Tomorrow opens Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome. The purpose of the meeting is “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.” Traditional, observant Catholics are waiting upon the outcome with a feeling of dread. It is well known that the German delegation, headed by Cardinal Kasper, wants the Church to become ‘more modern.’ By that, of course, he has obliquely hinted that recognizing homosexual unions and admitting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to Communion would be just swell. Never mind that Bible-y stuff. They were described this way after the 2014 Extraordinary Synod:
Bishop Athanasius Schneider also gave some remarkable reflections in an interview granted to Polonia Christiana. His judgement on the bishops of the ‘progressive’ party was that:
such bishops try to legitimize their infidelity to Christ’s word by means of arguments such as “pastoral need”, “mercy”, “openness to the Holy Spirit”. Moreover they have no fear and no scruples to pervert in a Gnostic manner the real meaning of these words labelling at the same time those who oppose them and defend the immutable Divine commandment and the true non-human tradition as rigid, scrupulous or traditionalist.
For non-Catholics this is inside baseball but for Catholics who actually care it is importance. The entry point the pagan clergy are using to make their case is “pastoral” teaching. What this should mean is that a pastor counsels his flock in a loving and gracious manner rather than hectoring them but the bottom line of the moral teaching of the Church must be upheld. It is being interpreted by the dissenters as patting people on the head and saying don’t worry about that sin stuff because God is Love.
The Communion for the civilly remarried is, I admit, a sticky issue as we have slouched towards giving marriage the stability of a one-night stand by adopting no-fault divorce. The feeling is that by denying these people access to Communion, the Church is losing them and their children. I’m not smart enough to pretend to know what the answer is.
But Communion for the divorced is just the gateway drug for homosexual marriage.
Today, as the prelates were assembling in Rome a Polish priest gave a press conference announcing he was resigning from his position in the Church doctrinal office called the Congress for the Doctrine of the Faith, this was led by Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI. Why did he resign? Because he was homosexual and in a sexual relationship.
The Vatican on Saturday fired a monsignor who came out as gay on the eve of a big meeting of the world’s bishops to discuss church outreach to gays, divorcees and more traditional Catholic families.
The Vatican took action after Krzysztof Charamsa, a mid-level official in its doctrine office, came out in newspaper interviews in Italy and Poland saying he was happy and proud to be a gay priest, and that he was in love with a man whom he identified as his boyfriend.
“The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure,” the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.
As a result, Charamsa could no longer work at the Vatican or its pontifical universities, he said. Despite his dismissal, Charamsa remains a priest, although Lombardi hinted that his superiors could take further action.
As so often happens, the media gets this story somewhat mangled. The priest was not “fired” for “coming out.” He was removed from his position because he had broken his ordination vows. The same thing would have happened if he had a girlfriend but then no one in the media would care.
His actions though should be looked at a political theater designed to try to coerce the Synod into altering Church teaching on homosexuality by raising the issue at this time.
With regard to the declarations and interview given by Msgr. Krzystof Charamsa it should be observed that, notwithstanding the respect due to the events and personal situations, and reflections on the issue, the decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the Synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the Synod assembly to undue media pressure. Msgr. Charamsa will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical universities, while the other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan Ordinary.
Along with the resignation news conference this manifesto was released:
1. Disposal of homophobia and anti-gay discriminationWe demand that the Catholic Church divest itself of activities, the mentality and language of homophobia, hate speech, humiliation and depreciating, marginalization, stigmatization and rejection of LGBT people. We demand the cessation of the Church of discrimination and soft persecution of these people so within it as well as beyond its borders.
2. Condemnation of punishment for homosexuality
We demand that the Church unequivocally speak out against punishment for sexual orientation and against the death penalty or imprisonment, against any acts of cruelty against any discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, as well as against attempts to undergo “reorganizational therapies” of persons belonging to sexual minorities.
3. Cessation of the Church’s interference in guaranteeing human rights by democratic states
We demand that the Church revise its past behavior to states and nations which, through the democratic development of civilizations, seek to guarantee human rights, including the right of persons belonging to sexual minoritiesto love and to civil marriage. Civilized countries should respect their autonomy for the sake of the common good of all, not just Catholics.
4. Canceling incompetent and prejudicial documents
We demand the Pope revise the Catechism and repeal all the cruel documents that are incompetent to deal with the issue of homosexual persons, who are the object both of the Church’s compassion and stigmatization — in particular, the documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the heir to the Holy Inquisition. Unacceptable documents include:
a) the declaration Persona Humana from 1975, discussing among other things the “pathological constitution” of homosexual persons, which by their nature supposedly “have difficulty adjusting socially” and carry an “disorder” that “without the necessary and significant adjustment” is considered a “depravity”;
b) Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons of 1986, which calls for “compassion” for homosexuals, who “suffer” from same-sex attraction, and which accepts the existence of “fair discrimination” against homosexuals and rejects only “unjust discrimination” against them;
c) the outrageous Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons in 1992;
d) Considerations Regarding Proposals to Legalize Unions Between Homosexual Persons from 2003, according to which homosexuality is “devoid of any genuine affective maturity,” and homosexual relationships are devoid of any “human and ordered form of sexual relations”;
e) the Catechism of the Church Catholic, sections 2357–2359, teaches that not only same-sex acts but also homosexual orientation are “objectively disordered.” It also emphasizes that by nature, homosexuals have no emotional complementarity with other human persons they love. And it adds that for most of us orientation is a difficult experience requiring compassion toward our neighbor, but not without avoiding just discrimination. How does the Church know what is our suffering and difficulty? Well, it is not sexual orientation, but homophobia from the Church. Learning via the Catechism is offensive, apart from the fact that the very definition of homosexuality is deficient, if not quite false. The analysis of the situation of homosexual persons is also deficient.
5. Immediate cancellation of discriminatory instructions about denying the priesthood to homosexual persons
We demand that the Pope immediately abolish regrettable instructions about refusing the ordination of homosexuals, endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.
6. Initiate a serious interdisciplinary scientific reflection over the morality of human sexuality
We demand that the Church initiate a serious and objective scientific reflection on sexual morality, taking note of the development — which so far the Church has only viewed ideologically — of science and reproductive health services, medical, psychological, psychiatric, biological, sociological, anthropological, Gender studies, etc.
7. Revision of the interpretation of biblical texts on homosexuality
We demand that the Church treat seriously the question of its own interpretation of the Bible, freeing itself of fundamentalism, noting verses that talk about homosexual people, never condemning them, and contextualizing biblical texts that address homogenital acts.
8. Adoption of ecumenical dialogue with our Lutheran and Anglican brothers about homosexuality
We demand that the Church take seriously ecumenical dialogue on the issue of homosexuality with Christians, Protestants and Anglicans who, in an open and transparent process of maturation, have developed their own beliefs on this subject, which may help the Catholic Church understand the reality of it.
9. The need to ask for forgiveness toward homosexuals
We demand that the Church stop persecution and crimes against homosexuals and to cease committing similar acts from now on.
10. Respect for and belief in homosexuals and change in the distorted position of the Church on what a homosexual Christian life should look like
We demand that the Church finally open itself up to believing in homosexuals, who are baptized persons belonging to sexual minorities who still do not have the right to dispose themselves in total love and resignation to a healthy sex life, which expresses their nature in accordance with their sexual orientation.
Essentially, a man who was a priest and in the office overseeing Catholic doctrinal consistency is demanding that the Church just throw away its teachings on human sexuality. Because twitching genitals.
This is a public relations crisis of the Vatican’s own making. The men that compose the Church hierarchy are much like those in any other bureaucracy. They tend to have friends and they tend to overlook faults of friends. This man had risen through Church ranks to a position of responsibility. He wasn’t some priest in a remote parish. His homosexuality and the existence of his homosexual lover could not reasonably have been a secret. He was coddled and protected. His violation of his ordination vows and of the teachings of the Church had to have been known. (As an aside, this is much the same impulse that set off the pedophilia scandal that has done so much harm to the Church.) This is NOT a new problem in the Vatican. In 2013, Pope Francis spoke of there being a ‘gay mafia’ in the Vatican. The fact that such a thing was known to exist and an organization that forbids, in no uncertain terms, homosexual activity allowed it to fester is a source of shame for the Church.
While this has disrupted the opening of the Synod, it is probably more of a sign of weakness than strength. Rumors have it that the more prelates who understood what Cardinal Kasper was up to, the stronger the resistance was growing. One suspects that this stunt is an acknowledgement that the progressives have lost this round… but there is always another.