Why do vegetarians eat mock meat? There are two kinds of vegetarians. One kind is those who freely choose to be vegetarians for one reason or another. This kind who tend not to eat mock meat, unless they are looking for some variety. Even so, mock meat is not a common part of their diet.
The other kind is those who did not choose to be vegetarians. Perhaps they have a disorder that prevents them from eating meat. Or perhaps they were born into a religion that forbids them from eating meat. Now these are the kind of people who would eat mock meat, because they did not really choose to be vegetarians. They desire to eat real meat, but because they cannot, they settle for a substitute.
Mock meat looks like meat, smells like meat, but when you bite into it, you know for sure that you’re not eating meat. If you have a good imagination, you might be able to fool your senses into believing that you really are eating real meat. But you know you’re not, because if you are a vegetarian, whether by choice or not, you know you should not be eating meat. That’s why you eat mock meat.
However, a vegetarian who continues to eat mock meat is only making it harder for himself to live a truly vegetarian lifestyle. So long as he believes mock meat to be a substitute for real meat, he will never truly accept his condition that he cannot eat real meat. Every time he eats mock meat, he will be reminded of the real meat which he cannot eat, and he grows more resentful of his vegetarian condition.
What is the way out of this unfortunate dilemma then? When a person truly accepts that his condition as a vegetarian makes him unable to eat real meat, he will choose a lifestyle in which meat is not an option. When he turns away from eating mock meat and has a lifestyle that is truly vegetarian, he will, in time, come to grow accustomed to such a lifestyle and may even see the benefits of such a lifestyle.
These are the people who have freely chosen to be vegetarians and are happy about their choice. They have accepted their condition as vegetarians and are happy about not being able to eat meat.
Something similar can be said for diabetics. A diabetic is one who cannot take sugar. He did not choose to be diabetic, but his diabetes is a disorder that prevents him from taking sugar. The modern day substitute for sugar is artificial sweetener. But is taking artificial sweetener good for the diabetic? Let’s take a look.
When a diabetic first learns of his medical condition, he is most often in denial. He refuses to accept that he cannot take sugar again. Slowly he comes to accept it that sugar is poison to him, so he settles for a substitute artificial sweetener. The thing is, artificial sweetener is not sugar and it doesn’t taste the same.
Every time the diabetic takes the artificial sweetener, he is reminded that he cannot take real sugar and resents his medical condition. The artificial sweetener that is so present in his life is a constant reminder of his medical condition which he has not truly accepted. In fact, we can even say that the artificial sweetener prevents or hinders the diabetic from accepting his medical condition.
Consider the alternative where a diabetic stops taking sugar (natural and artificial) altogether. He accepts that his medical condition means that he will never be able to take sugar again. Therefore he goes in search of alternative food that will enable him to eat normally and not miss sugar. In time, he grows accustomed to food without sugar and is no longer resentful of the fact that he cannot take sugar. Sure, he might miss sugar, but not as much as the diabetic who is still taking artificial sweetener, because he has grown to accept life without sugar.
Finally, let’s look at homosexual unions. Homosexuals are people who did not choose to become homosexual. One of the effects of being a homosexual means that one cannot enter into a marital union because this means a union with a member of the opposite sex. What can a homosexual do then?
The answer that the world seems to give is that homosexuals can enter into a homosexual union. This is not a marital union and can never be. But the world would have us believe that it is a substitute for marriage that is applicable only to homosexuals. But it is not and cannot be a substitute for marriage because it is not marriage any more than mock meat is meat or artificial sweetener is sugar.
A homosexual in a homosexual union may be happy with his homosexual union and may even be able to live a happy life. But such a homosexual will never be happy being a homosexual. Why? Because his homosexual union is a constant reminder of the marital union that he really desires, just as artificial sweetener is a constant reminder to the diabetic of the sugar he really desires.
The homosexual union will make the homosexual grow even more resentful of his homosexual condition and he will never truly come to accept the gravity of his condition as a homosexual. This is because of the lie that he constantly tells himself – that his homosexual union is an alternative to marriage, and he knows deep down that it is not and can never be an alternative to marriage.
What choice then is there for a homosexual? Like the vegetarian who accepts his condition as a vegetarian, like the diabetic who accepts his condition as a diabetic, a homosexual can come to accept his condition as a homosexual… that being a homosexual means that he can never get married.
He can then begin to look for alternative lifestyles, such as celibacy, which will not serve as constant reminders of his inability to marry. In time, he may grow accustomed to celibacy and even begin to see the benefits of such a lifestyle.
The world would have us believe that the legitimisation of homosexual unions is showing compassion to homosexuals and their condition. This is a lie. In fact the contrary is true. Homosexual unions do harm to homosexuals because it hinders or prevents the full acceptance of their homosexual condition. It prevents them from finding alternatives to marriage, alternatives that they can be truly happy as a homosexual. Homosexual unions prevent homosexuals from accepting their sexual identity as homosexuals.
This is why the Catholic Church forbids the legitimisation of homosexual unions – because it has in mind the good of the homosexual person and aims to help the homosexual person to come to terms and accept his disordered sexual condition. The legitimisation of homosexual unions does, in fact, cause more harm to the homosexual person.
Note: This is a personal reflection and may not be the stand of the Catholic Church. It is open to critique and comments.
Added on 14 June 2008:
I wrote this post more than a year ago, and I’ve since learnt more about this subject. Below is the stand of the Catholic Church on homosexuality.
The Catholic Church forbids homosexual acts and same-sex unions because such sexual acts and unions are not marital. For a sexual act to be marital:
- it must be an act of the generative kind; that is, culminates in a union of the generative organs in which the wife accepts into her genital tract her husband’s genital organ, and the seed he thereby gives her; and
- it is an act of friendship; in which each is seeking to express commitment to and affection for, and the desire to benefit and give marital pleasure to, and share marital pleasure with, the other spouse as the very person to whom he or she is committed in marriage.
Homosexual acts are just one group of sexual acts that are not marital. Other sexual acts that are not marital include marital rape, marital lustful acts, marital masturbation, contraceptive sex, adultery, pre-marital sex, etc.