One “Catholic” university appears to think Jesus said in the Gospels, “Go and sin a lot more.” The University of Notre Dame tweeted out support for LGBTQ+ Pride on June 1, announcing it “celebrate[s] all LGBTQ+ identities.” While all people have inherent dignity as made by God and deserve respect, both Catholic teaching and the Bible explicitly condemn homosexuality as a grave sin and affirm the reality of two biological sexes.
Notre Dame tweeted, “Happy #PrideMonth! We celebrate all LGBTQ+ identities and reaffirm our commitment to being a welcoming, safe, and supportive place for ALL members of the Notre Dame family.” The tweet added, “We see you. We’re glad you’re here. You are an important member of our community.”
Happy #PrideMonth! We celebrate all LGBTQ+ identities and reaffirm our commitment to being a welcoming, safe and supportive place for ALL members of the Notre Dame family.
We see you. We’re glad you’re here. You are an important member of our community. pic.twitter.com/b0ou28Iia8
— University of Notre Dame (@NotreDame) June 1, 2023
Notre Dame wasn’t the only ostensibly Catholic entity celebrating Pride yesterday. Outreach, a group that is specifically LGBTQ and “Catholic,” tweeted, “Outreach wishes all LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ Catholics, a happy Pride Month! 🏳️🌈.” The tweet linked to an article from Outreach editor and borderline-heretical Fr. James Martin. Fr. Martin ignored all the Bible verses about homosexuality to give an emotion-driven argument for why “it’s important for churches to mark Pride Month,” partly because “in many countries, being LGBTQ is a life and death issue.”
Of course, as of 2019, all the countries where a person can be executed for being homosexual were majority-Muslim, so I don’t know how that has anything to do with Christian churches. But Fr. Martin, like so many other Christians, makes the mistake of thinking that loving people and inviting them to church requires that we affirm or ignore their sinful lifestyles. This is not true.
In fact, any Christian who truly loves his fellow humans will do everything he can, in charity, to turn them from a sinful lifestyle that could send them to hell. That is certainly what Jesus did. His healings or interventions twice end with the command, “Go and sin no more” (John 5:14, 8:11).
Outreach wishes all LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ Catholics, a happy Pride Month! 🏳️🌈https://t.co/fgJUTHdvDc
— Outreach (@OutrchCatholic) June 1, 2023
In fact, when Jesus heals the man with palsy or paralysis (Luke 5:18-26, Mark 2:1-12), He forgives the man’s sins before healing him. As terrible as the man’s physical state was, his spiritual state was apparently worse and in more urgent need of healing.
There is something else noteworthy. God, of course, is all-powerful, but He will not force us to choose forgiveness. In other words, unless a person is willing or eager for forgiveness, that person’s sins are not forgiven. If a person proudly continues in his sins, then, based on both biblical and Catholic teaching, the man’s sins are not forgiven. Mercy is a gift that has to be accepted. Peter the Apostle accepted it; Judas did not seek it. And Jesus therefore called Judas the “son of perdition” (John 17:12).
Indeed, Notre Dame and Outreach are pushing an ideology explicitly condemned both by the Bible and by Catholic teaching. The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is a sinful perversion and that it is impossible to change one’s sex. LGBTQ people need prayers and loving help, not affirmation of their problematic lifestyles.
It’s interesting that being LGBTQ isn’t just bad for your spiritual health, but also for your physical and mental health. Homosexual men are at much higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. A significant majority of LGBTQ people (about two out of three), particularly youth, experience depression — higher than the ordinary average. That hasn’t changed because Target and Starbucks put up rainbow banners and the government treats LGBTQ as celebrity heroes. It’s almost as if God didn’t intend people to be homosexual and transgender.
So what exactly does the Bible say about practicing homosexuality? It turns out there are some pretty strong condemnations of homosexuality in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament. From St. Paul:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error…Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them. —Romans 1:25-27, 32
St. Paul also addresses homosexuality in the First Letter to the Corinthians, when he says that those who practice certain sins cannot be part of the kingdom of God:
Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God. —1 Corinthians 6:9-10
This translation is accurate but can be a little confusing. To be clearer, the original Greek word being translated here as “liers with mankind,” ἀρσενοκοῖται, means literally “men engaged in sexual activity with the same sex.” So it would be equally accurate to translate ἀρσενοκοῖται as “homosexuals.”
Homosexuality is addressed in the Old Testament too. Leviticus 18:22 says, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” The most famous Bible story about homosexuality is Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 19, two angels visit Abraham’s nephew Lot in the disguise of men, to warn Lot that Sodom and Gomorrah — where he lives — will be destroyed for their sins. A mob of men shows up at Lot’s house (Genesis 19:5) to demand that he send out his male guests, “that we may know them.” To “know” someone is often used in the Old Testament of sexual relations (for instance Genesis 4:1).
Lot, who seems to be a good host but a questionable father, offers, “I have two daughters who as yet have not known man: I will bring them out to you, and abuse you them as it shall please you, so that you do no evil to these men.” (Genesis 19:8) The Sodomites refuse Lot’s startling offer and become so importunate they almost break down the doors. The angels rescue Lot and blind the Sodomites.
Sodom and Gomorrah are subsequently destroyed with “brimstone and fire” by the Lord God (Genesis 19:24). The older name for homosexuality is “sodomy” because of this Bible story.
Finally, the Old Testament makes it very clear that there are two sexes, not 700+ “genders.” The reality of male and female is based in the biology given by God, so it is wrong to mutilate oneself to try and alter that biological reality.
And [God] said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. —Genesis 1:26-28
Of course God wants all people, including LGBTQ individuals, to come to church and experience his love. But God will then, because of his love, send them forth with the command that Notre Dame and Outreach should echo, “Go and sin no more.”