The Confusion Surrounding Homosexuality
I have been musing and invoking the Holy Spirit in prayer, some considerable time this week, as to what to convey in this, my final, “Pastor’s Corner.” First of all, after attending the pleasant Birthday and Farewell Barbecue that took place last Sunday afternoon, I am moved to thank all of you parishioners who took the time to come by and see me off, and in particular, the dedicated group of volunteers headed-up by Sara and Mike Creech. Yes, it was quite emotional, in a positive way. Most heartening was the surprising number of individuals, and couples, that related (with what I call “tears of joy”) the faith strengthening and healing encounters we had.
There were conversations and counselling that resulted in everything from processing the death of a spouse or family member, to understanding and coming to grips with the reconciling of marital, child-rearing, and personal sacramental difficulties. Also, extremely uplifting were the sharing and thanking me, that I had something to do with their return to an embrace and practice of their faith. Unfortunately, I choke up quite easily, and I revealed that all-too-often last Sunday, when being thanked and given credit for their return. We all know (and I certainly know) that these glorious happenings are the work of the Holy Spirit, and we are but the intercessors…but prayerfully intercede we must, this is the primary work of every pastor of souls…of every priest, no prayer goes unheard. Praise be to God! I cannot believe how quickly the 2 ½ hours of greetings and picture-taking virtually flew by. Thank you all so very much.
I realize this weekly “Corner” evolved quite quickly from a concise “corner” to a page and then two pages. While that became quite burdensome (time wise) for me, it precipitated from the bewildering events that began taking place. Most unsettling was the never properly extinguished, “still-glowing embers, ” from the 2002 clerical sex-abuse scandal, once again flaring up and bursting into flame. The Church sponsored the “John-Jay Study,” which was commissioned to uncover the cause of this horrific clerical sex-abuse. The results showed that over 80% of the abuse cases were not instances of child-abuse, or “pedophilia” as abuse of pre-pubescent victims is labeled. But these were rather, instances of abuse of post-pubescent male victims. So over 80% of the known abuse was male priest/bishop with a male victim… which equates to homosexual abuse. Apparently, the powers that be did not want this very negative result released, so they commissioned a follow-up John-Jay study which resulted in virtually the same statistics, showing over 80% male, non-child victims. However, the written interpretation and conclusions from the findings, quite awkwardly strove to conclude that homosexuality was not the cause of this rampant immoral behavior by priests and the clerical hierarchy.
Anyone can access these study findings on-line, and I will leave it at that. My main concern, and it should be a primary concern for all Catholics, is the confusion and conflicting interpretations from within the Church hierarchy surrounding Church Moral teachings. This confusion ramped up, in my mind, to crisis mode with the high-level rampant disagreement that emanated from the Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis, “Amoris Laetitia.” Before the document was published, 30 cardinals, having seen an advance draft of the Apostolic Exhortation, wrote to the Pope expressing their reservations, especially on the issue of allowing receipt of Holy Communion for remarried, not-annulled divorcees, warning that the document would weaken the three essential Sacraments of the Church: the Eucharist, Marriage and Confession. It was reported also that a “significant number” of Bishops’ Conferences also expressed concerns about the document.
Most notable of the public responses to “Amoris Laetitia” was the five “Dubia”, or canonical formal questions, issued by four Cardinals, asking the Holy Father for clarification. No response was ever provided, and it was at this point that “all heck broke loose.” Without clarification, confusion reigned world-wide and conflicting interpretations were being given by bishops and cardinals, nation-wide and world-wide. And then, most disturbingly, came the name-calling and denigration of Cardinals by Cardinals, and bishops by bishops over the conflicting, yet unclarified, interpretation of the Pope’s “Amoris Laetitia” document. This immediately brought to mind the October 13, 1973, Vatican-approved message of Our Lady of Akita in Japan, where Mary warned: “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see Cardinals opposing Cardinals, Bishops against other Bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests). Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises, and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.” Yet once again, Our Lady commended us all to say the Daily Rosary to avert these calamitous results.
This being my final bulletin communication, I feel drawn to add clarity to the other source of significant confusion, that being the Biblical and Church teaching on Homosexuality.
There was an excellent summation of this in the May 18th issue, “In Focus” section of Our Sunday Visitor, which I encourage all to download, review and keep handy for reference. Why? Because it goes without saying that confusion is profound within the Church. Again, I urge you to become familiar with the authentically Catholic and reputable websites that are available from our Parish Website and/or the church office. Do not be deceived by the duplicitous and frequently heterodox National Catholic Reporter website.
In brief, OSV highlighted the words of the Catechism, paragraph 2358. “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they encounter from their condition.”
Russell Shaw the author of this OSV article emphasizes that the press is full of journalistic hitmen and women, (citing the Post and The New York Times, attacking those who dissent from the now secular orthodoxy that demands approval of homosexual sex. Shaw relates: “Countercultural is an overworked word, but in withholding ascent from the totality of the LGBTQ agenda, the holdouts, and especially the Catholic Church, are standing against a central dogma of contemporary secular culture. Despite the criticism, though, the church believes it has no choice except to serve what it sees to be people’s best interests… Not just temporal interest either but eternal ones… By speaking the truth that some sexual acts, including those between two people of the same sex, are seriously wrong because they conflict with God’s plan for the right use of sex.”
Paragraph 2358 of the Catechism, cited above, was published in 1992 with the approval of Pope St. John Paul II. However…“Christian and Jewish teaching that homosexual acts are wrong goes back centuries before that. In the Old Testament the topic is treated in chapters 18 and 19 of the book of Leviticus, where homosexual sex is termed an “abomination.” It is also covered in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. Although some exegetes have argued that the sin condemned there is inhospitality, the account makes it clear that the inhospitable behavior of the men of Sodom was to demand the visitors in their city engage in the activity to which Sodom has given its name.
Although in the Gospels Jesus says nothing directly about homosexuality, a judgment that there is something about it that is not as the maker originally intended… Is implicit in what he says about marriage: “have you not read that from the beginning the creator made them male and female”’ (Mt 19:4). The New Testament’s most outspoken voice on this subject is, however, St. Paul. His first letter to the Corinthians includes practicing homosexuals in the list of those who “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1Cor 6:9), while in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, Paul says those who engage in homosexual acts mirror the self-inflicted blindness of people who turn away from the evidence for the true God present in creation and instead worship the false idols of paganism (Rom 1:20-27).
“This remained Church teaching in the centuries that followed. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas both condemned homosexual sex. Another notable witness to this tradition is St. Peter Damien, an 11th century church reformer, who published a book calling on Pope St. Leo IX to root out homosexuality among the clergy.” Shaw goes on to cite the impact that the erroneous data of the “Kinsey Reports” of the 1950’s and the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960’s had on attitudes toward homosexuality.
This excellent article is far too long to relate all its contents here. But needless to say, Church teaching on this moral issue has not changed. Pope Francis has taken a tough line on homosexuality in the priesthood and religious life. In a book length interview published last year, he said… “in consecrated and priestly life there is no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life.” He added that existing homosexual priests and religious should live celibacy with integrity, adding, “it’s better for them to leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.” But Francis also commented in his exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” that there are “absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family” (No. 251).
For the past two years, I have been involved with two ministries, headed up by Fr. Ed Murphy of our Diocese, that attend to people who are impacted by their own same-sex attraction or that of a loved one. “Courage International” is the name of an apostolate for those individuals carrying the cross of same-sex attraction and a desire to overcome it. “Encourage” International” is a gathering for those who are impacted by loved ones who are wrestling with same-sex attraction. Both of these groups meet regularly at the Catholic Center. Information on their meeting dates can be obtained by calling the Catholic Center. Please keep yourself up to date on what is transpiring in the Church regarding homosexuality as it is critically intertwined with the horrific ongoing scandal of clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up. Pray fervently for a cleansing of our Holy Catholic Church of the homosexual predators, high and low, who have damaged the Church’s reputation so severely in the minds of the public and loyal Catholics as well.
Yours in our forgiving, loving Savior,