Why can’t two men or two women be united in the Christian sacrament of marriage?
In the Eucharist, the priest prays that God will make/show the elements of the bread and wine to be His body and blood, just as in the marriage service the priest prays that God will unite the man and the woman.
However Christ already united His body to the bread, and His blood to the wine, at the Last Supper. Only this original act of Christ makes it possible for the priest to repeat it. Christ’s original action is present in every subsequent celebration of the Eucharist.
Likewise, when God created humankind, Adam prophetically said, “This (woman) is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two of them shall be one flesh.” Clearly it had been revealed to the writer of this passage that God’s original act of uniting the man and the woman would be repeated – would be present – in the union of every man and woman to come after them. This is what makes marriage a sacrament.
Christ Jesus Himself puts the “Amen” on this passage when he quotes it and says, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man break apart.”
Any priest who tries to unite two men or two women and call it marriage cannot call on God’s original creative act in this way.
Nor is it a mere matter of economia to admit practicing, unrepentant homosexuals to the Eucharist.
St. Paul, who was a disciple of the risen Christ (was taught personally by Him) reflects on this same passage in Genesis by saying, “Shall we unite the members of Christ’s body to a whore?” I don’t think he meant to say that no former repentant harlot could commune with Christ. Rather, he was saying that no one should join himself to Christ by Holy Communion and then join his body, made a member of Christ, to a woman who was not his wife. This was so concerning that he had to clarify that the believing husband sanctifies his own unbelieving wife for this purpose.
Notice that St. Paul’s objection to prostitution is not that it “objectifies women.” No, his objection is that it violates, infringes on, and abuses The Mystery, of which both the woman and the man and Christ take part.
I would then ask a parallel question.
Shall we abuse the members of Christ’s body with sodomy?
Why not? (If we must ask.)
Because it violates The Mystery. Because it shames Christ.
Can God unite two men in marriage?
He has already declined to do so. Or rather men would not be men and women would not be women if they had not been made complementary to one another. God does not seek to unite himself to another God. Rather he seeks the human soul which has been made to receive him. In an image of this mystery, a woman’s body was made to receive her husband’s body. In order to imitate this act without a woman, two men must use a filthy dishonorable organ of the body that was never intended to be the vehicle of a mystical union. According to St. Simeon the New Theologian (who had visions) Adam and Even in the garden, before sin entered the world and our human race, did not have any need for waste elimination.
St. Paul wrote, “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” He was being compassionate when he said that. The Lord is terrifying because when the veil of our gross materiality is removed from our mind, His massive power, divinity and presence replaces everything that used to fritter away our awareness. His nearness will never again recede from all that we are. If something in us is opposed to him, how terrible for us.
St. Paul also said, “We have no other ambition than to be pleasing to Him.” No wonder.
Finally he warned that “the unrighteous cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Why? Because it’s impossible. Among those who qualify as “unrighteous” he lists both the effeminate and practicing homosexuals (right in amongst people practicing plenty of other more “normal” sins.)
So the biblical message to anyone practicing homosexuality is “repent, the Lord is at hand.” I’ll let others discuss the ways in which contemporary homosexuals may have different experiences or levels of responsibility than those St. Paul was speaking about. The primary message remains. Like a parent telling a two year old why she can’t drink poison, the Lord’s lasting message is, “This will hurt you.”