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Our Current Crisis

7/22/2002 - 1:00 PM PST

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Our Current Crisis: TRUTH and the “Homosexual” issue

© Third Millennium, LLC

By: Deacon Keith A Fournier

I am a faithful Catholic. I love serving the Church as a member of the clergy, a deacon. I cherish and embrace the wealth of wisdom that is the Churches teaching. A Polestar of that teaching is that every single human person has an inestimable dignity because they are created in the image of God.

I also appreciate and accept the Church's solid pastoral instruction that this includes "homosexual persons." In using that term, the pastoral instructions make a distinction between orientation and practice. Homosexual orientation is not sin. Homosexual practice is sin.

The "orientation" I am concerned about in priests of the Catholic Church is the one toward sanctity and faithfulness. That means for a consecrated celibate priest, chastity within that vow of celibacy. For a married priest, (mostly found in Eastern Catholic churches though increasingly in the West as well through the “pastoral provision”), that means chastity within a faithful marriage.

The priest stands "in persona Christi"--- in the person of Jesus Christ. That is mystically and wonderfully the truest at the moment of consecration. However, it is true in every aspect of a priestly vocation. Jesus Christ does not abuse. He does not treat persons as objects, products or property. Nor should His priests ever do so!

OUR CURRENT CRISIS

Like all Catholics I have been deeply troubled by the unfolding scandal that involves unfaithful clergy (that includes deacons and Bishops along with priests) who are violating their vows, committing egregious sin, abusing children and others and, it appears, concealing their criminal activity and their sin.

I am deeply concerned for the victims. As a former prosecuting attorney, I worked with Children’s services and served in the Juvenile justice system. I know that this abuse must be exposed, the perpetrators punished, the victims helped and the common good protected against further abuse.

I believe that the admonition found in the Gospel of Mark has a unique application in our contemporary experience of this “dark night” of the purification of the Church. “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open” (Mark 4:22)

Ultimately I know that all of this will result in a holier Church, ready to respond to the extraordinary missionary obligation and opportunity of our age. This is not the first time in the history of our beloved Church that clergy reform accompanied a great renewal.

One of the issues being brought to the forefront through this difficult time is the reality of active, practicing homosexuals within the Catholic clergy. For a definition of homosexuality let’s look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

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Par. 2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

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We need to be crystal clear on this issue of homosexuality.

The approach of the Catholic Church on this subject is true. Yes, we must respect the dignity of every person. However, we must also not allow “agenda-izers” to use this current crisis, this time of purification, to push efforts to change the Church’s teaching on what is true - homosexual acts are always intrinsically disordered. Homosexual practice is sin.

A lay theologian friend once reminded me that “things are not true because they are Catholic, they are Catholic because they are true.” This is the case with the Churches teaching on human sexuality, the dignity of the human body, and the nuptial mystery that is revealed in the witness of both chaste marriage and chaste consecrated celibacy. It is within this context that we must examine the reality of homosexual practice in our midst and some efforts to “normalize” what is disordered.

SEXUAL MINORITIES?

I live in one of several Catholic Dioceses that has what is being called a “Sexual Minorities Commission” within its Diocesan structure. From the moment I ...

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