FOCUS (jul26fcs.htm)

July 26, 2005
vol 16, no. 207

We Want a Supreme Court, Not a Supreme "Farce"

        Some History Worth Revisiting;
        Else, It Might be Repeated!

Gary L. Morella

      "Hopefully, John Roberts IS the "devout Catholic" that he's claimed to be, understanding the totality of the eternal truths of the faith, in particular, that faith enables a reason, which, in turn, reinforces it. If he's not, then President Bush will have followed in the sorry footsteps of his father. The United States of America cannot afford more Souters if it is to survive. Moreover, it will not deserve to survive, as Almighty God will not be mocked indefinitely! God will not bless a country that is no longer worthy of His blessing."

    Of late, clearly, logic, common sense, and reason are not qualifications for the Supreme Court. Is there an indication that this will change with the nomination of John Roberts by President Bush? It has been said that Roberts is a "devout Catholic." This is cause for hope, as certainly that descriptor applies to the best Justice on the Court right now, Antonin Scalia. It also must be remembered that being a Catholic in the true sense of the word means not checking your faith at the door upon entering public life, regardless of your secular vocation to particular include being a judge at the highest level. If a "devout Catholic" isn't going to correct the errors of what can only be considered the "unsettled law" of pseudo-Catholic Kennedy, per his horrendous decisions that are irrational in the extreme being assaults on both faith AND reason, e.g. Planned Barrenhood vs. Casey, and Lawrence vs. Texas, then I don't know who is. Catholics are supposed to be setting a good example for the attainment of a Kingdom not of this world with the natural leading to the supernatural.

    I have read some encouraging things about Mr. Roberts, and I hope and pray that they are true. But I also live in the reality of a Vatican II Church that accords error rights, which is why a Catholic pedigree has to be examined carefully these days given that many masquerades for Catholicism.

    While there is cause for hope, there is equally cause for concern, given reports implying that Roberts might tend to agree with the lunatic faction that "privacy trumps all, to heck with the common good." In an article appearing in Knight Ridder Newspapers nationally on Sunday, July 24, 2005, by Stephen Hendersen entitled "Roberts may bring restraint to the court," we see the following.

    His own approach?

    A look at his 2003 testimony and the opinions he's issued as a judge since then suggests he embraces a conservative judicial restraint that evokes an approach that has largely been absent from the Supreme Court for decades. If Roberts employs a restrained judicial outlook once he's confirmed, he'll probably disappoint both liberals and conservatives who look to the court for consistently favorable political results

    But on balance, court historian David Garrow said, "there's every indication that Roberts is not an ideologue or an activist."

    "If the president had wanted to pick someone like that, he had choices available. This guy doesn't look like he's going to overturn any apple carts," he said

    Roberts seems unlikely to embrace the "strict constructionist" brand of constitutional interpretation the president says he admires. Roberts said in 2003 that he found that approach helpful sometimes, but not always. He said he didn't adhere to any particular school of constitutional interpretation

    Roberts also hasn't indulged efforts to wipe away the expanded notions of individual and civil rights that have evolved

    Roberts told the Senate in 2003, for example, that the idea of a right to privacy, the foundation for Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion case, goes back much further in American law than most people think.

    That isn't an answer you'd probably get from court conservatives such as Justice Antonin Scalia or Rehnquist, who've been critical of that right. For many conservative thinkers, the constitutional right to privacy, which doesn't appear in the text of the Constitution, is the hallmark of liberal court activism.

    I will wait until Mr. Roberts makes some decisions on the court before I make mine. In particular, the judiciary must understand that man's laws are subsidiary to God's.

    Now it's time for that necessary revisiting of history.     In what can only be regarded as a "day of judicial infamy" of tyrannical proportions, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court told the country "privacy trumps all" regardless of what despicable acts are involved. That Justice Kennedy led the charge of this madness should come as no surprise since this is the same man who, in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, held that the autonomous unencumbered rights of the individual extend to the extreme that every man can define his own universe of rights with no thought whatsoever about the consequences of what happens what his universe collides with his neighbor's in the absence of universally recognized moral absolutes. The answer is easily to see for anyone still capable of rational thought - "anarchy is inevitable."

    Now, in a decision that eclipses Roe v. Wade in its monstrous illogic, this same Justice Kennedy tells the country that being inclined to aberrant unnatural changeable behavior, if performed in private, is perfectly OK with no consideration again for the consequences as a result of bastardizing the classical primary goal of the state understood from the time of Aristotle's Politics, which is promoting the "common good" of society.

    What's next, a constitutional right to bestiality? After all, the pervert [bestialist] in question, I am sure, will ensure that his despicable acts are performed in private - which makes them OK, as privacy trumps all, right? No matter that the allowance of the private act wounds society severely. Just where does Justice Kennedy's judicial madness stop? That Kennedy somehow purports to be "Catholic" boggles the mind!

    What is happening in America is the excusing of aberrant self-destructive behavior, which has been recognized as such for millennia from both faith and reason standpoints, on the part of a radical fringe that is hell-bent on getting society to confirm them in their vices under force of law. Such actions are not solitary in ANY sense. They affect society as a whole. Those responsible individuals who recognize that faith enables reason, and reason reinforces faith, i.e., faith and reason are eternally related, not divorced, are not obliged to forfeit their rights under the Constitution because a majority of the Supreme Court has lost its collective mind.

    Jacques Maritain in Man and the State reminds us of the importance of a "higher law", a natural law in regard to the limitations of the "will of the people."

    There is no need to add that the will of the people is not sovereign in the vicious sense that whatever would please the people would have the force of law. The right of the people to govern themselves proceeds from Natural Law: consequently, the very exercise of their right is subject to Natural Law. If Natural Law is sufficiently valid to give this basic right to the people, it is valid also to impose its unwritten precepts on the exercise of this same right. A law is not made just by the sole fact that it expresses the will of the people. An unjust law, even if it expresses the will of the people, is not law.

    Maritain goes on to distinguish authority from power.

    Authority and Power are two different things: Power is the force by means of which you can oblige others to obey you. Authority is the right to direct and command, to be listened to or obeyed by others. Authority requests Power. Power without authority is tyranny.

    Thus authority means right. If, in the cosmos, a nature, such as human nature, can be preserved and developed only in a state of culture, and if the state of culture necessarily entails the existence in the social group of a function of commandment and government directed to the common good, then this function is demanded by Natural Law, and implies a right to command and govern.

    Finally, since authority means right, it has to be obeyed by reason of conscience, that is, in the manner in which free men obey, and for the sake of the common good.

    But by the same token there is no authority where there is no justice. Unjust authority is not authority, as an unjust law is not law.

    Whatever the regime of political life may be, authority, that is, the right to direct and to command, derives from the people, but has its primary source in the Author of nature.

    What is this "Natural Law" that Maritain is talking about? As Socrates reasoned, it is something above power or force that gives content to the notion of justice. There is such a thing as a natural right. This is a notion, which in turn, suggests that there is a higher law or a natural law by which the positive law of the city is to be measured and judged. Saint Thomas Aquinas gives us the formal definition of such a law in the Summa Theologica I-II. He does this via a logical sequence starting with the definition of law in Question 90, presenting a formal definition for the natural law in Question 91, discussing its characteristics in Question 94, going on to present its relationship to human law in Question 95, and considering when such laws are binding in Question 96.

    Law is an ordinance of reason for the common good, decreed by authorities in charge of the community. [See ST I-II, Q. 90, a. 4.]

    Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to divine providence in a more excellent way, insofar as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others. Wherefore it has a share of the eternal reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end, and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law. Hence, the Psalmist, after saying "offer up the sacrifice of justice," as though someone asked what the works of justice are, adds: "Many say, 'Who shows us good things?'," in answer to which question he says: "The light of Your countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us"; thus, implying that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which pertains to the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the divine light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law. [See ST I-II, Q. 91, a. 2.]

    A law is a certain dictate of practical reason. Now it is to be observed that the same procedure takes place in the practical and in the speculative reason, for each proceeds from principles to conclusions. Accordingly, we conclude that just as, in the speculative reason, from naturally known indemonstrable principles we draw the conclusions of the various sciences, the knowledge of which is not imparted to us by nature but acquired by the efforts of reason, so too it is from the precepts of the natural law, as from general and indemonstrable principles, that the human reason needs to proceed to certain particular determinations of the laws. These particular determinations, devised by human reason, are called human laws. [See ST I-II, Q. 91, a. 3.]

    The precepts of the natural law are to the practical reason what the first principles of demonstrations are to the speculative reason because both are self-evident principles. Wherefore the first indemonstrable principle is that the same thing cannot be affirmed and denied at the same time, which is based on the nature of "being" and "not-being," and on this principle all others are based, as it is stated in Metaphysics IV. Now, as "being" is the first thing that falls under apprehension simply, so "good" is the first thing that falls under the apprehension of the practical reason, which is directed to action, since every agent acts for an end under the aspect of good. Consequently, the first principle in the practical reason is one founded on the notion of good, viz., that good is that which all things seek after. Hence this is the first precept of law, that good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided. All other precepts of the natural law are based upon this, so that whatever the practical naturally apprehends as man's good (or evil) belongs to the precepts of the natural law as something to be done or avoided. Since, however, good has the nature of an end, and evil the nature of a contrary, hence it is that all those things to which man has a natural inclination are naturally apprehended by reason as being good, and consequently, as objects of pursuit, and their contraries as evil and objects of avoidance. [See ST I-II, Q. 94, a. 2.]

    As regards the general principles, whether of speculative or practical reason, truth or rectitude is the same for all and is equally known by all. [See ST I-II, Q. 94. a. 4.] The natural law dates from the creation of the rational creature. It does not vary according to time but remains unchangeable. [See ST I-II, Q. 94. a. 5.]

    Augustine says, "Thy law is written in the hearts of men, which iniquity itself effaces not." But the law which is written in men's hearts is the natural law. Therefore, the natural law cannot be blotted out. [See ST I-II, Q. 94, a. 6.] [Editor's emphasis]

    As Augustine says, "that which is not just seems to be no law at all"; wherefore the force of a law depends on the extent of its justice. Now, in human affairs a thing is said to be just from being right according to the rule of reason. But the first rule of reason is the law of nature, as is clear from what has been stated above. Consequently, every human law has just so much of the nature of law as it is derived from the law of nature. But if, in any point, it deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of law. [See ST I-II, Q. 95. a. 2.] [Editor's emphasis]

    Laws framed by man are either just or unjust. If they be just, they have the power of binding in conscience from the eternal law whence they are derived, according to Pr. 8:15: "By Me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things." Now laws are said to be just from the end, when, to wit, they are ordained to the common good, and from their author, that is to say, when the law that is made does not exceed the power of the lawgiver, and from their form, when, to with, burdens are laid on the subjects according to an equality of proportion and with a view to the common good.

    Augustine says, "A law that is not just, seems to be no law at all." Where such laws do not bind in conscience. Laws may be unjust through being opposed to the divine good; such are the laws of tyrants inducing to idolatry or to anything else contrary to the divine law, and laws of this kind must nowise be observed because, as stated in Acts 5:29, "we ought to obey God rather than men." [See ST I-II, Q. 96, a. 4.] [Editor's emphasis]

    It is Aquinas's doctrine of Natural Law that is recognized as the best formulation of the understanding of a higher law that guides, restrains, and influences the will of a government or a people.

    His doctrine in relation to human law can be summarized as follows. Laws are the works of reason for the common good. The Natural Law is the participation of a rational creature in the Divine Law in that it is a participation in the wisdom and goodness of God by the human person, formed in the image of the Creator. The Natural Law expresses the dignity of the person and forms the basis of human rights and fundamental duties. For Aquinas the Eternal Law, God's will for His created universe, consists of the Divine Law, God's Eternal Law as revealed in Sacred Scripture, and the Natural Law, our participation in the Eternal Law. In turn, Human Law comes directly from the Natural Law as it is a particular demonstration of it, being the measure or norm of all human law. The Natural Law is a key to the understanding the foundation of political authority. Positive law ultimately derives its authority from the foundation of what is right by nature. If the purpose of the polis is that of societal common good, i.e., human flourishing, the lawmaker must know what are the elements of human flourishing. Aquinas identifies the fundamental goods of human flourishing from the various inclinations of the human being and the intelligible good which is achieved through such activity. He does this by observing that the rational creature has a natural inclination to its proper act or end with the first principle in the practical reason founded on the nature of the good; hence, this becomes the first precept of law: good is to be done and promoted and evil is to be avoided. All other precepts of the Natural Law are predicated on this such that all things which practical reason naturally apprehends as man's good belong to the precepts of the Natural Law under the form of things to be done or avoided. This is an immutable law that is the same for all, known by all, and not erasable. Any human law that deflects from the law of nature is no longer a law but a perversion of the law. Human laws are just or unjust. The former are binding in conscience because of their derivation from the Eternal Law via the Natural Law; the latter are not binding.

    The political relevance of the teaching of the Natural Law as a higher law can be readily appreciated in the American experience. Our founders appealed to "nature and nature's God" as the foundation for the rights which government ought to secure. See the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence below.

    When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    Orestes Brownson in "The Democratic Principle", Quarterly Review 1873, voiced a concern that the rule of law as rooted in Nature and in Nature's God might be forgotten. Such a principle declares that the will of the people is the sole foundation for political authority, an extreme version of democracy run amuck that is described as a regime to be avoided in Aristotle's Politics. What shapes or restrains the will of the people? Brownson feared the philosophy of democratic government that would brook no restraint upon the will of the majority. There is no authority above the people, not God, not nature, not Nature's God. Utility and not justice becomes the final rule of government - a doctrine that is diametrically opposed to authentic freedom leading to true human flourishing. Brownson recommended various political devices to protect freedom such as rule of law and constitutionalism but most of all he looked to the sentiments, convictions, manners, customs and habits of the people. In particular, good habits or virtues, which man needs to reach his perfection, the acquisition of which is acquired through training. [See ST I-II, Q. 96, a. 3.] The people must acknowledge a moral law that guides and forms their conscience. Without moral order, and divine sanction, Brownson thought that the teaching of the democratic principle would corrupt a free people. Brownson was right. Moreover, without the moral order, without some type of a realization that there are absolute immutable truths in accord with the Natural Law, corruption of a free people is guaranteed with anarchy the only possible result, and the eventual destruction of civilization as we know it.

    We will now look at the importance of a higher law in regard to two contemporary issues, abortion and homosexuality. We will do this by asking some rhetorical questions pertaining to Aquinas's tenets of the Natural Law, specifically, the inclinations of human beings to their proper end.

    Recall Aquinas's first level of human inclination, common to all beings, is to do good and to avoid evil with the primary good on this level being one's preservation in affirming life, not destroying it. How are killing innocents, in what should be their safest place of refuge - their mothers' wombs, affirming life? How is promoting sexual perversion, which leads to an inordinate amount of sickness and death in the homosexual community relative to the total population, affirming life? The second level of inclination, common to all animals, was the preservation of family and children. How is aborting children preserving them and perfecting the family? What does the celebration of homosexuality have to do with any sane concept of the traditional family as opposed to a bastardization of it? How can homosexuals have children when the very act of homosexuality carried to the limit guarantees their extinction? The third level of inclination is distinctively human as a political being, the forming of associations, acknowledging the good and fairness of getting along with others with concomitant concepts of justice. How are killing human beings for the sake of expediency for specious reasons of female "reproductive rights" going to provide for political associations when humans are eliminated? Where is the justice for the unborn? What about their rights to existence? What associations can be formed among homosexuals that will lead to societal common good given that homosexuality has been proven to lead to physical and psychological ruin? In regard to the final level of inclination, how can the truth about God be known by violating His commandments, which is what abortion and living homosexual lifestyles do?

    Yves Simon in Philosophy of Democratic Government is careful to point out that only in the gravest circumstances do the people have a right to exercise, albeit in limited fashion, a power greater than that of the governing personnel, which the governing personnel received by the act of transmission via a duly proper election procedure. This is the right to undertake campaigns of intense opinion for decision-making purposes. When conditions are so bad that these campaigns of opinion must act in a decision capacity as opposed to their more proper consultative capacity is the criteria that Simon uses for their proper choice in the former capacity. I respectfully submit that, given the current state of the United States of America, where hedonism is promoted as a cause celebre by our legislators, judges, and government administrators, to include particularly those calling themselves Catholic, such a grave condition exists and has existed for some time. In short, in regard to abortion and homosexuality, we are not dealing with just laws in a Natural Law sense and, as such, we are bound by our informed consciences not to obey them.

    I heard the pro-sodomite Human Rights Campaign reiterating the equal protection clause on FOX News as justification for the horrendous Supreme Farce decision in Lawrence vs. Texas.

    What's equal about the natural vs. the unnatural? Why doesn't anyone immediately answer the HRC's aforementioned insane equation with that question, i.e., "What's natural about equating an orifice used solely for waste with one for reproduction?"

    However, there is a more important point to be made. When you divorce the procreative from the unitive aspects of the marital act, which is what is done via contraception, you have just put a severe constraint on your arguments. Recall that, in God's plan per Genesis, we're procreating for Heaven. See The Forgotten Teaching of Casti Connubii

    The following section from Casti Connubii speaks particularly to the sodomite bastardization of marriage in regard to the just punishment deserved by replacing sanctity in accord with the natural and divine laws of God with the hedonism of the devil!

    By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God's decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises. Hence the nature of this contract, which is proper and peculiar to it alone, makes it entirely different both from the union of animals entered into by the blind instinct of nature alone in which neither reason nor free will plays a part, and also from the haphazard unions of men, which are far removed from all true and honorable unions of will and enjoy none of the rights of family life. {Para. 7}

    From this it is clear that legitimately constituted authority has the right and therefore the duty to restrict, to prevent, and to punish those base unions which are opposed to reason and to nature; but since it is a matter which flows from human nature itself, no less certain is the teaching of Our predecessor, Leo XIII of happy memory: "In choosing a state of life there is no doubt but that it is in the power and discretion of each one to prefer one or the other: either to embrace the counsel of virginity given by Jesus Christ, or to bind himself in the bonds of matrimony. To take away from man the natural and primeval right of marriage, to circumscribe in any way the principal ends of marriage laid down in the beginning by God Himself in the words 'Increase and multiply,' is beyond the power of any human law." {Para. 8}

    Casti Connubii makes it very clear that the primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children. Man does not just reproduce for survival of the species, which is something that any animal is instinctively capable of doing. Rather, man, made in the Image and Likeness of God, procreates to increase the population of Heaven, which was God's intent for man at creation.

    Since, however, We have spoken fully elsewhere on the Christian education of youth, let us sum it all up by quoting once more the words of St. Augustine: "As regards the offspring it is provided that they should be begotten lovingly and educated religiously," - and this is also expressed succinctly in the Code of Canon Law - "The primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children." {Para. 17}

    Nor must We omit to remark, in fine, that since the duty entrusted to parents for the good of their children is of such high dignity and of such great importance, every use of the faculty given by God for the procreation of new life is the right and the privilege of the married state alone, by the law of God and of nature, and must be confined absolutely within the sacred limits of that state. {Para. 18}

    It does not get any clearer than the following sections from Casti Connubii as to what man's priorities are given that the "first blessing of matrimony" is the procreation of children.

    The second blessing of matrimony which We said was mentioned by St. Augustine, is the blessing of conjugal honor which consists in the mutual fidelity of the spouses in fulfilling the marriage contract, so that what belongs to one of the parties by reason of this contract sanctioned by divine law, may not be denied to him or permitted to any third person; nor may there be conceded to one of the parties anything which, being contrary to the rights and laws of God and entirely opposed to matrimonial faith, can never be conceded. {Para. 19}

    Wherefore, conjugal faith, or honor, demands in the first place the complete unity of matrimony which the Creator Himself laid down in the beginning when He wished it to be not otherwise than between one man and one woman. And although afterwards this primeval law was relaxed to some extent by God, the Supreme Legislator, there is no doubt that the law of the Gospel fully restored that original and perfect unity, and abrogated all dispensations as the words of Christ and the constant teaching and action of the Church show plainly. With reason, therefore, does the Sacred Council of Trent solemnly declare: "Christ Our Lord very clearly taught that in this bond two persons only are to be united and joined together when He said: 'Therefore they are no longer two, but one flesh.'" {Para. 20}

    Nor did Christ Our Lord wish only to condemn any form of polygamy or polyandry, as they are called, whether successive or simultaneous, and every other external dishonorable act, but, in order that the sacred bonds of marriage may be guarded absolutely inviolate, He forbade also even willful thoughts and desires of such like things: "But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart." Which words of Christ Our Lord cannot be annulled even by the consent of one of the partners of marriage for they express a law of God and of nature which no will of man can break or bend. {Para. 21}

    Nay, that mutual familiar intercourse between the spouses themselves, if the blessing of conjugal faith is to shine with becoming splendor, must be distinguished by chastity so that husband and wife bear themselves in all things with the law of God and of nature, and endeavor always to follow the will of their most wise and holy Creator with the greatest reverence toward the work of God. {Para. 22}

    The sodomite faction uses the sophistry of the former nonsensical equal rights analogy along with the prevalence of contracepting and aborting generations into oblivion to say, that "What are we doing that's so unlike what you're doing?"

    What I am referring to here is traditional Catholic teaching rooted in Genesis where the call by God for man to multiply is to populate Heaven, i.e., we're not reproducing solely for natural reasons for survival of the species. We're going beyond that in accord with God's reason for creating us. God made us to show forth His Goodness, to know, love and serve Him in this life, and especially to share an eternity with Him in the next. To come to the point, we're procreating for supernatural reasons, to populate Heaven. That is the reason for the sexual complimentarity of the sexes, a supreme gift to mankind from God, a gift to be cherished, not bastardized by the blasphemous extension of it to unnatural acts.

    This extension is made easier by the divorce of the unitive from the procreative in regard to the sexual act, which is not possible if we are obedient to the Will of God. Once this divorce is made, the sodomites can say, we're doing exactly the same as you are, i.e, seeking sexual pleasure for its own sake. What's your problem? By embracing contraception, we make it difficult to answer this question with the force that we can in union with our observations about the unnaturalness of the act as opposed to heterosexual sex.

    If man makes himself, through contraception, the arbiter of when life begins, he will predictably make himself the arbiter of when life ends. Contraception prevents life while abortion kills existing life. Both involve the deliberate separation of the unitive and procreative aspects of sex, which cannot be separated according to Natural Law principles. A contraceptive society requires, moreover, demands abortion to the point of insuring that a dead baby always occurs as a result of the intrusion of the abortionist into what should be the safest place in the universe for a baby, its mothers womb, regardless of whether the abortion is "botched" and the baby somehow is delivered alive in the manner God intended. Man needs the insanity of a "born-alive infants act" to combat the heinous evil of infanticide, insanity in the sense that we have digressed as a society to the point of being unable to recognize First Degree Murder for what it is. The availability of abortion is also a factor in the decision of some to engage in sexual relations without using contraception. Many contraceptives are abortificient in that they cause the destruction of the developing human being, RU-486 being the prime example.

    The Church recognizes that having a sexual-genital attraction to another person of the same sex can never lead to a morally good act between the two individuals, but rather will always lead to an immoral act as the unitive and procreative aspects of sexuality are violated.

    Where the procreative and unitive aspects of sexuality are violated is by the unnatural acts of homosexuality which is why the Church teaches that any orientation to this behavior is objectively disordered, i.e., it is an orientation to a misuse of human sexuality, an orientation to acts which are sins against nature and nature's God. The unitive is violated because the plumbing doesn't work, i.e., man wasn't created physically for homosexual acts; the procreative is a consequence of this fact.

    Heterosexual attraction is natural to man and woman (Catholic Catechism #2333), while homosexual tendencies are unnatural. Heterosexual attraction is God-given, and for the vast majority of the human race, leads to marriage, children, and family; same-sex attractions are an objective disorder, but not sinful in themselves (CDF Statement, 1986, sect. 3). One often hears this objection to the term "objective disorder" being applied to homosexual tendencies: "If a man lusts for a woman or vice versa, this too is an objective disorder." But this is not so, because, if the man or woman controls this natural attraction, and wills to express it in the natural state of marriage, it is a good thing, desired by the Creator. But if one has a sexual-genital attraction to another person of the same sex, it can NEVER lead to a morally good act between the two individuals, but rather it will ALWAYS lead to an immoral act. That is why it is called an objective disorder.

    To say that the "Church does not ask homosexuals to deny their homosexuality" implies somehow that homosexuality is a gift from God - another obfuscation of Church teaching reinforced by the latest research in regard to homosexuality and orientation toward it. The Church clearly is teaching those inclined to homosexual lifestyles out of unconditional love for them that they are embarking down a road leading elsewhere than to salvation per the Catechism.

    The word "orientation" has serious theological implications. If you believe that some people are essentially homosexual, you turn Christian anthropology on its head. Christianity holds that we are all heterosexual in our God-given nature, though some heterosexuals have a problem with same-sex attractions. If you believe that homosexuality is part of a person's nature, given by God, then homosexual acts become a fulfillment of a person's God-given nature, and that has never been the Catholic teaching.

    Dr. Janet Smith of Ave Maria College in "Aquinas's Natural Law Theory and Homosexuality", Homosexuality And American Public Life ed. by Christopher Wolfe, tells us that no thinker is as closely associated with Natural Law theory as Thomas Aquinas, which is why his thought is a point of departure for those who appeal to the Natural Law tradition in arguing against the validity of a homosexual lifestyle. Similarly, those who wish to undermine the Natural Law understanding of homosexuality, of necessity, must attack or attempt to reinterpret Aquinas. For if Aquinas's understanding of homosexuality would turn out to be groundless or incoherent, the Natural Law approach to this question could be vitiated.

    There are several fundamental principles that one must keep in mind when interpreting Aquinas's Natural Law teachings: 1) Aquinas understands God to be the author of nature and thus what is natural is good. 2) The primary meaning of the word "nature" for Aquinas is not physical or biological but ontological in that "nature" most precisely refers to the essence of a substance, in the case of man, to a substance that is a unity of spirit and body. 3) Natural Law ethics and virtue ethics are integrally related for virtues are a perfection of man's nature. All sins are a violation of some virtue. 4) Since the Fall, man's physical nature and intellectual nature are flawed and thus can mislead him in his actions. Aquinas is concerned about what is fitting for man's final end (telos). What is fitting in this sense is what is ordered to the good, not what is objectively disordered. His concern about this "good ordering" is centered around its leading to the perfection of one's nature toward this final end, which leads to the union of body and soul, the soul being the form of the body. So Aquinas has a very metaphysical purpose in defining nature in that the soul cannot be divorced from the body in an eternal sense.

    Although Aquinas speaks of the good of sexuality as being "the propagation of the species", the propagation of the human species should not be understood in the same way as the propagation of all other species, since humans have immortal souls and are destined not just to contribute to the longevity of the species but also possess an intrinsic value in their own right. Humans in generating offspring are not just preserving the species; they are "multiplying individuals", i.e., they are helping to populate Heaven (not earth). Thus, humans not only reproduce; more properly they procreate. They participate in the coming to be of a new human soul. God is the Creator of each and every human soul but He requires the provision of matter by human beings in order to affect the coming to be of a new human being (body and soul). Semen, then, (and the ova) is part of the matter into which God infuses the human soul. To deliberately misuse semen, or the ova, i.e., to use them in a way that prevents them from providing the matter for new human life, is to violate a great good in a metaphysical sense, which is against the Natural Law. Man is not allowing God to be God. Thus, the "natural" in the Natural Law for Aquinas not only applies to "natural" in a biological sense, i.e., a violation of the plumbing, but more properly to "natural" in a supernatural sense, where metaphysics is the path of reason to the Divine.

    Joe Sobran wrote a good column a few months ago addressing just this topic when he said that we're all sodomites in that sense.

    I will quote from Sobran's article The Traditional Catholic and Liberal Cultures, which appeared in The Latin Mass, A Journal of Catholic Culture, Vol. 12, No.2 Spring 2003 pp. 34-37.

    We're All Sodomites now," crows the title of an essay by the only sodomite columnist Andrew Sullivan, who claims to be both Catholic and a conservative. How times have changed, one sighs for the hundredth time. Sodomite, conservative, and Catholic? What happened to the country - the world - we were born in?

    Sullivan does have a point, though. In days of yore, "sodomy" had a broader range of meaning than homosexuality. It referred to a wide variety of perverse sexual practices, including contraception, in which nonprocreative sexual pleasure was sought for its own sake. And since about 95 per cent of American married couples now use contraception, Sullivan argues, under the old definition nearly everyone now qualifies as a sodomite, one way or another. Sodomy has become normal.

    Who are Moses and St. Paul against Gallup?

    Sullivan's real "point" is that once you legitimize "unnatural sex" in any form, there are no limits. One possible conclusion is that Sullivan is right, and all is well. Another is that we are now seeing the social cost of disregarding strict Catholic teaching on sexual morality.

    The Catholic Church is now isolated in upholding the "old" morality. What was not so long ago the consensus of Christians has become "the Catholic position," or as it is called in some quarters "the Vatican position," since the American bishops have become rather notably silent and noncommittal about it.

    As a middle-aged Catholic, I feel an increasingly deep pity for young Catholics, who hardly know - and can hardly be expected to take seriously - a teaching so at odds with contemporary culture that their own pastors rarely dare to assert it. The only world they know is one in which fornication (now known as "premarital intercourse," and not even confined to a prospective spouse), sodomy ("gay sex"), and abortion ("choice") have become "rights," not only legal but moral.

    It is no use blaming the young for this. They have been spiritually disinherited. How can they know? They rarely even realize there was once, and not so long ago, another and better world, in which "the Catholic position" was the anchor of nearly universal moral presumptions. In that world, fornication was shameful, and the sodomite and the abortionist (not the "abortion provider") were figures of horror and disgust.

    For my generation that world is only a fading memory. For the young it is not even that. People now approaching middle age have no recollection of when abortion was a crime. . .

    With the confusion of Catholics has come the defilement of America. The America of 2003 would have been unrecognizable, and utterly appalling, to the America of 1961, when I was baptized. Catholics wanted to be good Americans; and it seems that they have succeeded only too well. Will Christ, at the Last Judgment, congratulate them on having assimilated so perfectly to this America?

    It would have been better for them, and better for America, if the Church in this country had remained less adaptable to the environment, teaching her children that keeping the Faith was still, and would always be, a stern duty.

    Hopefully, John Roberts IS the "devout Catholic" that he's claimed to be, understanding the totality of the eternal truths of the faith, in particular, that faith enables a reason, which, in turn, reinforces it. If he's not, then President Bush will have followed in the sorry footsteps of his father. The United States of America cannot afford more Souters if it is to survive. Moreover, it will not deserve to survive, as Almighty God will not be mocked indefinitely! God will not bless a country that is no longer worthy of His blessing.

Gary L. Morella

    July 26, 2005
    vol 16, no. 207