On Wednesday 21st October, 2020, the news headlines egregiously captured the World’s attention with the title, “Pope Francis endorses same sex Union!”
“How can it be so and yet he is a church leader who is supposed to defend the ‘moral code’ of the society?” Some are even calling it double standards and great apostasy.
So what exactly happened?
Quoting the statement of the Bishop of Rome, “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it”. And he continued, “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered…I stood up for that.” It is basically finding a solution to a moral problem not in the Church but in the legislature.
So when did same-sex marriage become a new normal and not a perversion as it has been taken by major religious groups and moralists?
To what can we peg this strange boldness? All these could be attributed to the sex revolution. The sexual revolution, also known as a time of sexual liberation, was a social uprising that defied the traditional codes of conduct related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the United States and as a result , the wider world, from the 1960s to the 1980s.Sexual liberation included increased acceptance of sex outside of traditional heterosexual, monogamous relationships (primarily marriage). The normal use of of contraception and the pill, public nudity, pornography, premarital sex, homosexuality, masturbation, alternative forms of sexuality, and the legalization of abortion all followed.
This revolution has never lacked ardent proponents irrespective of its negative consequences in the Society. The Western World has been severely affected unlike the African Continent, that for sometime have depended on the moral code of the society, and which now, is slowly but surely becoming a relic of the past.
So what Should the Position of the Church be in all these?
These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15
While giving his pastoral counsel to Timothy, Paul calls the Church, the pillar and ground for truth. He means that if something must be found in church, or if something must be supported by the Church, then it has to be true and honest and of good report.
Human sexuality is changing in the society today. We knew about male and female, but today you will hear about agender,gender non-conforming and many more. The master designer only had two in mind, for thus goes the straight testimony, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” . KJV Genesis 1:27.
Authority of the Church is not gained from political good will of the ruling regime, but from the inspired writings. The position of the Bible is simply male and female, and the Church is only true to defend this, without worrying about political correctness.
But as knowledge increases and the spirit of innovation and invention takes course, a lot has come which cannot clearly be attributed to fixing any clear-cut gap in the human civilisation. When Cyrus Hall McCormick invented a Harvesting Machine in 1902, he solved a problem in the field of large scale farming. When Karl von Drais invented a bicycle in 1817, he was responding to a gap in the transport industry. So a question need to be answered, “What gap is the inventors of Same sex marriage fulfilling?” This is more of a moral and personality issue, and so can we reasonably substantiate a gap? Is it sound to solve a moral lapse by creating a law to accommodate it? Well, this demands a decided position. There is no room for vacillating between two extremes. It is like solving the problem of homicides by legal sanction simply because people are rigid and repugnant concerning its practice.
The great issue here is not a question of if we should sanitize same sex marriage and create a folder for it in the family set up, no, but how to treat those who thinks it’s okay, or who are actively practicing it. Amending our laws to respect it, is just absurd. But we can be human enough to recognise it as another moral leakage, that we cannot solve by angry rebuttal, but by understanding and acceptance. This does not make their act virtuous, but simply applying a simple criterion of zero censure when dealing with human weakness.
While the Pontifex Maximus might have spoken as an individual, His position is too conspicuous to be ignored. When you are a leader, you cease to be a private entity. While serving as a President of a Nation, you may get drunk and disorderly as a personality, but the news headlines will be clobbered with breaking news, “The President of Country XYZ Failed in Sobriety”. You may claim that you were drunk, not as a President, but as an individual, but it won’t make any difference. When you become a leader, you identify with an entity you’re administering. So while Pope Francis may have given His sincere opinions as an individual, His opinion suffers a High Risk of being interpreted as the position of the Vatican City( Where he administers politically) or the Church of Rome, which he administers Spiritually. A leader is a mouthpiece of the entity represented.