My fear about the Synod was that it would “get it wrong,” that is, issue a statement that would have some statements that would be open to all sorts of speculation and misinterpretation. That fear was realized with paragraph 50 of its interim report issued on Monday, October 13.
- Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing […] them […] a place of fellowship in our communities? Oftentimes, they want to encounter a Church which offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of this, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
As was apparent to many of the bishops and viewers around the world, that was a very questionable statement, and it was readily questioned. Providentially, the first reading at Mass on October 15 was a passage from Chapter 5 of St. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians including verses 19-21. “Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” The first three words are different ways of saying “sexual immorality.”
Now, it is obvious that all of those who are guilty of any of these sins also “have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” So the net effect of paragraph 50 is that it raises the question as to why the document called special attention to homosexuals as contrasted with other sinners
The vast majority of the bishops at the Synod did not take kindly to this sort of verbiage. For one thing, it appears that the wording was not approved by the entire Synod; most of it was written by one cardinal. So, as one account put it, they revolted, and they issued a number of modifying statements from the various language groups.
The bottom line is that the vast majority of the bishops do in truth believe what the Catholic Church has been teaching about love, marriage, and sexuality for some 2000 years.
To get it right, the bishops needed to come up with some practical ways to evangelize their fellow Catholics as well as make a case to other Christians, theists and even non-believers that the best thing the Catholic Church can do for humanity is to remain true to itself as the Body of Christ. They didn’t get it right this time, but they still have another year to get their act together.
Their revolt against the document of October 13 gives me hope. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us and for our bishops.
John F. Kippley, October 17, 2014
See also the blogs at www.nfpandmore.org