The Sin of Sodom

Where does the word “Sodomy” come from and what does it mean? The word refers to the city of Sodom–a city in the Book of Genesis which, along with Gomorrah, was known for the wickedness of its inhabitants.

In Catholic moral theology sodomy is one of the sins that “cry out to heaven”.  These four grave sins are referenced in Old Testament passages, and in the present discussion about homosexuality it is worth taking time to read the passage from which we get the term. The story is found in Genesis 19. Abram’s nephew Lot and his family have gone to live in Sodom and they are visited by two avenging angels who come to rescue them from the city’s impending doom.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lotwas sitting in the gateway of the city.When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feetand spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insistedso strongly that they did go with him and entered his house.He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast,and they ate.Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet themand shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner,and now he wants to play the judge!We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

But the meninside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindnessso that they could not find the door.

The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you?Get them out of here, because weare going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so greatthat he has sent us to destroy it.”

What are we to make of this ancient story? Has it anything to say to our present condition? What do the homosexualists make of the passage? Read more.


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