The Meaning and Purpose of Human Genital Sexuality

Readings and Reflections
by Samuel B. Batara (2002) University of Asia and the Pacific Only recently, the media bombarded Filipino minds with the imminent possibility of same sex marriages. It was claimed that it had been possible for quite a while in some other countries to tie the knot between homosexuals, so it was high time the Philippines followed suit. Some excitable legislators took it to their rare credit to author such a bill, without doing the homework of weathering the pulse of the nation on such controversial issues. Earlier on, the same genus of bill writers, if not otherwise-has-nothing-else-to-deliver crowd, filed the divorce bill in congress on the same contention that in as much as annulment has been possible for quite some time, why not provide a wider remedial coverage for ending easy-going marriages. Homosexuals are, of course, persons who suffer loneliness and lack of self esteem in a society that manifests horror and alienation toward a particular sexual orientation. Very few realize that the stigma which society has attached to homosexual persons is itself an immoral response to a deeply troubled minority. In their zeal to obliterate the unjust stigma attached to homosexuals, some scholars and writers have come to the rescue of diehard advocates. They have argued that homosexuality should be seen as a natural and morally equivalent alternative to heterosexuality. Some even further assert that in an overpopulated world it is morally preferable, or as justifiable, as contraception. A favorite analogy proposes that homosexual activity is no more immoral than writing left-handed instead of right-handed. The stigma which society attaches to homosexuality and the alienation this fosters drive homosexual persons to seek security and dignity in relationships with fellow homosexuals. The theory that homosexual activity is morally-neutral like left-handedness offers encouragement to adopt a lifestyle which features homosexual “dating” and same-sex “marriage.”

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Again, some authors say that, in an ideal world, homosexuality would be wrong, but given the sinful world in which we live, it can be morally acceptable, at least on stable, loving relationships comparable to marriage. The justification of homosexuality as acceptable because of sin in the world suggests a possible analogy with the use of force to combat aggression. Force and violence would be wrong except for the fact that there is sinful aggression in the world. In this sense, sufficient violence is permissible as is necessary to cope with unjust aggression. The confusion comes when some authors use the term inversion, instead of the traditional designation of homosexual activity as a perversion. The latter indicates an activity turned against what is right and good, while the former simply denotes a reversal from the heterosexual to homosexual activity. Traditional Catholic teaching regards as immoral, not homosexual orientation, but homosexual activity. The question of sin hinges on human freedom while performing human actions. The gift of human freedom entitles persons to direct their bodily activities in accord with moral convictions and the norms of authentic love. The Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1975) gave a succinct judgment on homosexual activity: “For according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality.” The morality of homosexual behavior must be evaluated in the light of the inherent meaning and purpose of genital activity which is found in its capacity to express a totally unifying and generously procreating relationship – the covenant of marriage. This inherent meaning or purpose of genital activity can be its finality. The biblical teaching on sexuality stresses the complementary relationship of man and woman and the twofold unitive – procreative meaning of marriage. Moral growth, in this context, means the basic human process of integrating one’s impulses and sexual passions in accord with the ideals of authentic love and good judgment. Values Education in schools should provide the ground preparation and the painful trimmings for such a growth which takes a lifetime for everyone. The earlier young persons are introduced to a balanced understanding of unusual personality orientations, the more
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tolerant they will be in accepting homosexuals as persons with dignity just as anyone else. They can then readily reach out to offer homosexual persons respect, friendship, and justice. It does not mean, however, that homosexual activity becomes morally right and good. Legislators badly need Values Educators, too. Just as the Civil Service Commission offers public servants trainings on Values Orientation in the Workplace, legislators can be given their share of the Values Education which gives importance to cognitive content, moral principles and ethical applications. They must realize that both the proposed homosexual marriage and divorce run counter to the stability of marriage and family which are the basic foundations of a society. The breakdown of the family is the downfall of any nation.

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