Vatican: Respect Homosexuals

From Catholic News Service, the Vatican spokesperson has responded to Cardinal Barragan's comments about gays "never" going to heaven. 

In response to a report that a Mexican cardinal stated homosexuals will be banished from heaven, the Vatican spokesman said people should treat those who have homosexual tendencies with respect and compassion...In a Dec. 2 e-mail response to reporters' requests for a reaction, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said, "First of all I would like to point out that the site, pontifex.roma.it, lacks authority and is not a good source for understanding with objectivity the church's thoughts on complex and delicate issues like evaluating homosexuality."  "It would be better, for example, to refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which does talk about homosexual acts as 'disordered,' but takes into account the fact that 'the number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible, '" Father Lombardi wrote.  Homosexuals "must be welcomed with respect and sensitivity, and 'every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided,'" he wrote, quoting the catechism. 

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And the Reuters story on the response.

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Brian Thompson
7 years 10 months ago
Vatican confirms that sinners and those tempted to sin should be treated with compassion and respect. Incidentally, water is also wet.
This is good that a cardinal, of all people, who used a rather poor choice of words has been corrected by the Church. I just hope people will read and understand the Vatican's position. Respect and compassion for those with such deep seated tendancies does not mean acceptance or approval of the particular sins they are tempted to. On the other hand, we must be very careful to delineate clearly that people's actions, though they are a pretty sure reflection of the person's character, are not the whole of a person, who has the infinite dignity of the image of God, or his intentions, which can be good or evil but are not available to us.
Brendan McGrath
7 years 10 months ago
Oh thank God.
James Lindsay
7 years 10 months ago
The question is not whether we should follow God's ordering of Love, but what that order is. The evidence is mounting that the Church's view of the disordered nature of homosexuality is, in fact, incorrect. The vast majority of younger Catholics, including those who are active in the Church, tend to think that rethinking is necessary - and they are correct. The question is not whether there will be change, but when. Nancy D, demography, science and probably God are of a different opinion than yours on this issue.
Anne Danielson
7 years 10 months ago
There is an inherent, ordered nature in Love. Every act that is not oriented toward the Will Of God, is not an act of Love, to begin with. We must begin with the Truth regarding God's intention for Sexual Love.
Brendan Walsh
7 years 10 months ago
Hopefully it will not take the church as long to determine that homosexuality is (a) an abnormality, that (b) abnormalities are neither good nor bad, they just are as it did to finally admit that, despite its long-time and severely enforced teachings to the contrary, the sun and not the earth is the center of the universe.
We can all hope!
Anne Danielson
7 years 10 months ago
There is no evidence that suggests that the Church's view of the disordered nature of homosexual sexual acts is incorrect.
7 years 10 months ago
Good for Father Lombardi SJ. Here we see fidelity to the Cathechsim in action. As it should be.
William Lindsey
7 years 10 months ago
Nancy, you say, "There is no evidence that suggests that the Church's view of the disordered nature of homosexual sexual acts is incorrect."
 
I must disagree.  Profoundly so.
 
In my view, there is abundant, incontrovertible evidence of grace in the Spirit-filled lives and relationship of many gay believers I know.  Their lives and relationships exhibit sanctity in an often extraordinary way, when one considers that they not only lack the institutional support of the body of Christ, but even incur the hostility of many of those who profess to follow Jesus.
 
I see love abounding in many gay lives and gay relationships, as gay adults take care of aging parents whom their siblings refuse to assist in their old age, as members of gay couples sit by the bedsides of critically ill partners and take faithful care of them in their hour of need.
 
The church is much poorer for its refusal to accept the abundant gifts of grace that loving gay people and loving gay couples offer it.
Leonard Villa
7 years 10 months ago
Fr. Lombardi simply avoids the issue. His non-response is yes the CCC teaches homosexual acts are disordered and homosexual persons need to be treated with respect.  The Cardinal's remarks probably was a reference to 1 Cor 6: "Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,nor sodomites,nor thieves, will inherit the Kingdom of God."  Objectively speaking a person who wilfully and knowingly persists in homosexual behavior and dies with that state of mind will not inherit the kingdom but only the Lord knows the state of any individual's soul his/her subjective culpability.  However not just homosexuals but all who persist in serious sin risk exiling themselves to the state of hell.
S Bond
7 years 10 months ago
Regarding treating homosexuals with respect and compassion, I'm wondering if and when the Vatican will address the law pending in Uganda that will impose a life prison sentence for a single homosexual act and allows for the death penalty for repeated acts, and prison terms for those who don't turn gay people over to the police.
I contacted the Pro Life office of the USCCB and left a message expressing my hope that they will issue a condemnation of the proposed law.  Frankly, I haven't found anything yet from any of the Catholic leadership on this story, but maybe I've missed it?
 
Jim McCrea
7 years 10 months ago
Steph:
 
Blessed are those from whom you expect nothing:  you shall not be disappointed.
 
Faults are thick where love is thin.  English proverb.
 
“There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.”   Letter to Augusta Gregory (1902-11-22), from James Joyce by Richard Ellmann (1959) [Oxford University Press, 1983 edition, ISBN 0-195-03381-7] (p. 107)
Jeffrey Miller
7 years 10 months ago
Again how about wanting to find out if this is media distortion before sounding off.
Catholic News Agency covered it today calling it a likely misquote that they are checking on.
Don't you think media distortion is more likely than the highly un-nuanced quote attributed to him.  Or when it comes to issues involving same-sex attraction is it always the same jumping to conclusions?
 
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17934&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+catholicnewsagency%2Fdailynews+%28CNA+Daily+News%29
S Bond
7 years 10 months ago
Lucius, my understanding is that the translation of ''arsenokoitai'' as ''homosexual'' is actually pretty recent, and that Paul may have been condeming men who have sex with boys in that passage, and not grown men together? 
Leonard Villa
7 years 10 months ago
Steph, I understand there is not unanimity regarding the meaning of arsenokotai and I was not arguing necessarily for that translation.  I just raised the possibility that the Cardinal might be referring to this in his remarks.
William Lindsey
7 years 10 months ago
I agree, Lucius, that Cardinal Barragan was almost certainly alluding to the Corinthians text you cite.  I've seen media reports suggesting that he was citing Romans 1:27, but the Corinthians text is far more apt here.
 
And if we look at it carefully, we can see clearly the problem of taking a biblical text written in an entirely different cultural context than ours, and assuming that its terms fit neatly into current cultural debates.
 
First of all, there's no mention at all of transsexualism in the text.  On what basis can Cardinal Barragga convincingly argue that the scriptures tell us that trans people are barred from the reign of God?  It appears to me he is reading a contemporary cultural phenomenon into a text that did not and could not have reflected his preoccupations.
 
As to the confidence that many contemporary Christians have that the scriptures condemn "homosexuality," I'd note that this term didn't emerge until around the end of the 19th century.  The concept that people can have an innate predisposition for erotic attraction to members of their own sex didn't develop until the late 19th and the 20th century.
 
The scriptures don't address that concept, and can't have discussed what we now call homosexuality, because the concept and term weren't even available to the biblical writers.  Our confidence that we can retroject these terms into the biblical text is ill-founded, it seems to me.
 
And, of course, the more important question is why we are so intent on finding that term in the scriptures and on informing all gay human beings that their sin is the most heinous sin of all, when the biblical texts aren't ambiguous at all - anywhere throughout the entire bible - about believers' need to lead lives of mercy, compassion, and justice.  Or about the sinfulness of departing from mercy, compassion, and justice.
Anne Danielson
7 years 10 months ago
There is an inherent, ordered nature in Marriage that can not be changed. For this reason, "Fathers and Daughters are not demeaned, their equality is not rejected, their Love not denied, when they are barred from marrying one another."- Hadley Arkes

Marriage equality already exists. Every Person must meet the same standards to be Married. Our Constitution does not provide for establishing a separate Personhood based on sexual preference. Barring same-sex couples from Marriage is not discrimination to begin with.
William Lindsey
7 years 10 months ago
Nancy, you logged in earlier to introduce the topic of adultery.
 
When you did so, I asked why you thought that topic was pertinent in this particular discussion.
 
I don't believe you responded to my question.
 
And now you're talking about incest.  And so I have to ask you again, why adultery?  And why incest?
 
What connection do such issues have to with the topic at hand?  It seems to me that the topic of how gay and lesbian people are received and treated by the Christian community should deserve serious consideration in its own right.
 
Don't you agree?
Jeffrey Miller
7 years 10 months ago
As I suggested in response to your two posts on this subject that the Cardinal was misrepresented, I offer this new ZENIT article.
http://www.zenit.org/rssenglish-27740
Anne Danielson
7 years 10 months ago
William, there is an inherent, ordered nature in Marriage. That is why barring fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, children, same-sex couples, two men and one woman, two woman and one man, from marrying one another, can not be discrimination to begin with.

Matthew 5:28 clearly indicates that defining oneself or someone else according to one's sexual preferences would be in direct conflict with God's Commandment regarding the sin of adultery as well as God's definition of Sexual Love. Our only orientation should be towards the Word of God Who Is Love, to begin with.
William Lindsey
7 years 10 months ago
Thank you for your reply, Nancy.
 
The scriptures never use the term "sexual preference," and they could not have done so, since that psychological concept was unknown to the biblical writers.  So I'm puzzled that you can conclude so confidently that Matthew 5:28 clearly indicates that "defining oneself or someone else according to one's sexual preferences would be in direct conflict with God's Commandment regarding the sin of adultery as well as God's definition of Sexual Love."
 
I have to say honestly, too, that your argument about the definition of marriage strikes me as circular and tautological.  You argue that marriage is all about a man and a woman joining for life, and therefore the term marriage could not possibly mean anything other than this.
 
That's a tautological argument, and not a very convincing one, I'm afraid.  It's particularly unconvincing when it cites scriptures for whom the definition of marriage included polygamy for millennia.
 
I'm not convinced by such tautological arguments, particularly when they enshrine current prejudice as somehow sacred and beyond examination, since this is how things have always been, and how God intended them to be.  Precisely the same argument you are now offering - "there is an inherent, ordered nature in marriage," and it forbids same-sex marriage - was repeatedly used in the 20th century to prohibit interracial marriage.  The argument went that God had created the races as different races, and separated them, because God did not wish for the races to mix.
 
As a culture, we have now repudiated that argument as essentially self-serving.  It serves the needs of those who wish to cling to racial prejudice, and has no strong sound basis in either religious belief or in the norms that ought to govern a humane society.
 
I believe the same will one day happen with arguments like yours, vis-a-vis same-sex marriage.  And I would note that the introduction of adultery and incest into the discussion is a red herring designed to deflect attention from the weakness of your circular argument.
 
If the prohibition of same-sex marriage is clearly right and compelling, it ought to stand on its own merits, oughtn't it?  If it is right, it does not need to be forced into civil law through coercion.  And it should be able to defend itself in public debates that use reason to assess the rightness and wrongness of a moral position - particularly by those whose religious tradition weds faith and reason.
William Lindsey
7 years 10 months ago
Sorry for the following mistake in what I just posted:
 
"It's particularly unconvincing when it cites scriptures for whom" should read, "It's particularly unconvincing when it cites scriptures for which . . . ."
William Lindsey
7 years 10 months ago
Jeffrey, it's not clear to me if I am the "you" whom your last comment addresses - nor, if that's the case, was it at all clear to me that your previous comment was addressing me.
 
But if you are addressing me, I certainly don't want to receive your comment in silence.
 
In case you're talking to me, here are my thoughts in response.  First, my personal bias is to take most of what Catholic News Agency publishes with a grain of salt.  I don't share the ideological leanings of that particular news source, and I find it cooks the news in a right-wing direction that often distorts news stories.
 
Second, I did read the Zenit article to which you link, and I accept that Cardinal Barragan says that his words have been misrepresented.  What else could he say, I wonder?  But his words were unambiguous, and they still stand there, no matter how he now wishes to spin them.
 
And I wonder why the pope himself is remaining silent about what Cardinal Barragan said.  Or, for that matter, about what is taking place in Uganda right now - when other world leaders, including religious ones, are speaking out to condemn the Ugandan legislation that will make homosexuality susceptible to capital punishment.

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