In an article by Laurie Goodstein published Thursday, May 14th in the New York Times newspaper Archbishop Rembert Weakland is quoted as follows:
“If we say our God is an all-loving god,” he said, “how do you explain that at any given time probably 400 million living on the planet at one time would be gay? Are the religions of the world, as does Catholicism, saying to those hundreds of millions of people, you have to pass your whole life without any physical, genital expression of that love?”
He said he had been aware of his homosexual orientation since he was a teenager and suppressed it until he became archbishop, when he had relationships with several men because of “loneliness that became very strong.”
Archbishop Weakland, 82, said he was probably the first bishop to come out of the closet voluntarily. He said he was doing so not to excuse his actions but to give an honest account of why it happened and to raise questions about the church’s teaching that homosexuality is “objectively disordered.”
“Those are bad words because they are pejorative,” he said.
If you are heterosexual and really want to understand why people with same sex attraction have such difficulty with the hierarchy’s teaching on homosexuality, I invite you to read their statements, but with one little twist. Print out their words and then, “white-out” the word “homosexual” and then, go back and write in the word “heterosexual.” Go back and re-read those same documents and statements to the media. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write your honest answers to the following questions:
1) Could I as an adult, honestly live the balance of my life without an intimate loving relationship? What would this mean for me personally?
2) Thinking back to when you first discovered that you had sexual desires/attractions, for most this happened during puberty, how would these teachings by the hierarchy of the Church have affected how you viewed yourself?
3) How would these official teachings have affected your relationship with your parents, family, friends, teachers, etc.?
4) How do you think you would have handled being so classified and treated as a young person?
5) How would you handle it as an adult today?
6) Would you remain an active and practicing member of the Church?
7) How would you view the Catholic Church?
8) How would you view God and your relationship with God?
In 1975 the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church’s watchdog for orthodoxy, issued an official statement that “homosexuality is innate for some individuals.” In plain English, that means that God created some humans as homosexuals. The Archbishop’s questions (in the quotation above) penetrate to the very core of this whole issue; specifically, taken in combination, what do the hierarchy’s statements on this matter say about God?
Why did God make a significant number of men and women homosexual? What is God’s purpose in doing this? What are people who have been created by God with an attraction only to people of their own gender suppose to do with this “innate” orientation?
The hierarchy of the Church has a moral obligation to provide reasoned and reasonable explanations to the faithful. They have a duty to provide compassionate guidance to souls on their quest for wholeness. As the Archbishop rightly points out, the leadership of our Church has failed its members for the past 34 years. It is time to stop. It is time to reconsider the impact of such inhuman demands on the lives of real people. It is time to recall the words of our founder who said: “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
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