The intention of LGBT members to respond to the injustices done to our brothers and sisters with a unique social orientation of irregular sexual identity is shared by the Catholic Church. The social teachings of the Church, which inspired the original Belize Constitution, have always encouraged the right and dignity of every human person. While one could see how a radical hate group could conflict with the LGBT message, the question arises, why is there considered a tension between the Catholic Church and the group of persons that identify with LGBT when they both claim to promote the dignity of the person?
It is good to note that the Catholic Church has promoted the dignity of the human person for about 2,000 years, while the LGBT group has taken up this rights movement more recently. This scenario becomes better understood when we define our terms and remain open to dialogue. The tension is not found in the intention to promote the dignity of every person in the LGBT movement.
Although they seem to disagree with the source of that dignity, it is the Catholic Church and other Christian churches that remind us we are all made in the image and likeness of God, and each person has an infinite value. It is entirely possible in the future in Belize, that with dialogue, the members of the LGBT group may find in the Catholic Church an ally in promoting the dignity of every person regardless of sexual orientation or sexual identity.
In that case, they would join the many persons around the world who are attracted to persons of the same sex and have already found in the Catholic Church a refuge and support.
So why the tension? Good question. In fact, the tension often comes from many people who do not know what the Church teaches, speaking for the Church. This happens both in and outside of the Church. This can certainly be improved through a culture of encounter and dialogue.
The real area of disagreement, and the underlying reason so many LGBT persons have failed to enter dialogue with the Catholic Church and benefit from her wisdom, is human sexuality. The disagreement is about the purpose and meaning of sex. The two bodies have two irreconcilable understandings about sex. This is not a small disagreement.
How a culture views sex affects how the next generation views life and marriage. From this come their views on family, on education, and even the just ordering of society through ethics and politics.
It is especially significant in this case, since the LGBT group is arguably united by its political activism or by an expansive definition of sex, which is completely severed from its unitive and procreative nature. Rather, personal satisfaction or expression or the partner’s satisfaction is the essential criterion for happiness and the LGBT person’s reason for sexual activity. Such a definition of sex embraces vice, encourages consensual unnatural acts, and leads to a very different expression of family. This erroneous definition of sex would eventually harm democracy if it would be taught in schools and embraced by the majority.
On the other hand, the Catholic Church teaches that sex is both passionate and purposeful. The sexual intimacy shared between husband and wife is an expression of their love that unites them in a unique way, and obviously, it is an act that can lead to bringing a new child and Belizean citizen into the world.
This definition of sex and family is the only one that is able to preserve the right of a child to be raised by his or her biological parents. This unique benefit to society of marriage between a man and woman is also a reason why the government gives benefits to a committed husband and wife and not to other expressions of sexual relationships, no matter how committed they may be.
Belize is changing, but leaders must be careful not to shift from foundation principles that sever the current generation from the past. It is the responsibility of each generation to take up the torch of previous generations and to contribute to future generations.
This generation of Belizeans must decide on what definition of sex they want for their lives and on what value system they want to build their marriages and families for future generations — “As the family goes, so goes the nation1.”
This choice is more urgent to the identity of Belize than the ICJ decision on the physical borders. What this generation decides will determine which of two very different directions Belize will go in the future.
(1Saint John Paul II)
Fr. Scott Giuliani, SOLT