NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality and marriage is “philosophically untenable and theologically unnecessary,” according to Gary Gutting in a recent opinion piece for The New York Times.
The Notre Dame philosophy professor has a history of openly misrepresenting Church teaching, and now he is recommending that the Church abandon its teachings on marriage and human sexuality.
In response to San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s work fortifying Catholic identity in Catholic education, Gutting’s article, “Unraveling the Church Ban on Gay Sex,” attempts to sway opinion by suggesting that natural law and the Bible are unreliable supports for Church teaching.
According to Gutting, “the church needs to undertake a thorough rethinking of its teachings on sexual ethics, including premarital sex, masturbation and remarriage after divorce.”
He continues, “In every case, the old arguments no longer work (if they ever did), and a vast number of Catholics reject the teachings. It’s time for the church to realize that its sexual ethics are philosophically untenable and theologically unnecessary.”
It is “an open question whether to accept the reasonable conclusion that homosexual acts need not be immoral and reject the view that this is what the Bible says,” Gutting writes.
In the article, he indicates that natural law arguments against homosexual acts have not provided a “satisfactory response” to questions he deems critical. Non-reproductive sex and sexual acts, both heterosexual and homosexual, could “play a positive role in a humanly fulfilling life,” he suggests.
Gutting also suggests that the Church’s moral teaching could change under Pope Francis’s leadership. “Since the official church, under Pope Francis, is more than ever open to this sensible view, the time is overdue for a revision of its philosophical misunderstanding of homosexual acts,” he writes in the piece.
This is not the first time that Gutting has attacked Church teaching. Last year, he wrote in another NewYork Times piece that Pope Francis should reconsider the Catholic stance on abortion, even stating that “[r]evising the ban on abortion would not contradict the pope’s overall commitment to the ‘value of the human person.’”
In 2012, Gutting was rebuked by the late Catholic University of America professor William May. May dismantled Gutting’s arguments that the “immorality of birth control is no longer a teaching of the Catholic Church.”
Published with permission