone calls to mind the foul odours of the flesh, as Sacred Scripture itself confirms when it speaks of the rain of fire and brimstone poured by the Lord upon Sodom. He had decided to punish in it the crimes of the flesh, and the very type of punishment emphasised the shame of that crime, since brimstone exhales stench and fire burns. It was, therefore, just that the sodomites, burning with perverse desires that originated from the foul odour of flesh, should perish at the same time by fire and brimstone so that through this just chastisement they might realise the evil perpetrated under the impulse of a perverse desire.”
St Peter Damien
“This vice strives to destroy the walls of one’s heavenly motherland and rebuild those of devastated Sodom. Indeed, it violates temperance, kills purity, stifles chastity and annihilates virginity … with the sword of a most infamous union. It infects, stains and pollutes everything; it leaves nothing pure, there is nothing but filth … This vice expels one from the choir of the ecclesiastical host and obliges one to join the energumens and those who work in league with the devil; it separates the soul from God and links it with the demons. This most pestiferous queen of the Sodomites [which is homosexuality] makes those who obey her tyrannical laws repugnant to men and hateful to God … It humiliates at church, condemns at court, defiles in secret, dishonours in public, gnaws at the person’s conscience like a worm and burns his flesh like fire…
“The miserable flesh burns with the fire of lust, the cold intelligence trembles under the rancour of suspicion, and the unfortunate man’s heart is possessed by hellish chaos, and his pains of conscience are as great as the tortures in punishment he will suffer … Indeed, this scourge destroys the foundations of faith, weakens the force of hope, dissipates the bonds of charity, annihilates justice, undermines fortitude, … and dulls the edge of prudence.
“What else shall I say? It expels all the forces of virtue from the temple of the human heart and, pulling the door from its hinges, introduces into it all the barbarity of vice … In effect, the one whom … this atrocious beast [of homosexuality] has swallowed down its bloody throat is prevented, by the weight of his chains, from practising all good works and is precipitated into the very abysses of its uttermost wickedness. Thus, as soon as someone has fallen into this chasm of extreme perdition, he is exiled from the heavenly motherland, separated from the Body of Christ, confounded by the authority of the whole Church, condemned by the judgment of all the Holy Fathers, despised by men on earth, and reproved by the society of heavenly citizens. He creates for himself an earth of iron and a sky of bronze … He cannot be happy while he lives nor have hope when he dies, because in life he is obliged to suffer the ignominy of men’s derision and later, the torment of eternal condemnation.”
St John Chrysostom
“All passions are dishonourable, for the soul is even more prejudiced and degraded by sin than is the body by disease; but the worst of all passions is lust between men… There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.”
“Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed.”
St Thomas Aquinas
“However, they are called passions of ignominy because they are not worthy of being named, according to that passage in Ephesians (5:12): ‘For the things that are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.’ For if the sins of the flesh are commonly censurable because they lead man to that which is bestial in him, much more so is the sin against nature, by which man debases himself lower than even his animal nature.”
St Catherine of Siena (quoting Our Lord)
“They not only fail from resisting this frailty [of fallen human nature] … but do even worse as they commit the cursed sin against nature. Like the blind and stupid, having dimmed the light of their understanding, they do not recognise the disease and misery in which they find themselves. For this not only causes Me nausea, but displeases even the demons themselves, whom these miserable creatures have chosen as their lords. For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that, for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the judgment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them…. It is disagreeable to the demons, not because evil displeases them and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being committed. It is true that it is the demon who hits the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demon leaves.”
St Bernardine of Siena
“No sin has greater power over the soul than the one of cursed sodomy, which was always detested by all those who lived according to God….. Such passion for undue forms borders on madness. This vice disturbs the intellect, breaks an elevated and generous state of soul, drags great thoughts to petty ones, makes [men] pusillanimous and irascible, obstinate and hardened, servilely soft and incapable of anything. Furthermore, the will, being agitated by the insatiable drive for pleasure, no longer follows reason, but furore.”
And this one, more than all the others, should be well remembered today.
St Basil of Caesara
“The cleric or monk who molests youths or boys or is caught kissing or committing some turpitude, let him be whipped in public, deprived of his crown [tonsure] and, after having his head shaved, let his face be covered with spittle; and [let him be] bound in iron chains, condemned to six months in prison, reduced to eating rye bread once a day in the evening three times per week. After these six months living in a separate cell under the custody of a wise elder with great spiritual experience, let him be subjected to prayers, vigils and manual work, always under the guard of two spiritual brothers, without being allowed to have any relationship… with young people.”
But lest all this be too depressing or hard to hear, there is also hope. Sin is a defect or a blight on that which is good. God calls us to goodness and perfection. He has also given us hope in His mercy and forgiveness. That is why the words of Jesus Christ to Mary Magdalene and the Pharisees are so wonderful:
“Go, and now sin no more.”
“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”