Stephen Maseda | Sloppiness or Mischaracterization?

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

I would not have chosen Mr. Arthur Saginian, a self-proclaimed agnostic, to provide Biblical interpretation. His letter (March 15) is based on the premise that Pope Francis has allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, which he mistakenly asserts allows priests to bless same-sex marriage. He then proceeds to assert that Jesus set aside the Torah, the Jewish Bible if you will, consisting of the five books — the first of which is Genesis, thereby voiding the proscriptions concerning homosexual conduct. I do not know if this is willful mischaracterization or simple sloppiness.

As for Mr. Saginian’s initial assertion, he mischaracterizes what Pope Francis did. What he actually did was allow priests to bless same-sex couples, so long as they did not in any way appear to endorse same-sex marriage. In other words, he did not change the church’s prohibition of performing or sanctifying same-sex marriages, but allowed priests to bless individual parishioners, as they would any other sinner. The forgiveness of sin is an essential part of Christianity, and is affirmed in the Apostles’ Creed. 

So what the pope has done does not run counter to Genesis 2:23-25, which, after describing the creation of woman to be a companion to man, says therefore man leaves his father and mother, and unites with his wife and they become one flesh. The Torah, on the other hand, condemns men who lie with other men as they would a woman (Leviticus 18:13, 22), which is adopted in the New Testament, e.g. Romans 1: 26-27.

As for Jesus and his teaching concerning the Torah, he again has apparently not read Jesus’ teachings. I would refer him to Matthew 5:17-20, where Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” 

Finally, as for Jesus’ teaching about marriage, he might read Matthew 19:3-5 where Jesus reiterates Genesis 2:25 — that man shall leave his father and mother and unite with his wife and they become one flesh.

Stephen Maseda

Santa Clarita

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