This is the common starting point for people at the beginning of training in virtue.
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The passions are not fixed, unchanging obstacles to moral action. They do not simply have to be repressed in order for one to act morally. Repeated good actions will modify the passions that one experiences. In fact, passions that have been properly disposed aid one in acting well. In such cases, to do what is right and rational will involve a healthy restraining of some desires.
Nevertheless, through persistent effort we can at least reduce the resistance of our passions to acting well. The New Law of Christ, which is principally the power and life of the Holy Spirit, gives us an ability that does not come from nature itself to fulfill the natural law.
Sin weakens the will, however, so that we choose to do what we know is wrong. The New Law of grace, the Holy Spirit in our hearts, overcomes the power of sin and enables us to do what we should. We are no longer mastered by sin. Christ has redeemed us! This means that he has given us the possibility of realizing the entire truth of our being; he has set our freedom free from the domination of concupiscence.
One way in which the Church can aid persons with a homosexual inclination is by nurturing the bonds of friendship among people. In their analysis of human nature, the ancient philosophers recognized that friendship is absolutely essential for the good life, for true happiness.
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- Homosexuality And Its Views On Homosexuality?
Friendships of various kinds are necessary for a full human life, and they are likewise necessary for those attempting to live chastely in the world. There can be little hope of living a healthy, chaste life without nurturing human bonds. It would not be wise for persons with a homosexual inclination to seek friendship exclusively among persons with the same inclination. A homosexual person can have an abiding relationship with another homosexual without genital sexual expression. Indeed the deeper need of any human is for friendship rather than genital expression.
True friendships are not opposed to chastity; nor does chastity inhibit friendship. In fact, the virtues of friendship and of chastity are ordered to each other. The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends cf. Jn , who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate.
Homosexuality and Bad Arguments - Public Discourse
Chastity is a promise of immortality. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion. While the bonds of friendship should be carefully fostered at all levels, loving friendships among the members of a family are particularly important. Those ministering in the name of the Church should encourage healthy relationships between persons with a homosexual inclination and the other members of their families.
The family can provide invaluable support to people who are striving to grow in the virtue of chastity. The local Church community is also a place where the person with a homosexual inclination should experience friendship. This community can be a rich source of human relationships and friendships, so vital to living a healthy life.
In fact, within the Church human friendship is raised to a new order of love, that of brothers and sisters in Christ.
While human friendship is indeed necessary for the good life of a human person, friendship with God constitutes our ultimate end. Every human person has been created to share in the communion of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Church to persons with a homosexual inclination must always have the overriding aim of fostering the greatest possible friendship with God, participation in the divine life of the Trinity through sanctifying grace.
Integral to friendship with God is holiness. God is holy and all who would come near to God must likewise become holy. The Church seeks to enable every person to live out the universal call to holiness. Persons with a homosexual inclination ought to receive every aid and encouragement to embrace this call personally and fully.
This will unavoidably involve much struggle and self-mastery, for following Jesus always means following the way of the Cross. These sacraments invite every person to enter into the dying and rising of Christ, for the Paschal Mystery is at the center of Christian life.
Moreover, crucial support for the spiritual struggle is to be found through diligent fostering of the Christian life, including the reading of Scripture and daily prayer. All ministry to persons with a homosexual inclination must be guided by Church teaching on sexuality. The basis of this ministry, if it is to be effective, has to be a true understanding of the human person and of the place of sexuality in human life.
The Church cannot support organizations or individuals whose work contradicts, is ambiguous about, or neglects her teaching on sexuality. This teaching offers a beacon of light and hope in the midst of considerable confusion, intense emotion, and much conflict. Within our culture, however, there are various obstacles that make it more difficult for some people to recognize the wisdom contained in this teaching. One obstacle is intolerance of those perceived as different.
It remains true that some persons identified as homosexual are victims of violence. The fact that homosexual acts are immoral may never be used to justify violence or unjust discrimination.
At the same time, there are features specific to contemporary Western culture that inhibit the reception of Church teaching on sexual issues in general and on homosexuality in particular. For example, there is a strong tendency toward moral relativism in our society. Many do not admit an objective basis for moral judgments. They recognize no acts as intrinsically evil but maintain that judgments of good and bad are entirely subjective. In this view, matters of sexual morality should be left for individuals to decide according to their own preferences and values, with the only restriction that they not cause manifest harm to another individual.
Because Church teaching insists that there are objective moral norms, there are those in our culture who portray this teaching as unjust, that is, as opposed to basic human rights. Such claims usually follow from a form of moral relativism that is joined, not without inconsistency, to a belief in the absolute rights of individuals.
A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality
In this view, the Church is perceived as promoting a particular prejudice and as interfering with individual freedom. In fact, the Church actively asserts and promotes the intrinsic dignity of every person. As human persons, persons with a homosexual inclination have the same basic rights as all people, including the right to be treated with dignity. It is not unjust to oppose granting to homosexual couples benefits that in justice should belong to marriage alone. The weakening of this basic institution at all levels and by various forces has already exacted too high a social cost.
Another common characteristic of Western societies that poses an obstacle to the reception of Church teaching is the widespread tendency toward hedonism, an obsession with the pursuit of pleasure. This tendency is closely related to the consumerism of our culture, which promotes an approach to life that is marked by a concern to maximize pleasure.
Viewed from this perspective, sexual relations are seen as simply another form of pleasure. Promiscuity is regarded as not only acceptable but normal. The virtue of chastity becomes incomprehensible. It can even appear to be an unhealthy and unnatural denial of pleasure. Moreover, there are many in our society, particularly in the advertising and entertainment industries, who make enormous profits by taking advantage of this tendency and who work to promote it by their actions.