The church might be approaching natural law the wrong way |

Many Catholics aren’t persuaded by the church’s natural law arguments on matters of sex and morality. Maybe it’s time we come up with more reasonable conclusions.

A woman I know quit her job as an administrator in student life at a Catholic university because she could no longer stomach what the church had to say about homosexuality. Her gay son was in his second year as an undergraduate and she found it increasingly impossible to defend or overlook Catholic teachings that described her child—or any other gay student—as someone suffering from an “objective moral disorder.” You can imagine what she thought of our local bishop’s efforts to oppose legislation allowing same-sex marriage, or arguments offered by other Catholic leaders that gay marriage undermines the sanctity of the church’s sacrament. To say the least, she thinks these teachings, based on natural law arguments, are deeply unreasonable.

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Untying the Knots and “Nots” of Natural Law Theory | Bondings 2.0

One of the most frequent questions I get asked from Catholic advocates of LGBT equality is how to counter natural law arguments which condemn lesbian and gay relationships.  For many people, natural law, with its basis in philosophy, can be a daunting area of knowledge to engage or refute.  People tend to shrink from it more because it seems impenetrable than because they don’t want to acknowledge what its negative messages about LGBT issues.  And the way it has been applied by Church leaders it seems to be not just a jumble of knots, but of “nots,” as well.

U.S. Catholic ran an essay “The Church might be approaching natural law in the wrong way,” by Patrick McCormick, a professor of Christian ethics at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, which not only does a good job of explaining natural law theory, but interprets it in a way that can be used to affirm lesbian and gay relationships. This essay appeared in the magazine in October 2014, at the time we were busy covering the news of the first synod, so it eluded our attention, then.  It recently appeared on our desktops, and, even though it was not published recently, we felt it was too good of a resource not to pass along to our readers.

Bondings 2.0