Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sexual Behaviour and Christian Discipline

How do we stand for our principles in a world that is calling those principles intolerant and judgmental?

The article posted on LifeSiteNews,  https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/scandal-inside-the-synod-on-the-family-a-push-for-acceptance-of-homosexuali, brings this problem right out into the light.

A Catholic couple, one of six couples invited to make a presentation to the Synod of bishops in Rome, has recounted their own experience with the son of a friend. This young man is in a homosexual relationship and his family decided that the loving thing to do was to invite the same-sex couple to their Christmas celebrations.
“They fully believed in the Church’s teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family,” added the Pirolas. “Their response could be summed up in three words, ‘He is our son’.”
I can relate to this situation but my response is somewhat different.

When a couple, be they heterosexual or homosexual, seeks to be accepted by their Christian family and friends, shouldn't the response be one of truth given in love?  A wise priest once said to me that in these situations, the children pressure the parents into accepting their situation and therefore bully the parents into condoning their choice.  The parents comply because they are told by everyone that this is the loving thing to do, yet they themselves are being bullied into abandoning their principles. This is akin to emotional blackmail: the parents are being held hostage by a child who says "accept my behaviour or I will withhold my affection."  Who is being unloving here?  Aren't the parents' principles being in-tolerated?

This made me think of Alcoholics Anonymous and the companion ministry, Al-Anon. Who would encourage a family to invite an alcoholic to a Christmas gathering, knowing full well that the alcoholic would bring his bottle(s) with him?  The wise policy of Al-Anon is not to "enable" the person with the addiction, in this case the alcohol problem. Shouldn't our advice be not to "enable" the wayward child by condoning their relationship?

The family could certainly say to the person that they themselves are very welcome to the family gathering, but that their partner is not. This tells the son or daughter that they are loved by the family and still welcome to be there with them, but their choice of lifestyle will not be accepted.

The couple who addressed the Synod are opting for the "squishy", feel-good solution to a tricky situation. Who will this help in the long term?  The wrong message is given to the son or daughter and the parents and family have compromised their principles.

Love has to be tough at times; that may mean it appears to be intolerant. But the truthful approach to this problem is the more loving one in the long run.

In a recent interview with Cardinal Burke, (http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/10/interview-card-burke-our-challenges-and-authentic-pastoral-care/)  he spoke of the Church being pushed into accepting the current culture. This problem of sons and daughters choosing lifestyles that contradict Christian principles is exactly what he is talking about. When the culture encroaches on our principles, the approach must be one of pushing back, not of accepting what the culture demands in the name of tolerance. 

As for what Scripture has to say on the matter, this passage is the one that comes to my mind:

Hebrews 12:6-7: "...the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"
From my perspective, the "loving, tolerant" approach that is a mark of our present culture is the opposite of what real Christian discipline should be. If such a person were to change their lifestyle and reconsider the values of their family, would he find any faith left there?

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