The People Speak Out

Local voices connecting globally

This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.  (Pope Francis)

Canon Law 212 calls upon the laity to speak up:

2 - The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. - According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

A letter I posted to the gay man who, accompanied by his mother, has been invited to present at the World Meeting of Families. Mr. Belgau advocates for LGBT folks to follow institutional Church teaching.

Dear Mr. Belgau,

The description of your session at the World Meeting of Families includes this: “They will also talk about how Catholics should respond with both grace and truth to gay or lesbian friends or family members who struggle with or reject Catholic teaching on chastity.”

I trust you are seeking Truth and open to grace so I sincerely hope you will reflect on and pray about these questions. I would ask these were I in attendance. Were the World Meeting of Families designed by Francis there might actually be an opportunity to speak about anything without fear. You might be partnered with someone whose beliefs differ from your own and engage in a prayerful dialogue but that is not possible. What Francis sees as dialogue open to the Spirit, the current Philadelphia archbishop calls confusion from the devil. So, here is my attempt at a dialogue that will not happen in Philly.

The assertions about homosexuality in the Ratzinger catechism trace back to his Halloween Letter:
“Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a
sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective

Question. What evidence does Ratzinger provide that has you conclude you have an inclination (predisposition, proclivity, leaning) toward intrinsic moral evil?

Question. What is meant by “intrinsic?”

Question. And, given the fact that all of us sin, why is this particular inclination so worthy of warning and condemnation?

Question. How has he convinced you that you have an objective moral disorder? In what sense is it “objective?”

According to many scripture scholars, the biblical basis is shaky, save Leviticus, and we all know Jesus said nothing on the topic. Science? I know of not one scientific community whose research supports characterization of homosexuality as a disorder. The church does use science as a source in its search for Truth. Natural Law? There are so many versions of natural law that one pope had to declare that the correct understanding of natural law is the one the Church defines. Your personal experience? Again, personal experience, especially the sensus fidei fidelium , is another source in seeking Truth and the People of God, based on their experience, have come to conclusions about homosexuality that are contrary to the Ratzinger position. Half of US Catholics do not see homosexuality as a sin. It seems ludicrous to say they not understand the Church’s teaching. Are they simply immoral, unthinking people devoid of commitment to following the Gospel?

More from the Halloween Letter.

“But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

Question. Could you imagine Ratzinger’s words being used by a defense lawyer for a gay basher?

Question. Many have speculated that Josef Ratzinger’s obsession with homosexuality is an instance of projection. Might his apparent certainty have its origins in his own personal experience and struggle with sexual attractions? Aren’t all organizations at risk of being misled based on the limited development of their leaders?

I wish you well, promise prayers for you to find whatever way is best for you, and ask for your prayer in return.

Martin Leahy

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