Did Jesus approve of gay marriage? Not at all.

I keep seeing stories in the mass media where various persons, Christians and Christian leaders, claim that Jesus would not have been against same-sex marriage. Let’s see what our Lord and Savior actually said.

[Mark]
{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 procede from within and pollute a man.”

The Latin text, translated as homosexuality, is impudicitiae, which can refer to shameful sexual acts in general, but is often used to refer specifically to homosexuality.
http://catholic.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/words.exe?impudicitiae
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.

The Greek word used for homosexuality above is ‘aselgeia’. Some translations have this as ‘sensuality’, but that word is much 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 very 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’ 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.

Furthermore, on the nature of Marriage, Jesus taught:

[Mt]
{19:3} And the Pharisees approached him, testing him, and saying, “Is it lawful for a man to separate from his wife, no matter what the cause?”
{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.”
{19:7} They said to him, “Then why did Moses command him to give a bill of divorce, and to separate?”
{19:8} He said to them: “Although Moses permitted you to separate from your wives, due to the hardness of your heart, it was not that way from the beginning.
{19:9} And I say to you, that whoever will have separated from his wife, except because of fornication, and who will have married another, commits adultery, and whoever will have married her who has been separated, commits adultery.”
{19:10} His disciples said to him, “If such is the case for a man with a wife, then it is not expedient to marry.”
{19:11} And he said to them: “Not everyone is able to grasp this word, but only those to whom it has been given.
{19:12} For there are chaste persons who were born so from their mother’s womb, and there are chaste persons who have been made so by men, and there are chaste persons who have made themselves chaste for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever is able to grasp this, let him grasp it.”

[Mk]
{10:6} But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
{10:7} Because of this, a man shall leave behind his father and mother, and he shall cling to his wife.
{10:8} And these two shall be one in flesh. And so, they are now, not two, but one flesh.
{10:9} Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Jesus taught that marriage is between one man and one woman and that this was God’s plan from the beginning of the creation of humanity. He allows for no other arrangement, such as same-sex unions.

And so, by saying “what God has joined together, let no man separate”, Jesus implies that other types of so-called marriage or unions are contrary to the will of God. He states that God has joined man and woman in marriage, and He implies that any human intervention that would disturb or contradict this plan, such as divorce and remarriage, or living together outside of marriage, or same-sex unions, is forbidden by God. For such acts are a type of ‘separation’ of man and woman from one another and from God’s plan for marriage.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator

Articles on Catholic Ethics
My work with Sacred Scripture

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