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Document Details :
Title: Can the Church Recognize Homosexual Couples in the Public Sphere?
Author(s): VOSMAN, Frans J.H.
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 12 Issue: 1 Date: Autumn 2006
The moral teaching of the Catholic Church with regard to sexuality contains a theological anthropology that understands the relationship between a man and a woman as complementary, each having a specific diversity and personal originality. Drawing on that anthropology, the Church criticizes the legal recognition of homosexual unions. This article argues that the issue is best framed as a debate between unequals within a democratic society. It also argues that the Church should explain its moral teaching on homosexuality and look for the plausibility of this teaching in the late modern context rather than try to justify the teaching by means of recourse to one of the human sciences, such as psychology. The debate thus remains carefully framed. The article expounds the moral teaching of the Church in order to draw out its wisdom and truth, and proposes the idea that within the moral (and not just the pastoral) practice of the Church it is possible to give recognition to the existence of homosexuals in the public sphere and acknowledge that they contribute to the social good. Values exhibited in the lives of gays and lesbians, such as mutual support, care, and justice, actually contribute to the well-being of society. Within the hierarchy of goods this can be recognized by the Church. What is a good in fact can be acknowledged insofar as it is a good. The article concludes by invoking the concept of the common good: the unfolding of a social good reinforces the good of the whole.