The Bible, Tradition, and Catechism on Homosexuality, Sexual
Morality, and Marriage
The Bible on Homosexual Behavior, Sexual
Morality, and Marriage (linked below)
The Church Fathers and early Christian Writers on
Homosexual Behavior, Pederasty, and Sexual Immorality (linked below)
Some argue that neither the Bible nor apostolic tradition condemns
the practice of homosexuality. Passages such as Genesis 19 (the
destruction of Sodom); Exod 20:14; Lev 18:22;
Lev 20:13; Deut 5:18; Matt 5:27-28; Matt 15:17-20; Rom 1:24-32; 1 Cor 6:9-11,17-20;
Gal 5:16-21; Heb 13:1-5; 1 Thess 4:1-8; 1 Tim 1:8-11; Jude 1:5-8; 2
Peter 2:6-9; Rev
21:8 all serve as ample proof that Scripture indeed condemns
homosexuality, adultery, and sexual immorality in its many forms.
Below is ample proof from tradition. The Fathers are especially harsh
against the practice of pederasty, which is the homosexual
corruption of younger boys by adult men.
The Catechism on Homosexual Behavior, Sexual
Morality, and Marriage (linked below)
SUMMARY: Based on Scripture and Tradition....
- Homosexual acts are acts of "grave depravity" and are
- Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law and close the
sexual act to the gift of life;
- Homosexual acts do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual
- Under no circumstances can they be approved.
However, although the inclination to homosexuality is
- Homosexual persons must be accepted with respect,
compassion, and sensitivity;
- Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be
- These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and,
if Christians, unite themselves to the sacrifice of the Lord;
- Homosexual persons are called to chastity;
- Christ is the model of chastity.
THE BIBLE ON HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR, SEXUAL MORALITY, AND MARRIAGE
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him a helper fit for him.' ....But for Adam there was not
found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall
upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its
place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man
he made into a woman and brought her to the man....That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the
And the LORD said, "The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great,
and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know."
Genesis 19 (the judgment and destruction of Sodom, NIV
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of
Sodom -- both young and old -- surrounded the house. They called to Lot,
"Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with
them." Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, "No, my friends.
Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But
don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof." "Get out of our way," they replied. "This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them." They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door....
Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah -- from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities -- and also the vegetation in the
land. But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord.
He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
"Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is
detestable [or an abomination]."
"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them
have done what is detestable [or an abomination]. They must be put to death; their blood
will be on their own heads."
NOTE: The Hebrew word translated 'detestable' (NIV) or
'abomination' (KJV) is To'evah and in verb form means: "to
detest, abhor, to act abhorrently." It is used 22 times in the
Old Testament, cf. Deut 23:7; Job 19:19; Job 30:10; Psalm 5:6; Psalm
14:1; Psalm 119:163; Micah 3:9 (see Brown, Can You Be Gay and
Christian?, page 117-118). Also:
- the word 'abomination' or 'detestable' often has
moral overtones in the Hebrew Scriptures and consistently refers to
things that God's people should abhor; and
- while there were many laws that God gave to the people of Israel
to keep them separate from the nations, the laws against
homosexual practice were universal in scope and intent -- not
just for Israel but for all nations (see especially Lev
18:24-30; Brown, Can You Be Gay and Christian?, page
Jesus on Marriage of one man and one woman:
"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and
female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be
united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no
longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not
And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
Jesus on adulteries (plural) and fornications (plural):
And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts,
adulteries [plural], fornications [plural], murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man."
"Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries [plural], fornications [plural], thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man."
Jesus on the judgment and destruction of Sodom:
"Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city...."
"And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in
Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. "Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for
the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you."
"I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city...."
"It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building;
but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed."
Jesus on 'eunuchs' and the gift of celibacy:
But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it."
Some 'gay theologians' have suggested the 'eunuchs' Jesus talks about
were actually homosexuals or those 'born gay' -- but according to the
online Wikipedia, a eunuch in Jesus' day is defined as:
"A eunuch (Ancient Greek: εὐνοῦχος) is a man who (by the common definition of the term) may have been
castrated, typically early enough in his life for this change to have major hormonal consequences. In some ancient texts, 'eunuch' may refer to a man
who is not castrated but who is impotent, celibate, or otherwise not inclined to marry and
procreate. Castration was typically carried out on the soon-to-be eunuch without his consent in order that he might perform a specific social function; this was common in many societies."
The New Testament Greek lexicon by Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker
states the following under eunuchos (cited in Brown, Can You
Be Gay and Christian?, page 139)
- a castrated male person, eunuch. Matt 19:12b. Eunuchs
served, esp. in the orient, as keepers of a harem (Esther 2:14) and
not infreq. rose to high positions in the state....
- a human male who, without a physical operation, is by
nature incapable of begetting children, impotent male (Wisdom
3:14).... [Greek given] Matt 19:12a....
- a human male who abstains from marriage, without being
impotent, a celibate Matt 19:12c...
The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Kittel /
Bromiley's one volume abridgement) has this to say about the passage:
"Jesus transcends the rabbinic view by differentiating three
groups of eunuchs (Mt 19:12): those who are so from birth, those who are
castrated, and those who emasculate themselves for the kingdom's sake.
In the latter case the sense is obviously figurative, the reference
is to those who renounce sex in order to focus on the higher goal of the
kingdom, as Jesus himself does. The gospel affirms the natural order
but may require its denial for the sake of the new and higher
order." (TDNT, page 277, cited in Brown, page 141)
Paul on homosexual practice and behavior:
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.
For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is
shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 17-20
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor
adulterers nor male prostitutes [malakoi] nor homosexual offenders
[arsenokoitai] (also translated: nor fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor
nor thieves nor
the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the
kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed,
you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus
Christ and by the Spirit of our God....But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside
his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not
know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom
you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a
price. Therefore honor God with your body.
NOTE: These two Greek words -- malakoi; arsenokoitai --
are variously translated in modern translations as the following (see
Brown, page 165ff):
- effeminate; 'nor abusers of themselves with mankind' (KJV)
- homosexuals; sodomites (NKJV)
- effeminate; homosexuals (NASB)
- 'who engage in active or passive homosexuality' (Complete Jewish
- 'sexual perverts' (RSV)
- male prostitutes; sodomites (NRSV)
- 'anyone practicing homosexuality' (Holman Christian Standard
- 'men who practice homosexuality' (English Standard Version)
- 'passive homosexual partners'; 'practicing homosexuals' (New
- 'men who have sex with men' (NIV, most recent edition)
In addition (see Brown, Can You Be Gay and Christian?, page
- No commentators came up with some of the 'gay Christian' readings
of Romans 1 until after the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the
rise of the 'gay liberation' movement, despite the fact that there
were thousands of books written about Paul by a wide variety of
scholars, many of whom were anything but 'fundamentalists';
- Every major dictionary of New Testament Greek or Classical Greek
understood Paul's key vocabulary (in particular, the word arsenokoites)
to refer to men engaging in homosexual acts, despite the fact
that many of these lexicographers were anything but
'fundamentalists' and were simply experts in Greek;
- Even some leading 'gay scholars' recognize that Paul categorically
rejected homosexual practice (cited in Brown, pages 162ff are Pim
Pronk [Against Nature?], Bernadette Brooten [Love Between
Women], Louis Crompton [Homosexuality and Civilization],
Professor Dan Via [Via and Gagnon, Homosexuality and the Bible:
Two Views], and the GLBTQ online encyclopedia which
states that the Bible "condemns same-sex desire and same-sex
acts without qualification of age, gender, role, status, consent, or
membership in an ethnic community...." and that St. Paul
"outlawed all sex except that between married couples and
preferred celibacy to marriage for himself....",
1 Corinthians 7:2-5
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should
have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should
give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her
husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the
husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own
body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by
agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer;
but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of
your lack of self-control.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires
of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and
the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed
to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if
you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of
the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries,
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast
to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is
profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain
strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without
knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow
prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were
suffering. Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept
pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you
have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that
as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as
you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what
instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of
God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that
each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God...
1 Timothy 1:8-11
We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know
that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels,
the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill
their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts [or
fornicators and sodomites],
for slave traders and liars and perjurers -- and for whatever else is
contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of
the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord
delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not
believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority
but abandoned their own home -- these he has kept in darkness, bound
with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way,
Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to
sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who
suffer the punishment of eternal fire. In the very same way, these
dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander
2 Peter 2:6-9
...if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to
ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) -- if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority.
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for
murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars,
their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which
is the second death.
THE CHURCH FATHERS AND EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS
ON HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR, 'PEDERASTY', AND SEXUAL IMMORALITY
The Didache (c. 70 - 140 AD)
"You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery,
you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication,
you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not
practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill
one that has been born." (Didache 2:2)
St. Justin Martyr (c. 150 AD)
"We have been taught that to expose newly-born children is the
part of wicked men; and this we have been taught lest we should do
anyone harm and lest we should sin against God, first, because we see
that almost all so exposed (not only the girls, but also the males)
are brought up to prostitution. And for this pollution a multitude of
females and hermaphrodites, and those who commit unmentionable
iniquities, are found in every nation. And you receive the hire of
these, and duty and taxes from them, whom you ought to exterminate
from your realm. And anyone who uses such persons, besides the godless
and infamous and impure intercourse, may possibly be having
intercourse with his own child, or relative, or brother. And there are
some who prostitute even their own children and wives, and some are
openly mutilated for the purpose of sodomy; and they refer these
mysteries to the mother of the gods." (First Apology 27)
St. Athenagoras of Athens (c. 175 AD)
"But though such is our character (Oh! why should I speak of things unfit to be uttered?), the things said of us are an example of the proverb, 'The harlot reproves the chaste.' For those who have set up a market for fornication and established infamous resorts for the young for every kind of vile pleasure
-- who do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations, outraging all the noblest and comeliest bodies in all sorts of ways, so dishonoring the fair workmanship of God." (A Plea For The
St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 190 AD)
"All honor to that king of the Scythians, whoever Anacharsis
was, who shot with an arrow one of his subjects who imitated among the
Scythians the mystery of the mother of the gods...condemning him as
having become effeminate among the Greeks, and a teacher of the
disease of effeminacy to the rest of the Scythians." (Exhortation
to the Greeks 2)
"It is not, then, without reason that the poets call him
[Hercules] a cruel wretch and a nefarious scoundrel. It were tedious
to recount his adulteries of all sorts, and debauching of boys. For
your gods did not even abstain from boys, one having loved Hylas,
another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another Chrysippus, another
Ganymede. Let such gods as these be worshipped by your wives, and let
them pray that their husbands be such as these -- so temperate; that,
emulating them in the same practices, they may be like the gods. Such
gods let your boys be trained to worship, that they may grow up to be
men with the accursed likeness of fornication on them received from
the gods." (ibid)
"In accordance with these remarks, conversation about deeds of
wickedness is appropriately termed filthy [shameful] speaking, as talk
about adultery and pederasty and the like." (The Instructor 6)
"The fate of the Sodomites was judgment to those who had done
wrong, instruction to those who hear. The Sodomites having, through
much luxury, fallen into uncleanness, practicing adultery shamelessly,
and burning with insane love for boys; the All-seeing Word, whose
notice those who commit impieties cannot escape, cast his eye on them.
Nor did the sleepless guard of humanity observe their licentiousness
in silence; but dissuading us from the imitation of them, and training
us up to his own temperance, and falling on some sinners, lest lust
being unavenged, should break loose from all the restraints of fear,
ordered Sodom to be burned, pouring forth a little of the sagacious
fire on licentiousness; lest lust, through want of punishment, should
throw wide the gates to those that were rushing into voluptuousness.
Accordingly, the just punishment of the Sodomites became to men an
image of the salvation which is well calculated for men. For those who
have not committed like sins with those who are punished, will never
receive a like punishment." (ibid, 8)
Tertullian (c. 220 AD)
"Having defined the distinction (between the kinds) of repentance, we are by this time, then, able to return to the assessment of the
sins -- whether they be such as can obtain pardon at the hand of men. In the first place, (as for the fact) that we call adultery likewise fornication, usage requires (us so to do).
'Faith,' withal, has a familiar acquaintance with sundry appellations. So, in every one of our little works, we carefully guard usage. Besides, if I shall say
'adulterium,' and if 'stuprum,' the indictment of contamination of the flesh will be one and the same. For it makes no difference whether a man assault
another's bride or widow, provided it be not his own 'female;' just as there is no difference made by
places -- whether it be in chambers or in towers that modesty is massacred. Every homicide, even outside a wood, is banditry. So, too, whoever enjoys any other than nuptial intercourse, in whatever place, and in the person of whatever woman, makes himself guilty of adultery and fornication. Accordingly, among us, secret connections as
well -- connections, that is, not first professed in presence of the
Church -- run risk of being judged akin to adultery and fornication; nor must we let them, if thereafter woven together by the covering of marriage, elude the charge. But all the other frenzies of
passions -- impious both toward the bodies and toward the sexes --
beyond the laws of nature, we banish not only from the threshold, but from all shelter of the Church, because they are not sins, but monstrosities."
Novatian (c. 250 AD)
"God forbade the Jews to eat certain foods for symbolic
reasons: For that in fishes the roughness of scales is regarded as
constituting their cleanness; rough, and rugged, and unpolished, and
substantial, and grave manners are approved in men; while those that
are without scales are unclean, because trifling, and fickle, and
faithless, and effeminate manners are disapproved. Moreover, what does
the law mean when it....forbids the swine to be taken for food? It
assuredly reproves a life filthy and dirty, and delighting in the
garbage of vice....Or when it forbids the hare? It rebukes men
deformed into women." (The Jewish Foods 3).
St. Cyprian of Carthage (c. 250 AD)
"Turn your looks to the abominations, not less to be deplored,
of another kind of spectacle....Men are emasculated, and all the pride
and vigor of their sex is effeminated in the disgrace of their
enervated body; and he is more pleasing there who has most completely
broken down the man into the woman. He grows into praise by virtue of
his crime; and the more he is degraded, the more skillful he is
considered to be. Such a one is looked upon -- oh shame! -- and looked
upon with pleasure....Nor is there wanting authority for the enticing
abomination....that Jupiter of theirs [is] not more supreme in
dominion than in vice, inflamed with earthly love in the midst of his
own thunders....now breaking forth by the help of birds to violate the
purity of boys. And now put the question: Can he who looks upon such
things be healthy-minded or modest? Men imitate the gods whom they
adore, and to such miserable beings their crimes become their
religion." (Letters 1:8)
"Oh, if placed on that lofty watchtower, you could gaze into
the secret places -- if you could open the closed doors of sleeping
chambers and recall their dark recesses to the perception of sight --
you would behold things done by immodest persons which no chaste eye
could look upon; you would see what even to see is a crime; you would
see what people embruted with the madness of vice deny that they have
done, and yet hasten to do -- men with frenzied lusts rushing upon
men, doing things which afford no gratification even to those who do
them." (ibid, 1:9)
Arnobius (c. 300 AD)
"The mother of the gods loved [the boy Attis] exceedingly,
because he was of most surpassing beauty; and Acdestis [the son of
Jupiter] who was his companion, as he grew up fondling him, and bound
to him by wicked compliance with his lust....Afterwards, under the
influence of wine, he [Attis] admits that he is....loved by Acdestis....Then
Midas, king of Pessinus, wishing to withdraw the youth from so
disgraceful an intimacy, resolves to give him his own daughter in
marriage....Acdestis, bursting with rage because of the boy's being
torn from himself and brought to seek a wife, fills all the guests
with frenzied madness; the Phrygians shriek, panic-stricken at the
appearance of the gods....[Attis] too, now filled with furious
passion, raving frantically and tossed about, throws himself down at
last, and under a pine tree mutilates himself, saying, 'Take these,
Acdestis, for which you have stirred up so great and terribly perilous
commotions'." (Against the Pagans 5:6-7)
Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 320 AD)
"[God in the Law given to Moses,] having forbidden all unlawful marriage, and all unseemly
practice, and the union of women with women and men with men, he [God]
adds: 'Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for in all
these things the nations were defiled, which I will drive out before
you. And the land was polluted, and I have recompensed [their]
iniquity upon it, and the land is grieved with them that dwell upon
it' [Lev 18:24-25]." (Proof of the Gospel [Demonstratio Evangelica]
St. Basil the Great (c. 370 AD)
"He who is guilty of unseemliness with males will be under
discipline for the same time as adulterers." (Letters 217:62)
"If you [O, monk] are young in either body or mind, shun the
companionship of other young men and avoid them as you would a flame.
For through them the enemy has kindled the desires of many and then
handed them over to eternal fire, hurling them into the vile pit of
the five cities under the pretense of spiritual love...At meals take a
seat far from other young men. In lying down to sleep let not their
clothes be near yours, but rather have an old man between you. When a
young man converses with you, or sings psalms facing you, answer him
with eyes cast down, lest perhaps by gazing at his face you receive a
seed of desire sown by the enemy and reap sheaves of corruption and
ruin. Whether in the house or in a place where there is no one to see
your actions, be not found in his company under the pretense either of
studying the divine oracles or of any other business whatsoever,
however necessary." (The Renunciation of the World)
St. John Chrysostom (c. 390 AD)
"[The pagans] were addicted to the love of boys, and one of
their wise men made a law that pederasty...should not be allowed to
slaves, as if it was an honorable thing; and they had houses for this
purpose, in which it was openly practiced. And if all that was done
among them was related, it would be seen that they openly outraged
nature, and there was none to restrain them....As for their passion
for boys, whom they called their paedica, it is not fit to be
named." (Homilies on Titus 5)
"[Certain men in church] come in gazing about at the beauty of
women; others curious about the blooming youth of boys. After this, do
you not marvel that [lightning] bolts are not launched [from heaven],
and all these things are not plucked up from their foundations? For
worthy both of thunderbolts and hell are the things that are done; but
God, who is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forbears awhile his
wrath, calling you to repentance and amendment." (Homilies on
"But if thou scoffest at hearing of hell and believest not that fire,
remember Sodom. For we have seen, surely we have seen, even in this present life, a semblance of hell. For since many would utterly disbelieve the things to come after the resurrection, hearing now of an unquenchable fire, God brings them to a right mind by things present.
For such is the burning of Sodom, and that conflagration! ....
Consider how great is that sin, to have forced hell to appear even before its time!
.... For that rain was unwonted, for the intercourse was contrary to nature, and it deluged the land, since lust had done so with their souls. Wherefore also the rain was the opposite of the customary rain. Now not only did it fail to stir up the womb of the earth to the production of fruits, but made it even useless for the reception of seed.
For such was also the intercourse of the men, making a body of this sort more worthless than the very land of Sodom. And what is there more detestable than a man who hath pandered himself, or what more execrable?" (Homily IV on Romans 1:26-27)
"All of these affections [in Romans 1:26-27]....were vile, but
chiefly the mad lust after males; for the soul is more the sufferer in
sins, and more dishonored than the body in diseases." (Homilies on
"[The men] have done an insult to nature itself. And a yet
more disgraceful thing than these is it, when even the women seek
after these intercourses, who ought to have more shame than men."
"And sundry other books of the philosophers one may see full
of this disease. But we do not therefore say that the thing was made
lawful, but that they who received this law were pitiable, and objects
for many tears. For these are treated in the same way as women that
play the whore. Or rather their plight is more miserable. For in the
case of the one the intercourse, even if lawless, is yet according to
nature; but this is contrary both to law and nature. For even if there
were no hell, and no punishment had been threatened, this would be
worse than any punishment." (ibid)
St. Jerome (c. 393 AD)
"So also the city of Nineveh by fasting excited compassion and turned aside the threatening wrath of the Lord.
And Sodom and Gomorrha might have appeased it, had they been willing to repent, and through the aid of fasting gain for themselves tears of repentance [1 Kings 21:27-29]. Ahab, the most impious of kings, by fasting and wearing sackcloth, succeeded in escaping the sentence of God, and in deferring the overthrow of his house to the days of his posterity....But we praise every creature of God, and yet prefer leanness to corpulence, abstinence to luxury, fasting to fullness. 'He that labours, labours for himself, and he is eager to his own destruction.' And, Matthew 11:12 'From the days of John the Baptist (who fasted and was a virgin) until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and men of violence take it by force.'
For we are afraid lest at the coming of the eternal judge we be caught, as in the days of the flood, and at the overthrow of Sodom and
Gomorrha, eating and drinking, and marrying, and giving in marriage. For both the flood and the fire from heaven found fullness as well as marriage ready for
destruction." (Against Jovinianus 2:15,16)
St. Augustine of Hippo (c. 400 AD)
"Those shameful acts against nature, such as were committed
in Sodom, ought everywhere and always to be detested and punished.
If all nations were to do such things, they would be held guilty of
the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men so that they
should use one another in this way." (Confessions 3:8:15)
"Can it at any time or place be an unrighteous thing for a man to love God with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind, and his neighbour as himself? Therefore those offenses which be contrary to nature are everywhere and at all times to be held in detestation and punished;
such were those of the Sodomites, which should all nations commit, they should all be held guilty of the same crime by the divine law, which has not so made men that they should in that way abuse one another. For even that fellowship which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature of which He is author is polluted by the perversity of lust. But those offenses which are contrary to the customs of men are to be avoided according to the customs severally prevailing; so that an agreement made, and confirmed by custom or law of any city or nation, may not be violated at the lawless pleasure of any, whether citizen or stranger. For any part which is not consistent with its whole is unseemly. But when God commands anything contrary to the customs or compacts of any nation to be done, though it were never done by them before, it is to be done; and if intermitted it is to be restored, and, if never established, to be established."
(ibid, alternate translation of Confessions from NewAdvent.org)
The Apostolic Constitutions (c. 400 AD)
"[Christians] abhor all unlawful mixtures, and that which is
practiced by some contrary to nature, as wicked and impious."
(Apostolic Constitutions 6:11)
Pope St. Gregory the Great (c. 590 AD)
"Sacred Scripture itself confirms that sulfur evokes the stench of the flesh, as it speaks of the rain of fire and sulfur
poured upon Sodom by the Lord. He had decided to punish Sodom for the crimes of the flesh, and the very type of punishment he chose emphasized the shame of that crime.
For sulfur stinks, and fire burns. So it was just that
Sodomites, burning with perverse desires arising from the flesh like stench, should perish by fire and sulfur so that through this just punishment they would realize the evil they had committed, led by a perverse desire."
(Morales sur Job, Part III, Vol I, book 14, no 23)
THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR,
SEXUAL MORALITY, AND MARRIAGE
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not commit adultery. (Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18)
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit
adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman
lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
"MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM...."
2331. "God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal
loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image . . .. God
inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the
capacity and responsibility, of love and communion." "God
created man in his own image . . . male and female he created
them"; He blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and
multiply"; "When God created man, he made him in the likeness
of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named
them Man when they were created."
2332. Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity
of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity
to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for
forming bonds of communion with others.
2333. Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his
sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and
complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the
flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society
depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and
mutual support between the sexes are lived out.
2334. "In creating men 'male and female,' God gives man and
woman an equal personal dignity." "Man is a person, man and
woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of
the personal God."
2335. Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness
of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man
and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's
generosity and fecundity: "Therefore a man leaves his father and
his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." All
human generations proceed from this union.
2336. Jesus came to restore creation to the purity of its origins. In
the Sermon on the Mount, he interprets God's plan strictly: "You
have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say
to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already
committed adultery with her in his heart." What God has joined
together, let not man put asunder.
The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as
encompassing the whole of human sexuality.
THE VOCATION TO CHASTITY
2337. Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within
the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual
being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological
world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is
integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the
complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person
and the integrality of the gift....
Chastity and homosexuality
2357. Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women
who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward
persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through
the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis
remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which
presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has
always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically
disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close
the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine
affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be
2358. The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual
tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively
disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted
with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust
discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are
called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians,
to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may
encounter from their condition.
2359. Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of
self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of
disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and
should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
THE LOVE OF HUSBAND AND WIFE
2360. Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In
marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge
of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are
sanctified by the sacrament.
2361. "Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give
themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and
exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns
the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a
truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a
man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until
Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, "Sister, get up, and
let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and
safety." So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that
they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, "Blessed are
you, O God of our fathers. . . . You made Adam, and for him you made
his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the race of
mankind has sprung. You said, 'It is not good that the man should be
alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.' I now am taking
this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant
that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together."
And they both said, "Amen, Amen." Then they went to sleep
for the night. (Tobit 8:4-9)
2362. "The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste
union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly
human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and
enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude." (Vatican Council II, GS
49:2). Sexuality is a source
of joy and pleasure:
The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative]
function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and
spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure
and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At
the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the
limits of just moderation. (Pope Pius XII, Discourse, October 29, 1951)
2363. The spouses' union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the
good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two
meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the
couple's spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the
future of the family.
The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold
obligation of fidelity and fecundity....
- 2392. "Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every
human being" (FC 11).
- 2393. By creating the human being man and woman, God gives
personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man
and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.
- 2394. Christ is the model of chastity. Every baptized person is
called to lead a chaste life, each according to his particular state
- 2395. Chastity means the integration of sexuality within the
person. It includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery.
- 2396. Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are
masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.
- 2397. The covenant which spouses have freely entered into
entails faithful love. It imposes on them the obligation to keep
their marriage indissoluble.
- 2398. Fecundity is a good, a gift and an end of marriage. By
giving life, spouses participate in God's fatherhood.
- 2399. The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of
responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the
part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable
means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).
- 2400. Adultery, divorce, polygamy, and free union are grave offenses against the dignity of marriage.
Books by Dr. Michael Brown and others on this issue:
See also these scholarly books and debates on the subject:
The Abolition of Marriage: How We Destroy Lasting Love
by Maggie Gallagher (Regnery Publishing, 1996)
The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier
and Better Off Financially
by Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher (Broadway Books, 2001)
The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics
by Robert A.J. Gagnon (Abingdon Press, 2002)
Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views
by Robert A.J. Gagnon and Dan O. Via (Fortress Press, 2003)
Debating Same-Sex Marriage (Point/Counterpoint)
by John Corvino and Maggie Gallagher (Oxford Univ Press, 2012)
What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense
by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, Robert George (Encounter Books, 2012)
Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality
by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson (Viking, 2014)