The immediate cause of our exchange was a homily he heard at Mass in which the preacher, in an apparently very forceful manner, was heard not only to condemn homosexuality, but homosexuals. For a variety of reasons, not least among which his son, a baptized Catholic, identifies as homosexual, this gave my friend pause. I have no intention of re-hashing our whole correspondence, but our discussion took an interesting turn as the result of my post earlier this week on Camus. Reading that prompted him to read Camus' "The Unbeliever and Christians." He was struck by Camus' insistence in this talk, given to a group of Dominican friars, that "the world of today needs Christians who remain Christians." I think this admission goes some distance to support the point that Camus knew there was more to Christian faith than he was often willing to admit, for whatever reasons.
In his lengthy newspaper correspondence with the recently deceased Umberto Eco, the late Cardinal Martini (their correspondence was published in book form, entitled in English Belief or Non-Belief: A Confrontation), specifically writing about why the Church does not ordain women, said- "The Church does not fulfill expectations, it celebrates mysteries."
When it comes to sexuality, it seems to me the mystery involved is well-summarized in verses 31-32 of the fifth chapter of the Letter to the Ephesians, concerning the meaning of marriage. It begins by citing what I usually call the Bible's ur verse on marriage, Genesis 2:24: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." The next verse notes, "This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church" (Eph 5:32).
In the wake of finishing the second book of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy, Perelandra, last fall, I took a stab at addressing this matter: "Metaphysical dialectics vs Sophiology." After finishing Perelandra, I went on to read Lewis' memoir Surprised by Joy. I was very much struck by what he wrote at the very beginning of the book's seventh chapter about the schoolboy homosexuality at the boarding school, Wyvern, he attended in his teens:
Here’s a fellow, you say, who used to come before us as a moral and religious writer, and now, if you please, he’s written a whole chapter describing his old school as a very furnace of impure loves without one word on the heinousness of the sin [homosexuality]. But there are two reasons. One you shall hear before this chapter ends. The other is that, as I have said, the sin in question is one of the two (gambling is the other) which I have never been tempted to commit. I will not indulge in futile philippics against enemies I never met in battle.I found much for personal application in this passage. In the same chapter, Lewis went to observe: "There is much hypocrisy on this theme [of homosexual relations]. People commonly talk as if every other evil were more tolerable than this. But why? Because those of us who do not share the vice feel for it a certain nausea, as we do, say, for necrophily? I think that of very little relevance to moral judgment."
("This means, then, that all the other vices you have so largely written about…" Well, yes, it does, and more’s the pity; but it’s nothing to our purpose at the moment.)"
At least for me, it's not necessary either to figure everything out all at once or figure anything out once and for all. By "figure out" I am referring to the why of things, not the what, which is pretty straightforward and easy to grasp. I've found it's good for me to re-visit matters and be open to the Lord's leading. Being open does not include expecting God to contradict himself, especially given how central marriage is to the divine plan; the Bible, after all, practically begins with a marriage and certainly ends with the wedding feast of the Lamb.
I suppose the question that I find relevant is a variation on Msgr. Giussani's all-encompassing "Is it possible to live this way?" - "How do I live the truth in love?" I've found a compelling and provocative answer in Micah 6:8, which tells me what the LORD requires of me: "Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God." Especially as a deacon, it's not my place to judge others, but it is my God-given duty to lovingly serve them in persona Christi servi. The only person I am in a position to judge is myself and I do so each and every time I go to confession. This reminds me how much I persistently have to be humble about.