And They Were Handed Over to Degradation
October 11, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Romans 1:16-25) Gospel (St. Luke 11:37-41)
In the first reading today, Saint Paul speaks about those who have suppressed what could be known of God and what is of truth and that they have chosen to worship a creature rather than the Creator. We are told that God therefore handed them over to their lusts and they did degrading things. If we read the context of what Saint Paul is speaking of (this comes from the first chapter of his Letter to the Romans), he is speaking of those who practice homosexual acts. If we look around our country today, we see there is an epidemic that is going on and it is satanically induced. There can be no doubt about where this is coming from. Suddenly, there is this explosion of people who somehow have just suddenly realized that they are attracted to people of their own sex and they are acting upon it. It is something which is completely against nature, it is something which is completely degrading, and it is something which is completely sinful.
Now we need to make a very clear distinction. The orientation by itself, that is, the attraction to a person of one’s own sex, while that is disordered it is not sinful; to act upon it, however, is always and in every instance something that is sinful, just as to act on a heterosexual orientation outside of marriage is always and in every instance sinful. Just because there is an attraction does not mean there is the possibility of acting upon it. The only place where any kind of sexual activity is acceptable is within the context of marriage. Even within the context of marriage, things must be proper and they must be chaste. There are very clear boundaries as to where even a married couple is able to go with things so that, once again, they do not violate one another’s dignity and they do not do anything that is going to be degrading.
Saint Paul tells us very clearly with regard to this particular sin of homosexuality that the wrath of God is going to be revealed from heaven. We live in a sex-saturated society, not merely homosexuality but all kinds of perversions: the child pornography, the child prostitution, all of the hideous forms of sexual degradation that have taken hold in this world. And rather than repenting, people are giving themselves into it more and more.
Somebody in the House of Representatives of the United States seized on an opportunity a couple of weeks ago. They attached a bill to the emergency aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina making it a hate crime in the United States to speak out against homosexuality. The way that it is written is that if it is perceived–that is all it requires–if it is perceived by someone that what was said may have been a hate crime it is punishable by twenty years in prison. The Senate has not yet passed the bill, but they passed one similar to it already so it is expected that it is going to pass and be approved. Some of us will be going soon to jail, I guess, but that is the way it works. The truth is the truth and we cannot back off of the truth. Just because someone wants to legislate immorality, just because someone wants to legislate filth does not make it okay. It is legal in our society to have pornography; that does not make it okay anymore than it is legal in our society to kill babies and we can suggest that is okay. Neither is it legal to act upon any kind of immoral desire, whether toward a person of one’s own sex or toward the opposite; it matters not. It is all wrong. The difference is that at least one is natural and one is completely unnatural.
The saints tell us with regard to this despicable form of degradation that it is completely fostered by the demons. They tell us it is so gross and so disgusting that the demons incite two men toward one another and they have to turn away because they cannot look upon what is happening. When the demons have to turn around because they cannot watch it, what should that tell us about how offensive this is to God? Yet our society and so many others now are making progress in legalizing these sorts of things and even suggesting that two persons of the same sex can be “married.” It is not a possibility. And just because they want to try to legislate something that is immoral does not, cannot, and will not ever make it acceptable.
We must stand with Jesus Christ and we must stand on the very words of Saint Paul, who was willing to go to prison for the Gospel. He said, I am not ashamed of the Gospel. None of us can ever be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the truth. If we must go to jail or even be killed for the truth then praise God! Jesus Christ is the truth and He was killed for that reason. Saint Paul went to prison for the same purpose, as did many of the other saints. If we have an opportunity now in our society to suffer for the sake of the Gospel then we need to count our blessings that we have been found worthy to suffer on behalf of the Name. But under any circumstances, never be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.