What Jesus said about homosexuality and same-sex marriage

{7:18} And he said to them: “So, are you also without prudence? Do you not understand that everything entering to a man from outside is not able to pollute him?
{7:19} For it does not enter into his heart, but into the gut, and it exits into the sewer, purging all foods.”
{7:20} “But,” he said “the things which go out from a man, these pollute a man.
{7:21} For from within, from the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
{7:22} thefts, avarice, wickedness, deceitfulness, homosexuality, an evil eye, blasphemy, self-exaltation, foolishness.
{7:23} All these evils proceed from within and pollute a man.”

The Latin word, translated as homosexuality, is impudicitiae, which can refer to shameful sexual acts in general, but is often used to refer specifically to homosexuality. Since this passage already condemns adultery and fornication, the specific meaning of homosexuality is indicated.

Notice that Jesus condemns two different types of evil in this passage: morally evil acts, and the tendencies that lead to such acts. Evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, murder, theft, as well as blasphemy, are specific immoral acts. But avarice, wickedness, deceitfulness, homosexuality, an evil eye, self-exaltation, and foolishness can be understood as referring both to a sinful tendency and to the particular sins that result from that tendency. Thus, lies result from deceitfulness, theft results from greed (avarice), grave sins result from wickedness (a complete disregard for morality), particular sexual sins result from homosexuality, etc. Therefore, Jesus taught that homosexuality is a moral disorder, i.e. a tendency toward a particular type of moral evil.

The Greek word used for homosexuality above is ‘aselgeia’. Some translations have this as ‘sensuality’, but that word is too general and too weak. The term ‘aselgeia’ is a very strong word, often translated as ‘filth’ (in the context of sexuality) or as ‘debauchery’. It is a strong word referring to gravely disordered sexual acts, not mere sensuality. But in many contexts it refers specifically to the grave disorder of homosexual acts.

The same word, in Greek and in Latin, is used in Galatians
{5:19} Now the works of the flesh are manifest; they are: fornication, lust, homosexuality, self-indulgence,

Notice that the general terms fornication and lust are already named, so the third term cannot mean sexual immorality in general. It must mean specifically homosexuality. By comparison, in Ephesians the term is used generally:

{4:19} Qui desperantes, semetipsos tradiderunt impudicitiæ, in operationem immunditiæ omnis in avaritiam.
{4:19} Such as these, despairing, have given themselves over to sexual immorality, carrying out every impurity with rapacity.

The word ‘impudicitiae’ (‘aselgeia’) can refer generally to severe sexual immorality, or it can refer more specifically to homosexuality. In passages such as this one, where it is the only word referring to sexual immorality, it is understood generally to refer to every type of grave sexual impurity. But in passages where a series of specific sexual sins are named (adultery, fornication, etc.), this word is to be understood more specifically.

That the term in Greek does refer to homosexuality in Scripture is proven by 2 Peter

{2:7} And he rescued a just man, Lot, who was oppressed by the unjust and lewd behavior of the wicked.

Lot was rescued from Sodom, from the lewd behavior of a group of homosexuals.

Jesus spoke about Sodom, describing it as a city destroyed by God for its sins:

{17:29} Then, on the day that Lot departed from Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and it destroyed them all.

But he also taught that grave sins against religion are worse than sexual sins:

{10:14} And whoever has neither received you, nor listened to your words, departing from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.
{10:15} Amen 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.

In the city of Sodom, homosexuality and its acts were accepted by society and widely practiced. In the city of Gomorrah, the sexual sins were primarily heterosexual. So the condemnation of these two cities is a condemnation by Christ of both types of sexual sins, homosexual and heterosexual. But the former are more gravely disordered than the latter.

{11:21} “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in haircloth and ashes.
{11:22} Yet truly, I say to you, Tyre and Sidon shall be forgiven more than you, on the day of judgment.
{11:23} And you, Capernaum, would you be exalted all the way to heaven? You shall descend all the way to Hell. For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Sodom, perhaps it would have remained, even to this day.
{11:24} Yet truly, I say to you, that the land of Sodom shall be forgiven more than you, on the day of judgment.”

All sins can be forgiven by contrition and Confession, or at least by repentance out of love for God and neighbor (perfect contrition).

Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum represent sins against religion: schism, heresy, and apostasy respectively. Tyre and Sidon were wealthy merchant cities, representing the sins of greed and misuse of wealth.

Now some persons make a comparison between Old Testament dietary laws (don’t eat shellfish or pork) and the condemnation of homosexual acts as gravely immoral. They say that since we ignore the former, we can also ignore the latter. But this is a false comparison. The dietary laws are mere discipline, like the rules of the Church today found in Canon law, like the exact form of the Mass, or the changeable procedures for electing a Pope. But the laws against homosexual acts are part of the eternal moral law, which is unchangeable. For the eternal moral law is a reflection of the justice inherent in the very Nature of God.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2357: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ ” [Cf. Gen 191-29; Rom 124-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10.]

On the subject of gay marriage, Jesus taught that marriage is only between one man and one woman:

{19:4} And he said to them in response, “Have you not read that he who made man from the beginning, made them male and female?” And he said:
{19:5} “For this reason, a man shall separate from father and mother, and he shall cling to his wife, and these two shall become one flesh.
{19:6} And so, now they are not two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Did Jesus say anything else on this subject? Yes, for all of Sacred Scripture is Christ speaking to us. And the teaching of the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is also Christ speaking to us.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic moral theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to What Jesus said about homosexuality and same-sex marriage

  1. John Platts says:

    Reasons why same sex marriage is morally wrong include the following:
    – Marriage is more than merely any union between two persons. God intends for marriages to be between a man and a woman. Permanence, fidelity, and openness to children are also essential to the validity of a marriage.
    – The husband and the wife are supposed to become “one flesh” or to consummate their marriage by natural sexual relations between the husband and wife that is open to new life. Consummation of a marriage is essential to the fullness of the Sacrament of Matrimony. In our secular society, sexual acts and consummation are not essential to the civil validity of a marriage or civil union, including same-sex unions and marriages as well as heterosexual marriages, and a lawfully contracted marriage or civil union without any sexual acts between the parties of the marriage or civil union remain civilly valid until the marriage or civil union is civilly annulled or civilly dissolved by civil divorce.
    – Sexual acts that are intrinsically evil and gravely immoral, including contraception and unnatural sexual acts, cannot be an essential part of the Sacrament of Matrimony and cannot consummate a marriage. Since homosexual acts are always intrinsically evil, gravely immoral, unnatural, and not open to life, a same-sex marriage can never be properly consummated. Since a valid marriage can only exist if the marriage can be properly consummated, a valid marriage can only exist between a man and a woman and can never exist between two persons between the same gender.
    – The husband and the wife are supposed to have different roles in the marriage. The man in the marriage is supposed to have the role that is proper to the husband, and the woman in the marriage is supposed to have the role that is proper to the wife. The husband is supposed to have authority over his wife, and the wife is supposed to submit to her husband. This distinction of roles within a marriage is mentioned in Ephesians 5:22-24. A true marriage must exist between between a man and a woman since only a man can properly have the role of a husband and only a woman can properly have the role of a wife. This proper distinction of roles does not exist within same-sex marriages. In our secular society, there are women in lesbian as well as heterosexual marriages do take on roles that are proper to men.
    – Both parties to a same-sex marriage cannot both be the biological parents of the same child, whereas the husband and the wife can both be the biological parents of the same child. A man in a same-sex marriage between two men can only have children by means of artificial procreation or by sexual intercourse with a woman, but in both of these cases, a woman who is not a party to the same-sex marriage is the biological mother of the child. A woman in a same-sex marriage between two women can only have children by means of artificial procreation using donor semen or by sexual intercourse with a man, but in both of these cases, a man who is not a party to the same-sex marriage is the biological father of the child. Unlike same-sex marriages, the husband and the wife of a heterosexual marriage can have biological children through each other by means of natural marital relations. The Catholic Church has actually taught in Donum Vitae that the only proper means to having children is by natural marital relations between the husband and the wife, and it is never proper to have children through persons other than the husband or wife, whether by artificial procreation or by procreative intercourse outside of marriage.
    – Sacred Scripture explicitly condemns homosexual acts as well as the homosexual state. A person who is in an same-sex marriage is in the homosexual state by virtue of the same-sex marriage.

  2. Matt says:

    Attacks by supporters of homosexual marriage use words such as “don’t be discriminating”, or you are a bigot or a hater. I always reply that I hate the homosexual sin. However, I believe that this tactic used by homosexuals has worked to a large extent to the general population. No one wants to be known as a bigot or discriminatory or a hater of course. When they are told this they quickly back off and eventually support it thinking it is a civil right and why bother. I tell people you can’t compare the plight of african-americans with homosexual marriage as one cannot change their skin color while there are thousands of ex-homosexuals that have repented, found Jesus, and converted.
    American workplace laws in place state you can not discriminate on a persons sexual orientation. I think this was a big step for their movement to get these laws past as for them as the last piece is laws to support homosexual marriage.
    One last point is that 99% of the world countries have laws that define marriage as between a man and a woman. Are they all now bigots? I tell people that why didn’t the civil rights issues of the 60’s include homosexual marriage? Why can’t people express their moral judgment on homosexual marriage?

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