1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.
1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving his own "to the end," he makes manifest the Father's love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love." And again: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
1824 Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: "Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love."
1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still "enemies." The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.
The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: "charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
1826 "If I . . . have not charity," says the Apostle, "I am nothing." Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, "if I . . . have not charity, I gain nothing."Charity is superior to all the virtues. It is the first of the theological virtues: "So faith, hope, charity abide, these three. But the greatest of these is charity."The answer is short, the explanation, I believe, will be rather long. The first thing, I think is to understand that this is about being a Metaphysical Catholic, such as I am, I guess. It's about the Spirit, not the law.
We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law, with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, the unchaste, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. 1Tim 1:8-11It's interesting. At the same time Paul tells us that the law isn't meant for those who live by the Spirit, he lists the "godless and sinful" and among the murderers who kill their parents and other profane persons, sodomites. But the Church through the NAB gives us this explanation:
The Greek word translated as boy prostitutes may refer to catamites, i.e., boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world. In Greek mythology this was the function of Ganymede, the “cupbearer of the gods,” whose Latin name was Catamitus. The term translated sodomites refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys.I start with the Catechism and Scripture because two things happen here: first we are made to understand there is no greater virtue for us than Charity. Everything is essentially worthless without it. And we are shown the difference between obeying a rule and responding to the Spirit, a theme Paul comes back to again and again. But the mention of "sodomites," though clearly not a blanket condemnation of gay persons which is noted in at least three places, is often used, in and of itself, to completely negate Paul's message. The basic understanding for all Christian action is: OUR CHOICE IS ABOUT US AND GOD AND NOTHING ELSE. And if you don't believe that, check paragraph 1825: Christ died out of love for us, while we were still "enemies." We follow Christ through imitation. Our choice is not about anyone else's behavior. Jesus died in spite of us, for us, and we are not good, not one.
WE, as a faithful Catholics, are called on to practice chastity in all situations, before marriage and during. If we cannot enter Sacramental marriage, then we are called upon to live a single, chaste life. That's our duty and our choice. And that's the only part of this issue that is our business. The rest of our business is Charity, above all things. All things.
WHY should civil union be demanded by charity? Because the law is for the unrighteous. Because vile elements in a culture, our culture, torment, torture and kill other human beings for the fact of sexual orientation alone. Or suspected homosexual orientation. Because we marginalized to the point of non-existence people beloved of God, Our Father. Our own brothers and sisters. Because WE ARE THE UNRIGHTEOUS AND WE NEED THE LAW TO PROVIDE THE CHARITY.
What do people expect if they revile others and refuse them a place in the culture? That they will disappear into living oblivion, waiting quietly in a dark corner to die? WE forced human beings into the degrading situations of seeking brief comforts with strangers, of creating for many (not all, certainly) what was essentially an unhealthy sub-culture born of rage and self-loathing. We did that. When you give people no choices, disorder ineluctably follows. The incredible suffering and death from the out of control years of the AIDS epidemic we can lay right at our own feet.
The law will do what we will not. It will insist that human beings are treated with dignity and respect through the law. It will begin to bring into the warmth of the human family those standing outside too long. It will force us, the unrighteous, more squarely onto the path to Oneness. It will be pleasing to God.
All people like me who have the kinds of spiritual experiences referred to here, end up having to make a choice: do I believe myself? Because you just can't get validation from anyone except others like you. Maybe I am wrong. But I must listen to the God Who Graced me, who opened my mind and heart to a Light that is beyond any Law.