Can We Come Home?

President Obama today declared his thoughts on Gay marriage. ( He supports it). My blog is not about the political points he may or may not score with this, but more about what my Church says.

“Catholic teaching proceeds from an understanding of “natural law” which for them serves as the foundation for all correct morality but which most of the rest of society has long since abandoned.” Austin Cline

I chose Austin’s quote (and recommend you read his article as well), because it lays out without bias to either side the plain view of the Catholic theological thinking in plain english terms that even I can understand. Like most loving Catholics, I want my GLBT brothers and sisters to be able to have families as well if they so choose. Yet Natural Law would say One man and One woman. I have however a question.

Natural Law dictates that what is deformed should be left to die and for a long time, many cultures did do this. Other more compassionate cultures did not. However, how much a person could participate within the community was another matter. Deafness was seen as unnatural either by birth or by some other means later in one’s life except perhaps extreme old age. As a results it would be unnatural for those who were deaf or unsound, to marry.  This comes from the

Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, [1843], at

 1. “When a deaf and dumb man marries a sound 1 woman, or a sound man marries a deaf and dumb woman, he may either divorce his wife or keep her, and even as he married her by certain signs [made before witnesses] thus may he divorce her in the same manner. A sound man who had married a sound woman, who afterwards became deaf and dumb, may either divorce or keep her as he pleases, but if she became afflicted with madness, he is not at liberty to divorce her. Should he become deaf and dumb, or mad, he may not divorce her at all. R. Jochanan ben Noori asked, “Why may a woman who became deaf and dumb be divorced, and a husband who thus became affected may not divorce his wife?” They [the sages] replied unto him, “Because there is a material difference in this respect between the two parties, for a woman may be divorced with or without her consent, but the man’s consent is necessary to render a divorce valid.”

This of course is no longer true. The Church was no different until the Enlightenment.  Before that Plato and Aristotle who both help build the foundation and philosophy of natural law believed that the deaf were incapable of outward signs of intelligence since otherwise all humans are born with a perfect abstracts and language within and it only takes time for these things to come forth. It took more than 1500 years after Christ before the idea of natural law concerning disabled people being viewed as a people, and even being allowed to do something as sacred as marriage which seemed so UNNATURAL between either those of sound mind and body and one of not, or two unsound mind and or bodies.

May I ask are we now wrong? Or did we evolve as we did in understanding God’s role in so many more things. For hundreds of years those who misshapen, unappealing, not understood were told to stay and shunned from the Church just as those who are Gay until fairly recently have been. We finally decided as a Church that being Gay in and of itself was not the sin, but to act upon it is.

Yet here we stand today, Deaf Priest good gosh, ten of them at lost count in the United States if I am not mistaken, DEAF!  Sign Language declared by the Pope to be a valid language (with no sound) to say MASS! How UNNATURAL is that to comprehend? Then, it is not is it. For how can God heal, if we reject those who suffer out of fear, those who are different. We NEED each other. Please, can we all come home, finally?

Nancy Louise