MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, Wed Apr 13, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Rev. Bryan Massingale, a priest with the archdiocese of Milwaukee and an associate professor of moral theology at Catholic, Jesuit-run Marquette University, and Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby, both spoke at a recent event for a group that advocates “full equality” for homosexuals.

At the event the pair were confronted by a reporter with CNS News, who asked the priest whether he agrees with the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality – a question that the priest demurred from answering.

The March 30 event on Capitol Hill was hosted by a group called “Equally Blessed” which describes itself as “a coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society,” reports CNS News. The group was focusing on the results of a recent poll that found an increase in support by Catholics for homosexuality.

Following his talk, Rev. Massingale was asked by CNSNews if he disagreed with Section 2357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states: “homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“So, from your presence here today, is it safe to say that ... you disagree with this portion of Catholic law?” CNSNews asked.

Rev. Massingale said, “First, we have to become clear about, that it’s not Catholic law, it’s a Catholic teaching. It’s a distinction and a difference there. So let’s phrase your question more precisely –” at which point he was asked, “Do you disagree with Catholic teaching on that?”

Rev. Massingale then said, “I would be much more nuanced instead of saying agree or not because I think the issue before us right now as Congress, or as a body, is this: Regardless of human behavior, what is our stance regarding the protection of fundamental human dignity? - which is the reason why I phrased my intervention the way I did.”

“If we look at the numbers that were just given, that 64 percent of Catholics who attend Mass weekly or more, favor some form of recognition of same-sex relationships of some kind,” said Rev. Massingale, citing the poll by the Public Religion Research Institute,  “it says to me that they’re not necessarily saying that they’re approving of conduct. I think that for a Congress is - to get into the issue of conduct or not, that’s an issue for intra-Catholic debate and reform.  But I think the issue before us as a nation is how do we ensure the protection of human rights regardless of behavior?”

“So I think that regardless of one’s stance on behavior - and that is the discussion that’s going on in church, indeed to enter into Congress’ purview. I think that the fundamental thing that I want to emphasize is the need to respect the human dignity of people regardless of our moral judgments on behavior,” Rev. Massingale concluded.

A request by email for clarification to Rev. Massingale by LifeSiteNews was not answered by press time.

Contact Information:

Rev. Bryan Massingale
Marquette University
1250 W. Wisconsin Ave.
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Phone: 414-288-3737
Email: bryan.massingale@marquette.edu

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912
Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408
Email: archbishoplistecki@archmil.org