Questions surround future of German Jesuit rector over L.G.B.T comments

Ansgar Wucherpfennig, S.J., lectures in Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt, Germany (SJ-Bild/Christian Ender).

Due to what appears to be his public comments about homosexuality and the women’s diaconate, a German Jesuit has not been given the permissions he needs to begin his term as rector of a graduate school of theology in Frankfurt.

Ansgar Wucherpfennig, S.J., was due to begin a third term as rector of the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology this fall, but has not received a nihil obstat, formal statement that there is nothing objectionable about a candidate, from the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.

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Father Wucherpfennig was approved for a renewal of his position by local authorities in February 2018, and his superior general sent in a request for the nihil obstat the following month. The Congregation for Catholic Education responded in June with concerns about Father Wucherpfennig’s interview from 2016.

In a newspaper interview in 2016, Father Wucherpfennig said he thought references to homosexuality in the Bible were “sometimes misunderstood phrases.” These statements were in response to the interviewer, Thomas Remlein, saying that Father Wucherpfennig had blessed gay couples and asking why the church had negative attitudes toward L.G.B.T. people. Father Wucherpfennig has also said that the women’s diaconate would not be enough to address a shortage in priestly vocations and has said he has “serious questions” about the fact that only men could serve as confessors.

"I see my comments on homosexuality and the blessing of same-sex couples as well within the bounds of Catholic doctrine," said Father Wucherpfennig.

"I see my comments on homosexuality and the blessing of same-sex couples as well within the bounds of Catholic doctrine," Father Wucherpfennig told the church newspapers of the dioceses of Limburg, Mainz and Fulda on Oct. 9. He refused to take back his statements and said, "I do not want to be rector at this price."

While Father Wucherpfennig has yet to receive approval from the Vatican, his provincial , Johannes Siebner, S.J., and Father Johannes zu Eltz, the Frankfurt city dean (a position of authority between parish priests and the bishop), have both expressed their support for Father Wucherpfennig.

“There is not the slightest doubt about Father Wucherpfennig's expertise, his loyalty (to the church) and thus his suitability for the rector's office,” Father Siebner told German news outlet Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

“Ansgar Wucherpfennig is a priest in good standing and an incorruptible academic,” said Father Eltz. He referred to Father Wucherpfennig’s unanswered request for a nihil obstat as “unjustified punishment” in an interview with the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

As Father Siebner explained in a recent interview, Father Wucherpfennig and Father Siebner responded promptly to the letter from the congregation, but they have yet to hear back.

Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg said he is still hopeful the situation will be resolved and that he supports Father Wucherpfennig’s work as rector.

An open letter from students and faculty at Sankt Georgen expressed anger over the situation and called for attention to the authority of the local church.

“We were all the more surprised to learn that Prof. Wucherpfennig was denied the nihil obstat for another term of office despite this unanimous support from the university, the local church and his order from the Congregation for Catholic Education,” said the open letter. “In our view, this is a serious interference with subsidiarity and is incomprehensible in view of his abilities, which Prof. Wucherpfennig has proven.”

On Tuesday evening Oct. 9, the Vatican press office confirmed to DPA, the German press agency, that the nihil obstat is still under review. It has not been denied as some outlets have reported. Father Siebner echoed this on Oct. 10: "I am confident...that the declaration of assurance from Rome will come soon.”

Oct. 11: This story has been updated and the title corrected to make it clear that the Vatican has not officially declined Father Wucherpfennig's permission to teach.

Barbara Knorr
1 week 2 days ago

This very topic has been on my mind. It saddens me to know how uncharitably my Church addresses those who are "other." We take our place as judges of those who do not meet our standards. In my lifetime those of other races were met with very strong discrimination.
I think of my ignorance as a youngster going along with societal standards without a second thought. We've had time to correct our attitudes so that "all are welcome in this place" as we sing so hopefully.
When our hierarchy time and again blocks attempts to include those who love our faith, our liturgy, and our community, perhaps it is time to take the log out of their eyes. Gender is not our choice. Neither is sexual orientation.

Tim O'Leary
1 week 2 days ago

Barbara - The Catholic Church must be free of political influence in teaching the fullness of the faith. Homosexual unions are against the teaching of the Scriptures, and over four thousand years of teaching. It would be cruel to all involved to teach falsehood and risk salvation of those in greatest need of the Truth.

Rose Red
1 week 2 days ago

Barbara, why must the question always be framed as if those who understand same sex (and unmarried) intimacy as harmful are adversarial and uncharitable? Genuine same sex attraction is a thing and can be recognized and validated without validating that which is not ordered to the happiness of human beings because it is contrary to our most fundamental nature. It's no picnic to want the sacred for someone that doesn't want it for themselves, believe me. If there was ever an eye opener for me, it was listening to those involved and aided by the Courage Apostolate. There is a "both and" here and it is quite beautiful.

Vincent Couling
1 week 2 days ago

RR, the heteronormative, anti LGBT ideology which has actively sought to deny civil rights for LGBT folk (including civil marriage for same-sex couples, denying of services to LGBT persons, etc) is indeed actively and deliberately adversarial, uncharitable and decidedly harmful.

The relatively recent anthropological discovery that being gay is a perfectly natural nonpathological minority variant in the human condition, much like left-handedness, has seen dramatic changes in much of the world ( http://jamesalison.co.uk/audio/one-in-christ/ ). And in those parts of the world where LGBT folk have begun to enjoy the same civil rights as the rest of the population, what has been observed is a dramatic flourishing in the wellbeing of the LGBT population. (The article "Stigma Against Gay People Can Be Deadly: L.G.B.T. people experience a range of social, economic and medical disparities that jeopardize their long-term health." explains observable trends ... https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/well/live/gay-lesbian-lgbt-health-st… .)

As for the so-called "courage" ministry, their foundational error (that all people are intriniscally heterosexual, and that people "suffering" from "same-sex attraction" can be rehabilitated) is now being exposed ... see "Courage founder pushed bishops to resist zero tolerance on abuse" ... https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2018/10/08/courage-founder-pushed…

Rose Red
1 week 1 day ago

An anthropologic "discovery" contrived from whole cloth in a clearly biased effort isn't in any way equivalent to right or left hand dominance which is an inherited genetic trait. I also think you're not completely familiar with what Courage stands for nor it's core principles. The founder of Courage, as described in the article has been shown to have been catastrophically wrong about just the things the organization helps people avoid. No one is forced into participating in the Courage Apostolate. It isn't for everyone.

Robert Lewis
1 day 12 hours ago

The problem with the Courage Apostolate is definitely not its advocacy of chastity, which is advisable for all sexed human beings (and has been, since the time Socrates refused to have sex with Alcibiades); it's its secrecy and shame-culture in most parts of the world. What has to be secret is by definition a vice, and same-sex-attraction is no more a vice than left-handedness or Lou Gehrig's disease is a "vice." Whatever happened to the Christian notion that a cross is to be EMBRACED, and the bearing of it PUBLICLY CELEBRATED by the whole ecclesia?

John Love
4 days 5 hours ago

One element of the LGBT movement that has always puzzled me, and continues to do so, is the twinning of same sex attraction folks with those who claim to be bi-sexual, and then again, with those who claim to be transgender, and the now curious and seemingly endless addition of letters to the acronym...the latest iteration, I think, is "LGBTQIA." Besides lumping a big swath of humanity into one acronym, does this really help the cause of human compassion and understanding? I think you will find that people are just that... we're all just human beings struggling with sexuality and holiness. What about gay and lesbian people - younger and older - who wish to follow a more traditional path of understanding that certain moral behaviors and lifestyles are still considered objectively sinful, even as they come to a mature acceptance of their own sexual orientation? Is there room for these people in your acronym?

As every element of society now has gay people represented, i.e. politics, arts, business, military, church and academia, the question must be asked: is it really the so-called "heteronormative" community that is creating division and actively denying civil rights to people, or is the "LGTBTQIA" community now unwittingly serving to maintain an "us vs them" mentality?

Stan Zorin
1 week 2 days ago

The Catholic Church is also 'uncharitable" to communists, nazis, muslims, Jews, atheists, loony feminists and even satanists. It is horrible that the Church does not allow these people to be cardinals and even popes.. We need DIVERSITY and LOVE towards ALL people, whatever their beliefs, in the Church.

John T. Smith
1 week 1 day ago

Gay Lifestyles have been condemned throughout the Bible but we know better.

Vincent Couling
1 week 1 day ago

The idea of constitutional homosexuality (i.e. of gay and lesbian people, whose sexual orientation is such that they experience sexual attraction to people of the same sex) seems to be pretty modern. In biblical times, the assumption seems to have been that all people are intrinsically heterosexual, and that all people who act out same-sex "acts" are consequently acting out a disorder. Use of the word "homosexual" was first recorded in 1869 ... the idea of constitutional homosexuality is rather modern. That there are gay and lesbian people is a modern anthropological discovery. Trying to read this discovery back into the bible is consequently flawed. In fact, this is a fundamentalist reading of scripture, as explained in "The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church," a Cardinal Ratzinger document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, presented to Pope John Paul II on 23 April 1993. E.g. “to be rejected is every attempt at actualization set in a direction contrary to evangelical justice and charity, e.g. the use of the Bible to justify racial segregation, anti-Semitism or sexism” … a non-exhaustive list to which we can add "or homophobia". Fr James Alison deals with the scriptural exegesis brilliantly in http://jamesalison.co.uk/video/reading-scripture-and-the-lgbt-question-…

The moment you claim that a homosexual orientation runs counter to nature, you are quite simply invoking an ideology, a rather primitive non-scientific one which denies the recent anthropological discovery that "being gay is a nonpathological minority variant in the human condition" ... much like left-handedness ( https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/interview-james-alison ).

Tim O'Leary
1 week 1 day ago

Vincent - the idea of "constitutional" homosexuality is itself an ideology, and has no bearing on the morality of homosexual acts. All modern social studies have shown is that there is a small subset of the population who are unable to, or unwilling to, find sexual satisfaction/completion in the natural ends of their biological and psychological sexual appetites. There is an even larger subset of the population who are unable to find sexual satisfaction/completion in monogamy. And it appears a majority of the population often misuse their sexual organs & appetites (masturbation, pornography, prostitution, perversions, etc.). The Church has known forever that sexual appetites are trials for most people (concupiscence) and there are the sacraments for healing and strengthening us when we fail. All science can address or document is the etiology, the frequency, and the physical and social consequences (which are not benign, even just from health or sociological perspectives). Science is completely incompetent at determining the morality of behavior. For that we look to the teaching of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, Incarnate God, who made us male and female, and the Church, His mystical body. This teaching cannot change, as it is infallible and is protected by the Holy Spirit, no matter what the psychological and political pressure and persecution is put upon her.

Vincent Couling
1 week 1 day ago

The various Natural Law theories (which are alleged to be quite independent of religion, etc) claim that there are universally binding moral principles which can be discerned by human reason ... among these are the so-called "natural ends" of human sexuality. The a priori assumptions at play have been that there is an essential human nature that is unconditionally normative (everywhere and for all time), and that this nature is intrinsically heterosexual. Such "knowledge" is attained from a deductive epistemology, which necessarily requires a general abstract principle as its starting point ... the "a priori," which is assumed to be definitive and absolutely true (e.g. that there is an essential human nature that is unconditionally normative, and that it is intrinsically heterosexual).

Inductive epistemology begins with empirical observations, and uses these to frame general principles. A prominent example comparing and contrasting these approaches is Aristotle's deductive physics, e.g. the geocentirc principle (the a priori assumption being that earth is at the centre of the universe, and all celestial bodies orbit earth in perfectly concentric circles). It was Galileo's inductive approach (some two millennia later!), beginning with observations (rather than the allegedly "self-evident truths" or a priori), and using these to frame general principles, which led to his support of the Copernican heliocentric model. Sadly, Galileo was silenced by the Magisterium of the Church, which essentially declared that the geocentric teaching could not change, as it was infallible and protected by the Holy Spirit, no matter the psychological and political pressure and persecution put upon the Church. Galileo was compelled to recant (under pain of death), and died under house arrest. He was, of course, rehabilitated by St Pope John Paul II a mere 360 years later, in 1992.

Unfortunately, abstract “natural law” arguments in the realm of sexual morality are still used by the Church. Such arguments (against artificial contraception, for example) are ultimately based upon a flawed Aristotelian biology and the principles which flow from it. As the Jesuit philosopher-theologian Fr Bernard Lonergan pointed out: “I would note that the traditional Catholic doctrine on the sexual act followed rigorously from the position adopted by Aristotle in his De Generatione Animalium. That position was that the seed of the male was an instrumental cause that changed the matter supplied by the female into a sentient being. As was argued from the instance of wind-eggs, the female by herself got no further than a nutritive principle. The efficient causality of the male was needed to produce the sensitive principle or soul. On that basis it was clear that every act of insemination was of itself procreative and that any positive interference was an act of obstructing the seed in its exercise of its efficient causality.”

If this is our axiom, our first principle, then certain facts are self-evident: Any “spilling of the seed”, be it masturbation or sex between two men or contraceptive sex, is objectively a grave evil. The only sexual activity permissible in the natural order is that between a man and a woman, and even then, only when the “seed” is deposited in the appropriate receptacle.

Scientific advances in the 19th century showed this axiom to be as outrageously false as the geocentric axiom. The male sperm and the female egg are both required for fertilization. As Lonergan points out, “While the Encyclical [Humanae Vitae] acknowledges the “unitive sense” of marital intercourse, it claims that inseparable from it there is a “procreative sense.” This would be easy enough to understand if one still clung to Aristotle’s biology. But on contemporary biology, if insemination may be said to be inseparable from normal intercourse, conception cannot be said to be inseparable from insemination. The discharge of two million spermatozoa into the vagina does not mean or intend two million babies. Most of the time it does not mean or intend any babies at all. The relationship of insemination to conception is not the relation of a per se cause to a per se effect”

Now a sacramentally married couple may not use artificial contraception to regulate the size of their family since this is said to separate the unitive from the procreative. And yet, the Church allows the married couples to practice natural contraception by having sex only during the sterile part of a woman’s fertility cycle. Is this not the Church sanctioning the wilful and deliberately intentional separation of the procreative from the unitive? Has the validity of the teaching ever been successfully demonstrated? Is the non-reception of this teaching by a majority of those Catholics polled on this question not perhaps a direct result of the unsuccessful demonstration of the validity of this teaching?

If gay couples are declared to be inclined to intrinsically evil acts precisely because their sexual relationships are closed to procreation, then why aren’t sterile heterosexual couples also defined to be inclined to intrinsically evil acts, and called to lives of compulsory celibacy? The Church will provide a full nuptial Mass for a sterile heterosexual couple; if, for instance, the woman has had a hysterectomy to remove cancer. It will even marry a post-menopausal woman. If these people are allowed to enjoy full sex lives even though procreation is impossible, then why can’t a gay couple?

The argument that the essence of each and every marriage is biological reproduction is negated by the words of some early Church Fathers. Orthodox theologian Paul Evdokimov writes that St Chrysostom, doctor of the Church, argued that marriage was instituted for two reasons: “to lead a man to be content with one wife and to give him children, but it is the first which is the principal reason”. Marriage does not absolutely include procreation, “the proof of which is the number of marriages which do not have children.” St Basil, another doctor of the Church, says that children are added to marriage as “a possible, not an indispensable, consequence of marriage.” In this view, the primary purpose of marriage is not procreation, or even St Paul's "scriptural" purpose: for the control of lust. Rather, it is about sanctification, and participation in the divine life. In the words of the theologian Eugene Rogers, marriage “is a discipline whereby we give ourselves to another for the sake of growing in holiness – for, more precisely, the sake of God.” The reciprocal love of the spouses is ultimately about their completion in Christ. And there are many other ways of being open to pro-creation in a marriage than biological reproduction.

This view of marriage now needs to be reconciled with the recent anthropological discovery that some men and women are born gay, and are not heterosexuals behaving in an unnatural way, as previously thought. Cutting-edge research is further unravelling this intricate puzzle, pointing to epigenetics – the biological regulation of gene expression – as the source of homosexuality [ref: http://bit.ly/STj0xm]. Sacred scripture itself emphatically states that “it is not good for man to live alone.” Urging all gays to lifelong celibacy is profoundly onerous. Is celibacy not a special gift of God for a select few? Is celibacy not a particular calling and a vocation? Perhaps it is scandalous to impose unrealistic demands upon an entire class of people? Perhaps Bishop Geoffrey Robinson’s words in his book “Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus” can begin to chart the way forward: “If the Catholic Church is to reclaim some credibility after the many scandals of sexual abuse, it must first learn to speak with humility, intelligence, realism and compassion about all aspects of human sexuality.”

Deductive methods have tended to view homosexuality a priori as objectively disordered, particularly when those applying the methods are grounded in patriarchal systems which view as self-evident the abstract principle that heterosexuality is normative. Inductive methods approach the gay question more dispassionately: impartial empirical observation is examined with an open mind, and only then are conclusions drawn. It was on the basis of such observation that the sciences ceased to view homosexuality as a mental disorder, there being no empirical observation to support this assertion.

As Fr James Alison argues, being gay is a regularly occurring, non-pathological minority variant in the human condition, much like left-handedness. A personalist approach might be useful, where complementarity need not focus on biological appendages so much as the relational complementarity necessary for true human flourishing.

Hopefully the Magisterium will permit a thorough examination of the validity of the assertion that homosexuality is an objective disorder, especially in the light of contemporary scientific insights. Vatican II sanctioned this approach: “The recent studies and findings of science, history and philosophy raise new questions which affect life and which demand new theological investigations.” (Lumen Gentium 62).

Kevin Sharpe
1 week 1 day ago

Superb! Thank you, Vincent Couling.

Rose Red
1 week 1 day ago

The effect of the normalization of artificial contraception has devastated wide swaths of culture and society and has created a meteoric demand for abortion. HV/ Paul VI saw that coming and he was correct. Male homosexual activity, practiced consistently, is anatomically and physiologically devastating to the bodies of those that practice it, frequently requiring reconstructive surgery. Res ipsa loquitor. The only people that think Aristotelian based Natural Law Theory is flawed are ones that misapply it or do not comprehend it sufficiently enough.

Dave Buckley
5 days 14 hours ago

Pardon but you appear to be out of your league when it comes to replying to Vincent Couling. Time will tell. Nothing personal.

Judith Jordan
5 days 2 hours ago

Rose Red---Places that make access to contraception difficult have a higher abortion rate than places that have easy access to contraception. This is easily shown by various studies based on scientific standards and not studies based on a religious belief.

Tim O'Leary
1 week 1 day ago

Vincent - Your interpretation of the 1616 Galileo controversy is incomplete, as the geocentric teaching had already been challenged without censure by Copernicus in his work published in 1543 and dedicated to Pope Paul III. But, it is irrelevant to the discussion of the immorality of homosexual acts, which must be evaluated as part of the understanding of male and female biology, psychology, the roles of father and mother, the distinctions of disorders in involuntary affect (orientation) vs. willful action, etc. Causality in itself does not determine morality, no more that the empirical observation that men are more violent and more promiscuous than women diminishes violent or promiscuous sinfulness.

The Church’s teaching is bound to the teaching of Scripture, and especially the teachings emphasized by Jesus, including His reaffirmation on God’s intention for creating humanity as “male and female,” on indissoluble marriage, on lust (action but also intention), etc. These teachings are not amenable to reversals by scientific discovery, even if it was objective and not driven by ideology. However, the social and psychological sciences can help the Church understand better how to apply the infallible teaching to individuals who struggle with good will to live according to the Gospel. Paul VI in Humanae Vitae predicted that a failure to see the immorality of contraception or sterilization would lead to further misunderstandings in what is good for mankind. I urge you to reconsider what is good for you and what the path to holiness entails for you and those you love. God is forever waiting with open arms for all who come to Him and say "Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven."

J Cosgrove
2 days 17 hours ago

Your understanding of the Church's reaction to Galileo is wrong. They had no problem with his thesis as long as it remained just that a thesis, to be proven. He was censured for politics not science or religion. He called the Pope a fool in his publication which was published under the seal of a man who was trying to depose the Pope. It had to do with the politics of the Thirty Yesr War.

Mike Macrie
1 week 1 day ago

For decades, the Catholic Church has been run by strict Conservatives and look where the Church is. A sexuality of do what I say not what I do. An obsession on Abortion, that led Catholic Groups to gush over the President because he attended and spoke at a Pro Life rally in Washington for political gain. They praised him for being there in the very same week that he spewed his Racism against people of color from other countries. Yes you cannot be a Catholic without wrapping your arms around Pro Life but you also cannnot be a Catholic without embracing Jesus’s words that the Second Greatest Commandment is like the First “To Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”. To the Church’s credit, the Church has soften its stance on homosexuality and has come to imbrace the Immigrant by following Jesus’s Second Greatest Commandment. Pope Francis has been demonized by Conservative forces within the Church as a heretic but under their leadership Church membership has declined in huge numbers. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expecting a different result.

Tim O'Leary
1 week 1 day ago

Mike - no doubt there are some conservative hypocrites, like the Pharisees. But, Jesus respected that even though their hearts were not in the right place, they still taught the truth. That is why he said (Mt 23:2-3) "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach." So, even if they are stern unloving hypocrites, they still teach the truth. For your own salvation, it is the truth that matters.

Rose Red
1 week 1 day ago

Mike, the Church is "where it is" because of a catastrophic departure from the the Magisterium of the Church and vows of chastity and celebacy. The Church is one of immigrants and is the greatest advocate for immigrants and refugees the world has ever known. The teaching is the Church. What her people do with the teaching is another matter altogether. And I'd say Planned Parenthood and it's political supporters are the ones with "an obsession" with abortion. The Catholic Church has an obsession with life.

Mary Therese LEMANEK
1 week 1 day ago

Doubt is not the biggest challenge to faith...certitude is. This man is raising thoughtful questions that are certainly not out of the realm of theological thought. Theology interfaces with Tradition and with the contemporary culture to maintain the core truth while addressing the reality in which it lives. We hardly need automatons unable to deviate from what they have always assumed to have known.

William Chamberlain
1 week 1 day ago

It really is a problem of faith, science, and metaphysics. Science developed out of western civilization because Christianity looks at the universe as something that is ordered. That there are objectives truths. One of these objective truths is the fact that humans have bodies that are beautiful and function to a proper end. We have several systems that are complete and are essential to life. The digestive , nervous, cardio vascular, endocrine, excratory, skeletal-muscular systems are all complete and have their proper function. However, each human, male or female have only half of a reproductive system. As Jesus says they leave mother and father and cling to each other and become one flesh. There is no one flesh union in homosexual unions or adulterous unions or polygamous unions. The families that stem from one flesh unions should be protected and allowed to thrive. I am not hating anyone with these statements. I am stating facts. Realities.

Vincent Couling
1 week 1 day ago

A woman who has had her reproductive system (say uterus and ovaries) removed e.g. due to cancer can still enter into a sacramental marriage with a man ... yet by your reductive analysis, she has no reproductive system, and so cannot cling to a man with reproductive system intact and become one flesh with him. Same for a man who has lost testicles in an accident ... though he, too, can enter into a sacramental marriage.

Jesus, in quoting from Genesis (they leave mother and father and cling to each other and become one flesh), provides a generalized rule ... but it is wishful thinking (and a tendentious and fundamentalist exegesis) to extrapolate this to suggest that he definitively intended to exclude all exceptions to the rule (e.g. for LGBT persons, or heterosexual persons who have lost their reproductive systems).

Tim O'Leary
1 week 1 day ago

Vincent - openness to sexually reproducing children is not the only determinant of a disorder. The loss of a reproductive system is a disorder, rendering the women physically though not psychologically infertile. With homosexuality, a person is psychologically though not physically infertile. Both are disorders, reducing the capacity of the person to pro-create. The infertile woman can still become one flesh with her husband, because it is built into her biology if healthy, as God instituted the marital relationship between a man and women. The functionally infertile homosexual man cannot become one flesh, because he is a man. This is really straightforward, even though it is psychologically painful for you. But, Truth matters to your salvation. Pain is not the worst outcome.

Kevin Sharpe
1 week ago

Tim...please explain how you arrive at your conclusion that a homosexual is "psychologically infertile"...because, as it stands now, it seems like that conclusion is inaccurate, to say the least.

Tim O'Leary
1 week ago

Kevin - I only mean that a psychological inability to have intercourse with a person of the opposite sex is a practical obstacle to conception. A true commitment to celibacy or a chaste single life or a married couple who always use contraception are also in the same situation, which is practical infertility based on a decision not to act in a fertile copulation. Of course, most homosexuals have normal biology that does not block conception, if they decide to have sex with a person of the opposite sex, as many have. A new human conception by definition requires a healthy sperm and healthy ovum, from a man and a woman, respectively. That is how God designed us. Every human being must have a biological father and a biological mother. There is no other way to be conceived.

manneohagan@gmail.com
1 week 1 day ago

I do not see this man’s comments about the blessings of same sex unions and homosexuality as within the bounds of Catholic doctrine; indeed I find them offensive and abusive

Dennis Hayes
1 week 1 day ago

it would seem the institutional church has exhaled, and turned blue.

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Stan Zorin
1 week ago

Defrock him ! He is an apostate and a wolf masquerading as a shepherd.

Michael Barberi
6 days 10 hours ago

I find Fr. Wucherpfennig's statements within the bounds of honest and respectful theological discourse. This has nothing to do with his expertise and qualifications to teach Catholic theology or be a rector of a Catholic Seminary or School of Philosophy and Theology.

I could easily post a very lengthly commentary here to refute some of the comments made by some blog commenters. However, I will only briefly mention a few of them...even though my commentary here is quite lengthly.

1. Reading and interpreting Scripture must take into account context and the beliefs at that time. For example, our ancient fathers had no idea about homosexuality. They believed all humans were born heterosexual. Therefore, a heterosexual that performed homosexual acts was considered a form of 'idolatry' and a 'perversion of the natural order'. No one at that time ever could conceive whether sexual acts within a marriage (e.g., civil, Christian, Jewish) between two members of the same sex was immoral. This ancient belief continued to our modern era.
Further, homosexuals do not 'chose' their sexual inclination/orientation. They are born that way. To say that it is not like being born left-handed because left-handedness is an inherited trait is not only a highly controversial statement, it is a weak argument. The truth is that we don't know for certain precisely the cause for homosexuality. However, there are many studies that concluded that homosexuality is a normal variation of human nature and genetic. This is the more common understanding. More importantly, the Church's claim that homosexuality is an 'intrinsic disorder' has never been supported whatsoever by any evidence the Church has offered to backup this claim. In truth, the Church has not provided any credible evidence to support this claim. Such a claim that homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder ignores prominent socio-scientific organizations that have studied this issue and concluded that homosexuality is not an intrinsic disorder.

2. As a Church, we still fail to treat homosexuals with respect, dignity and sensitivity. In fact we discriminate against them despite Pope Francis's call not to discriminate against them in Amoris Laetitia (AL). Consider the following:
> Catholic schools fire teachers who are in a gay or lesbian relationship or are civilly married.
> Catholic organizations refuse to permit LGBT married couples to adopt children through their organizations...except if such organizations agree to abide by Federal Funding and Non-discrimination rules.
> Mature and well-adjusted young homosexual men are prohibited entrance into Catholic seminaries.
> Children of same sex parents can receive a Catholic education and receive the Eucharist but their parents cannot because they are told they are living in perpetual sin.
> Any homosexual in a same sex relationship cannot be part of a parish council, lead a ministry or be allowed to participate in the Church in the same way that heterosexuals currently do.
The examples demonstrate that homosexuals are not treated with respect, dignity or sensitivity and the hierarchy has no idea how to treat them. Most bishops don't even try to meet with them or try to build a bridge within the Church for them so that they can be comfortable about coming back to the Church and not be treated as a second class citizen or a person that has been infected or born with 'an intrinsic disorder'.

3. For those that want another reasoned interpretation of Scriptural texts that the Church uses to defend its philosophy and theology about homosexuality, et al, I suggest you keep an open-mind and read "Sexual Ethics" or "The Sexual Person" by Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler.

4. It is not heresy or is one unfaithful to the Catholic faith if they respectfully disagree with or support a rethinking about the teachings on homosexuality. Granted, there are many theologians, priests and bishops that may not agree to change 'doctrine' but they are open to a change in the "pastoral application of the teachings about homosexuality and the morality of sexual acts by members of the same sex in a permanent, faithful and loving relationship....in a manner similar to the moral principles expressed in AL. Keep in mind that AL changed the pastoral theology of the doctrinal teaching about the divorced and remarried by permitting them to receive Holy Communion under certain circumstances.

5. Abiding by every teaching of the magisterium is not the litmus test for being a good Catholic or a good priest. Teachings develop and there is a difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. This is what Jesus himself taught us. You can respectfully disagree and still remain a faithful Catholic.

6. Finally, being chaste is often misunderstood and misused when some declare that homosexuals must live a lifetime of sexual abstinence for their salvation, full stop; or that married couples who want to regulate their fertility must follow the teaching Humane Vitae and practice NFP because the Church claims this is Divine Law.

Douglas Fang
6 days 5 hours ago

Michael – All I can say is that your viewpoints on the topic of homosexuality in the context of Catholicism are the most reasonable and balanced ones compared to the rest of the other commentators. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

J Brookbank
6 days 3 hours ago

I agree.

Michael Barberi
5 days 12 hours ago

Douglas Fang, J Brookbank

Thank you for your kind words and encouraging comments. I also thank Vincent Couling and others for they have often done the same.

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