- Witnessing to the Joy of Love: Reflection Guide
- MY FAMILY HOME (Introduction and Part I My Family Home: A Place to Encounter the Living Christ)
- GENDER MATTERS
- PURITY MATTERS:
Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk Encyclical on the Dangers of Gender Ideology
The Ukrainian Catholic Church sees all persons as created in the “image and likeness” of God. Therefore all persons are of infinite value and worth, as they are created with a sacred and mystical destiny to be known and loved by God and to be a part of His royal Kingdom forever, if they so choose. The dignity and importance of each human person cannot be stressed enough. Central to our belief this the mystery of the incarnation of God himself in the person of Jesus Christ so that, in the words of St. Irenaeus and repeatedly stated by the church Fathers, who became a man so we might become like God. So great is our dignity that even God
himself will not force Himself upon us but through the death and resurrection of Christ, offers Himself to us freely and without reserve. And we likewise are free to accept or refuse His offer. Also we are created to give ourselves as gifts to others and it is only through this sincere gift of self that we find the true meaning of love and meaning in our lives.(Gaudiem et Spes 24:3)
We are created by Love, in love and to love. However, we must understand what it means to love. This is something that, despite our intense human desire for love, we fail to understand unless we look at love incarnate, Jesus Christ. Love is something that pours itself out for the other, freely, honestly, without reserve, faithfully and in a way that is life giving. One of the primary sacramental images we have of that kind of love is that of a man and woman united in marriage. It is this union of man and woman which reveals to us what St. Pope John Paul II refers to as the “spousal meaning of the body”. According to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops “This means that the complementarity of masculinity and femininity, which encompasses both body and spirit, reveals the call of every human being to become a gift for another person.” Another image of that love is and expression of this gift is the offering of one’s self to God in Holy Orders.”
The call to love and affirm the dignity of the person remains the same for every person regardless of their circumstances. Our compassion must be unwavering for those who struggle with same sex attraction. Our attractions can be powerful forces in our lives and the call to live a “chaste and holy” life can seem like an extreme burden to those faced with the church’s teaching that the only legitimate expression of genital intercourse is between a man and a woman in marriage.
Those trying to live a life of chastity under those circumstances need our prayers, and support because they need to live faith with great courage , particularly in the face of many forces in society that will make the ‘gay lifestyle’–or active pursuit of same sex relationships–seem acceptable and almost mandatory for those with same sex attractions. Those who have opposite-sex attractions are under similar pressures in a world that sometimes seems ‘hyper sexualized’. However, the life of an unmarried Catholic who has
same sex attraction and one who is attracted to the opposite sex is not all that different. All are called to chastity and purity, and for the unmarried that means abstaining from sexual activity . (See Chastity Tab–as even the married are called to a chastity that is appropriate to their state in life. Remember that chastity is the holy, healthy and integrated lifestyle that respects and honours all human beings as persons, acknowledging our sexual identity as a gift from God but taking a broader view of the person, body and soul.) In our society chastity is very misunderstood as it generally is seen as repressive rather than seeing it as a the truly loving way to live out our sexual identity. In fact, it is quite the opposite of repression as properly understood as it allows the person the freedom and ability to say ‘yes’ to the demands of love—seeking to do what is best for the other, treating someone as a person, never to be used. Chastity is the “discipline of love” recognizing that God is source of all love and therefore it take an “eternal perspective” on what love is. It is never a call to a “loveless” life. Through the exercise of the virtue of chastity we can develop truly loving friendships that will last a lifetime.
Regarding Gender Identity Issues see: Gender-Ideology-Select-Teaching-Resources-2