CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

What is the soul?
The soul is what makes every individual person a man: his spiritual life-principle and inmost being. The soul causes the material body to be a living human body. Through his soul, man is a creature who can say “I” and stand before God as an irreplaceable individual.
Men are bodily and spiritual creatures. A man’s spirit is more than a function of his body and cannot be explained in terms of man’s material composition. Reason tells us that there must be a spiritual principle that is united with the body but not identical to it. We call it the “soul.” Although the soul’s existence cannot be “proved” scientifically, man cannot be understood as a spiritual or intellectual being without accepting this spiritual principle that transcends matter.

From where does man get his soul?
The human soul is created directly by God and is not “produced” by the parents. Man’s soul cannot be the product of an evolutionary development out of matter or the result of a generative union of the father and mother. With every man, a unique, spiritual person comes into the world; the Church expresses this mystery by saying that God gives him a soul, which cannot die; even if the person loses his body in death, he will find it again in the resurrection. To say, “I have a soul,” means that God created me not only as a creature but as a person and has called me to a never-ending relationship with him.

Why did God create man male and female?
God, who is love and the archetype of community, created man male and female so that together they might be an image of his nature.
God made man in such a way that he is male or female and longs for fulfillment and completion in an encounter with the opposite sex. Men and women have absolutely the same dignity, but in the creative development of their masculinity and femininity they give expression to different aspects of God’s perfection. God is not male or female, but he has shown himself to be both fatherly (Lk 6:36) and motherly (Is 66:13). In the love of man and woman, especially in the community of marriage, in which man and woman become “one flesh” (Gen 2:24), people are privileged to sense something of the happiness of the union with God in which every man finds his ultimate wholeness. Just as God’s love is faithful, so also their love seeks to be faithful; and it is creative, as God is, because from marriage new life comes forth.

What about people who feel they are homosexual?
The Church believes that, in the order of creation, man and woman are designed to need each other’s complementary traits and to enter into a mutual relationship so as to give life to children. That is why homosexual practices cannot be approved by the Church. Christians owe all persons respect and love, however, regardless of their sexual orientation, because all people are respected and loved by God.

There is no man on earth who is not descended from a union of a mother and a father. Therefore it is a painful experience for many homosexually oriented people that they do not feel erotically attracted to the opposite sex and necessarily miss out on the physical fruitfulness of the union between man and woman according to human nature and the divine order of creation. Nevertheless, God often leads souls to himself along unusual paths: a lack, a loss, or a wound – if accepted and affirmed – can become a springboard for throwing oneself into the arms of God: the God who brings good out of everything and whose greatness can be discovered in redemption even more than in creation.

Advertisements