I apologize for the sarcastic tone here. It's just been very exasperating these last few weeks to see the Catholic church turning against social change. As a dismayed liberal Catholic advocate put it when the church decreed that merely attempting to ordain women is a "more grave delict," just like pedophilia: "It tells us that the church still understands itself as an environment dominated by men." Very disappointing.
One Argentine senator protested: "Marriage between a man and a woman has existed for centuries, and is essential for the perpetuation of the species." But surely that depends how many centuries you're talking about. I am pretty sure there were centuries in which the species survived without the benefit of marriage between men and women. And that's just our species.
I'm no expert on either, but history does not appear to be Natural Law's best subject.
Recently, University of Illinois Adjunct Associate Professor of Religion Kenneth Howell found himself in hot water over an email he sent to his students, explaining "utilitarianism and sexuality." He wrote:
NML [Natural Moral Law] says that Morality must be a response to REALITY. In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same. How do we know this? By looking at REALITY. Men and women are complementary in their anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Men and women are not interchangeable. So, a moral sexual act has to be between persons that are fitted for that act.
If that logic is hard to grasp, consider his history. "In the last few centuries," he wrote:
We have gradually been separating our sexual natures (reality) from our moral decisions. Thus, people tend to think that we can use our bodies sexually in whatever ways we choose without regard to their actual structure and meaning. This is also what lies behind the idea of sex change operations. We can manipulate our bodies to be whatever we want them to be. If what I just said is true, then this disassociation of morality and sexual reality did not begin with homosexuality. It began long ago.
Ah, so the downward moral slide didn't begin recently - when homosexuality was invented - but long ago. That must have been back before masturbation was discovered. Just to be clear that his moral conclusion was not dependent on religion - which some people might consider inappropriate - Howell clarified, "Catholics don't arrive at their moral conclusions based on their religion. They do so based on a thorough understanding of natural reality."
The other foot