Our Current Crisis
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:
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."
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.
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 discovered its existence, I have been troubled. I oppose discrimination against any person, including "homosexual" persons. However, I must admit I question the use of the term as a defining label. It seems to me that defining oneself as something that you are trying to overcome is counter productive.
However, we cannot pretend there are not homosexual persons. Nor can we treat them with discrimination or disrespect.
Again, the Catechism states the truth:
"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 may encounter from their condition."
However, my concern with even the existence of such a "Sexual Minorities Commission" within a Diocesan structure is that they do not help such persons to fulfill God's will but could promote a hidden agenda (knowingly or innocently). I believe that such commissions could serve as a part of an effort to "regularize" or "make equivalent" a kind of sexual activity that is not rooted within the marriage bond nor the procreative/unitive intent of the nuptial mystery. Instead, such activity is always and everywhere intrinsically disordered and sinful. It is always and in every instance a "use" and abuse of persons.
To create "Commissions" that seek to link or equate this behavior to a "suspect category" within civil rights legislation or even in common parlance, serves no good end.
If such commissions do this, they are also not helping the very people they purport to exist to both protect and serve, "homosexual persons".
The Catechism, once again provides the best statement on the path to freedom for these our "homosexual" brethren:
"2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection."
There are many outreaches to "homosexual persons" but perhaps the ones we hear of the most are "Courage" and "Dignity." They are polar opposities. The difference in approach between a faithful outreach such as "Courage" and an unfaithful one, such as "Dignity" is found in their explicit goals and commitments. Both purport to help persons struggling with Homosexuality.
"Courage" is faithful to the teaching of the Church and has been endorsed by the hierarchy. For example, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, speaking on behalf of the Holy See, had the following to say about the work of COURAGE: "This Pontifical Council for the Family supports the organization called "Courage" which was founded by Father John Harvey, OSFS, for helping homosexual persons to live in accordance with the laws of God and the teaching of His Church"
On the other hand, "Dignity" which says of itself: "Dignity/USA is the largest and most progressive national lay movement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (GLBT)" Catholics, our families, and our friends" openly rejects the teaching of the Church and, in fact, seeks to change that teaching at its most fundamental level. It is roundly rejected by the Church, even though it is allowed and at least tacitly encouraged in some Dioceses.
The two organizations provide a framework for our examination of approaches to this vital subject. We must ask ourselves what these "Commissions" or for that matter any effort that purports to serve "homosexual persons" is advocating.
As a lawyer I have fought for years for human and civil rights. I know the power of words. Verbal engineering often precedes legal, political, cultural and social engineering. I believe that there is an obvious effort at what I have called "verbal engineering" in the very use of the term "Sexual Minority".
There is no "minority" here. Disordered orientations are not the equivalent of race, gender, or religion. In fact, the very attempt to call those who struggle with all of this a "minority" is loaded. It is laying a legal, political, theological and verbal predicate for a redefinition of truth and social engineering. It is also not helping "homosexual persons" along the path to freedom. Only the truth will do that.
No-one should be discriminated against, including homosexual persons. But the basic understanding and clear teaching of the Catholic Church on the dignity of human persons and human sexuality cannot and will not change. All persons, including "homosexual persons need to hear the truth, for only "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32)
Sexual activity belongs within marriage. Homosexual orientation may not be sin but homosexual activity is. It is always a "wrong choice". It also participates in the "use" of another person as an object. Disordered appetites are not a civil right.
Our current crisis requires that we face the "Homosexual issue" in truth.
Only by doing so -in truth- will we get through this dark night and hasten the "springtime" of our Church.
Rev. Mr. Keith A Fournier, the founder and president of "Common Good", is a constitutional lawyer. Long active in political participation, Fournier was a founder of Catholic Alliance and served as its first President. He is a pro-life and pro-family lobbyist. He was the first Executive Director of the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice). He also served as an advisor to the presidential campaign of Steve Forbes. Fournier holds a Bachelors degree (B.A.) from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Philosophy and Theology, a Masters Degree (M.T.S.) in Sacred Theology from the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Pittsburgh and an Honorary Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.) from St. Thomas University. Fournier is the author of seven books on issues concerning life, faith, evangelization, ecumenism, family, political participation, public policy and cultural issues.
http://www.commongoodonline.com VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - President/Founder, 757 546-9580
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