The editorial is entitled "Deepest Human Desire" and, as John Smeaton illustrates, exposes - if it was not clear enough already - that it completely dissents from the Catholic Church's teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual relations in
argu(ing) that "the Church [should] move on with confidence, if not doctrinally then at least pastorally" on the subject of homosexuality". Among other things, it:In asking the Church to show more understanding, it is difficult to know what more the Church can do.
* implies that the Church is open to the charge of "anti-homosexual prejudice, even bigotry"
* says that the Church should "move beyond a sterile state of disapproval" of homosexuality, lest it "lose the sympathy of wide sections of the public"
* criticises "the Church's inability to comprehend and value [homosexual persons'] emotional lives [and] their relationships"
* implies homosexual love "is to be treasured and respected"
* insists that homosexuals must be defined "positively ... by their affections"
* claims that there are homosexual couples who "demonstrate a constancy and a stability in their partnerships that, rather than causing scandal, set an example to their heterosexual friends and relations"
* questions whether homosexual men or women are unsuitable parents
* questions whether homosexuality is unnatural, and implies that homosexuality is innate rather than acquired.
In 1986 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persions in which it stated among other things:
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.(n.10)But the Church will always remain true to Her teaching on this matter which derives from natural law. If there is anything that the Bishops must learn from the intolerant outcry of the secular humanists to which I referred earlier, it is that there are certain elements outside the Church, but more particularly within the Church, who will not listen. They fall within the dissent that Pope Benedict asked them to recognise for what it is when he said in his ad limina speech to our Bishops:
The characteristic concern and good will exhibited by many clergy and religious in their pastoral care for homosexual persons is admirable, and, we hope, will not diminish. Such devoted ministers should have the confidence that they are faithfully following the will of the Lord by encouraging the homosexual person to lead a chaste life and by affirming that person's God-given dignity and worth.(n.13)
In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.Last Sunday (31st Jan) I spoke in my homily about the Government's proposed equality legislation and the question of the possible employment of 'gay' people in civil partnerships as headteachers or for other leadership posts in Church establishments, following on from the comments of Bishop McMahon mentioned in an earlier post. In making my position clear as identical with the Church's position, I also said that I have accepted invitations to have dinner with homosexual couples and I would not avoid associating with people known to identify themselves as experiencing a homosexual orientation, as long as it would not cause scandal. I have also learnt much from others whose children find themselves in this situation. I think we must go a long, long, way to show understanding and love to these people, never rejecting them. But also maintaining the truth, derived as it is from natural law, about the need for grace to deal with an orientation which is not, in itself, rightly ordered.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
I don't see how The Tablet's argument can square up with this and wonder how can any faithful Catholic priest could allow The Tablet to be sold in his parish?