You know that an article that starts out with
“Christianity has always had a bleaker view of love – gay or straight – than any other faith”
is going to be a real treat. She selectively takes quotes from some Church Fathers to demonstrate this “negative” view of marriage. While it is true that some Church Fathers did to some extent hold this view this has nothing to do with constant church teaching. It is only with the Christian understanding of marriage does it reach it fullest understanding. That marriage is a reflection of the Trinity and the self-giving love that entails. Marriage that is not open to life, or pro-creation, cannot image the creative love of the Trinity. A purely secular understanding of marriage breaks down to feelings, pleasure, and convenience. Once the individual feels it is no longer convenient or that the pleasure is gone it breaks down in divorce.
…But in fact everybody reads the Bible selectively. If people followed every single biblical ruling to the letter, the world would be full of Christians who love their enemies and refuse to judge other people, which is plainly not the case. Christians would also be obliged to eat kosher meat (Acts 15:20) and stone their disobedient sons to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). The world has changed and practices that were acceptable 2,000 years ago have become abhorrent. We also have a more complex understanding of sexuality than the biblical writers.
“But in fact everybody reads the Bible selectively.” Well she certainly proved here thesis with her interpretation. Acts 15:20 was a temporary proscription to not cause other believers to be scandalized. St. Paul talks about this principle in 1st Cor 8:7-13.
However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through being hitherto accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.
She also makes the common mistake of using the Mosaic laws as examples of what Christians should use today if they followed the Bible. The Mosaic covenant has been replaced by a new and permanent covenant which totally replaced the “works of Torah”, but not the natural law which is “written on their hearts.”
…Yet the Bible has to be read with care. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 condemns homosexual rape and the violation of the sacred rules of hospitality rather than homosexuality per se. It has nothing to say about the open, stable gay relationships that are essentially a feature of modern western society, and did not exist in their current form in the biblical world.
Well how about the command to be “fruitful and multiply”, it wasn’t “be a fruit and nullify.” The same problem with contraception exists for homosexuality, that there is no possibility toward being open to life and that a fundamental purpose of the sex act is denied.
…The Bible is not a holy encyclopedia, giving clear and unequivocal information; nor is it a legal code that can be applied indiscriminately to our very different society. Lifting isolated texts out of their literary and cultural context can only distort its message. Instead, we should look at the underlying principles of biblical religion, and apply these creatively to our own situation.
She wasn’t doing too bad until she said “apply these creatively to our own situation.” One of the great graces of being a Catholic is that we don’t have figure out the Bible on our own. That we are also guided by Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium which helps us to eliminate possible meanings of the text. while the Magisterium will never define all texts or all possible interpretations, just knowing the faith and the constant teaching of the Church helps to guide us away from wrong exegesis. I know that when I first started to read the Bible outside of sacred tradition I inserted many heresies and misunderstandings into the text.