Lots of reactions and interpretations have been flooding the internet and media publications regarding the latest pronouncement by the on-going Synod of Catholic Bishops in Rome on same-sex marriage. Below is an extract of the translation of the seemingly controversial document:
SYNOD14 - ELEVENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY: “RELATIO POST DISCEPTATIONEM” OF THE GENERAL RAPPORTEUR, CARD. PÉTER ERDŐ, 13.10.2014.
The Discussion: Pastoral Perspectives
Welcoming Homosexual Persons
50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
51. The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.
52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.
Earlier in June 3, 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under Joseph Card. Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus) as the Prefect had concluded that:
“The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.” (Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, No. 11).
In the face of the babel of reactions for and against this latest pronouncement, my questions are: What is our problem with the Church’s opinion to approach homosexuals and lesbians with Love, Charity and Forgiveness as fellow sinful children of God who also need to be saved? If Jesus had encountered any of them like he met Mary Magdalene (Lk. 8:2; Mk. 16:9), the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-26), or the woman condemned for adultery (Jn. 8:1-11), do we think he would have driven him or her away with a whip as he did to those buying and selling in the Temple (Mtt. 21:12)?
Without prejudice to the fact that their case is an abnormality and a sin, I think that we need a genuine Christian spirit like the one inspiring the Church, for us to understand and appreciate this move. Moreover, the Church has not declared Same-sex Union as a right practice and a valid form of Matrimony unlike some civil societies and Protestant Denominations have done. Rather, the Church is simply working on a hypothesis of acknowledging people with this disorder as fellow sinful Christians who are also in need of that same salvation which is the primary goal of the Church. Let us not forget what St. Paul said about the weak versus the strong (Rom. 14:1; 15:1; ICor. 9:22; Gal. 6:2; IThess. 5:14, etc).
Thanks be to God that you and I did not find ourselves in this disorder either by human influence, gender crisis, biological or psychological abnormal sexual orientation or instinct, etc. I bet you, we may have done just little or nothing about it.
So, let us not allow this seeming bombshell to move or affect our faith in the Church’s wisdom of decisions. It is still in the offing and not yet a conclusive declaration. So help us God.