This is a timely post, since a) Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian came out today and b) John Paul II is on the cusp of receiving sainthood.
Terence Weldon reports that Vines’ book makes a novel argument regarding John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” and its implications for the Church’s view of sexuality. Weldon writes:
His argument rests on three key premises: we are not created to be alone, but need to live in the companionship of marriage to fulfill God’s plan; we know from science that sexual orientation is fixed, and cannot be changed, so that heterosexual marriage is inappropriate for inherently gay men and women; and that although celibacy is a valid choice for some, it is a gift which can only be granted, not imposed.
“From these simple, uncontroversial premises,” Weldon tells us, “the conclusion is inexorable.”
What’s interesting is that Vines builds his third premise on the Theology of the Body. According to Weldon, Vines finds passages from JPII that “assure us that celibacy is difficult and a gift, not a command, and so is not required of all. Those for who have not been given the gift of voluntary celibacy, says John Paul, should marry. Noting that for inherently gay people, heterosexual marriage is not an option, Vines’ conclusion is that this necessarily means same – sex marriage.”
In a related vein, Catholic theologian Lisa Fullam (h/t Bill Lindsey) observes, among many great arguments for the Catholic recognition of civil gay marriage, that John Paul II also wrote that ““[E]ven when procreation is not possible, conjugal life does not for this reason lose its value.”
My feelings on the Theology of the Body are about the same as my feelings about the Catholic understanding of natural law, and in both cases, those feelings surprise some readers of this blog: I love them. There’s so much to be learned from both JPII and the Catholic “natural lawyers”. The problem is that you can’t start from the premises that they start with and end up where they do. That’s all.