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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 life-
style which features homosexual “dating” and same-sex “marriage.”

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
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.