(LifeSiteNews) – The German “Synodal Way” and its allies within the Church are hellbent – seemingly more so every day – on changing Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality.
A leader of the Synodal Way indeed recently acknowledged that the heterodox initiative is intended as a direct challenge to the Church’s teaching on this issue.
Marc Frings, the secretary-general of the Central Committee of German Catholics, a leading German lay group and co-organizer of the Synodal Way, described the Synodal Way frankly as a “conscious statement against the current Catholic catechism,” which he complains has been “critical and disparaging of homosexuality since the mid-1970s and still reproaches homosexual activity as sin,” as the Catholic Church has done for two millennia.
In his commentary, Frings pushes the notion that the Church can reverse Her longstanding teaching about homosexuality – a teaching that The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes is deeply rooted in both Sacred Scripture and Tradition.
“Such a change in the position of the Magisterium cannot take place in a local church, but it can give it an important impetus,” Frings claims. “For this reason, the synodal assembly in September will discuss a text that recommends that the pope examine more precisely and reassess church doctrine on homosexuality.”
The synodal assembly, which governs the Synod Way, already voted in February to advance several radical proposals challenging Catholic doctrine, including a document demanding “reevaluation” of the Church’s stance on homosexuality.
The document insists that the homosexual inclination “is part of man’s identity as created by God” and “cannot be changed” and that it “is ethically not to be judged any differently than any other sexual orientation,” though research shows that the same-sex orientation is not genetic and the Church recognizes it as “objectively disordered.”
“The recognition of the equality and legitimacy of non-heterosexual orientations, their practices and relationships, as well as the elimination of discrimination based on sexual orientation, is urgently required,” states the proposal, as quoted by Frings.
Frings’ commentary regurgitates much of the Synodal Way’s anti-scientific LGBT propaganda, while also hinting at the initiative’s broad ambitions. The Church must not merely create “safe spaces” for “queerness,” he demanded, but must be transformed entirely in accordance with the dictates of the LGBTQ agenda:
It is often heard that the church should enable “safe spaces,” where queerness can be lived, free from discrimination and the pressure to justify itself. From my point of view, such safe spaces can be only an intermediate step. The church as a whole must be a safe space in order to meet people with different sexual identities. LGBTQ people are— like all Christians—a blessing for the community.
So, it is only logical that the “basic text” of the responsible synodal forum (i.e., the text that forms the theological framework around the more practical texts on questions of sexuality and partnership), demands a clear readjustment.
In his quest to “readjust” the Church to align with homosexual ideology, Frings has likeminded allies in the Catholic hierarchy. Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, S.J., the relator general of Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality and a supporter of the Synodal Way, asserted earlier this year that Church’s prohibition of sodomy is now “false” because “the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct,” adding that “thinking further about the teaching … can lead to a change in teaching.”
Cardinal George Pell has described those comments as “explicit heresy.”
Hollerich nevertheless appeared once again to dismiss the teaching of Sacred Scripture on homosexuality this week while stressing that he is “in full agreement with Pope Francis.”
Catholic teaching is definitive
But is it even possible to change the Church in the way Frings and Hollerich suggest?
Despite the incessant, heretical demands of the Synodal Way and its backers, the Catholic Church, in fact, cannot reverse Her doctrine against homosexuality, which is as set in stone as any moral teaching.
The Church has recognized homosexuality as a grave evil since the Apostolic Age, in conformity with Scripture. Saint Paul condemns sodomy throughout his epistles, echoing the Old Testament, and teaches that those who practice it “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10).
The first-century Didache, or “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” one of the oldest-known Christian writings, likewise names sodomy as a grievous crime, alongside adultery and murder, against the second part of Jesus’ Great Commandment: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The Church has unfailingly denounced this behavior ever since.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), noted in the Congregation’s 1986 letter on homosexuality that “constant Tradition” and “organic continuity with the Scriptural perspective” underpin “the Church’s teaching today,” also invoking Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on divine revelation.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church similarly insists: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’”
“They are contrary to the natural law,” it continues. “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.”
As Fr. Phillip Bochanski, head of Courage International, the largest Church-approved ministry to individuals suffering same-sex attraction, has pointed out, the language used by the Catechism signifies that Catholic teaching on homosexuality is infallible.
Such an invocation of Scripture and Tradition “is unusual in the Catechism,” he said, “but appears often when the Church explains the charism of infallibility.” “Its use here clearly means that this teaching, which flows from the anthropological fact of the nature of sexed human bodies, is an infallible teaching of the ordinary universal magisterium,” Fr. Bochanski said.
Indeed, not even the pope, whom the Synodal Way petitions to change Catholic doctrine, can contradict the Church’s teaching on homosexuality (or any other such settled matter).
As the First Vatican Council declared, God does not give the pope authority to invent any “new doctrine”: “[T]he Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.”
The Second Vatican Council likewise affirmed that the teaching office of the Church “is not above the Word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously, and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.”
Man and woman: Created for one another
Same-sex behavior, moreover, is irreconcilably at odds with the nature of the human person, created in the image of God as a fruitful union of male and female, as explained by both Scripture and the Magisterium.
As the CDF’s 1986 letter notes, the necessary context in which to address this issue is “the theology of creation” found in Genesis, which clearly teaches that God creates man and woman specifically for each other: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
“It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him,” the Lord declares in Genesis 2:18. “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” Adam says when he sees Eve, in what the Catechism describes as “an exclamation of love and communion.”
“Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh,” Genesis explains. Jesus cites this same passage in St. Matthew’s Gospel as the basis for the indissolubility of marriage. “So they are no longer two but one,” He says.
Faithful to Scripture, the Catholic Church recognizes that God calls man and woman to fulfillment in one another. The Catechism, referencing Genesis, affirms: “God created man and woman together and willed each for the other” and intended them “to be a communion of persons, in which each can be ‘helpmate’ to the other and complementary as masculine and feminine.”
This loving union reflects the image of God in a special way through the unique role of bringing forth new life, by which man and woman establish together the whole human race.
“Human beings,” the CDF’s letter states, “are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other.”
“The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity,” the Catechism likewise teaches. “All human generations proceed from this union.”
By rejecting the life-giving, divinely-ordained communion of male and female, homosexuality rejects humanity itself and the God Who wills the complimentary nature of the two sexes.
Unlike marriage, Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter explains, a same-sex union “is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living.” The same-sex orientation is necessarily “a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.”
“Homosexual unions are also totally lacking in the conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality,” states another 2003 document from the CDF. “Sexual relations are human when and insofar as they express and promote the mutual assistance of the sexes in marriage and are open to the transmission of new life.”
In his 1986 letter, Cardinal Ratzinger specifically refers to lobbies within the Church – much like today’s Synodal Way – that push Her to “accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity.”
Such forces, he writes, are “opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.”
In other words, they renounce the reality of both man and God in a profound rupture with the Catholic faith.
The results of this break are catastrophic, the cardinal and future pope suggested, criticizing those seeking to normalize homosexuality for putting their ideology even above people’s lives. “Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved,” his letter laments. “The Church can never be so callous.”
The recent monkeypox outbreak underscores the consequences of grave sin, which LGBT activists demand society ignores. Practicing homosexuals face a nearly 30-times higher risk of HIV and a 80-times higher rate of anal cancer, as well as elevated risks of other cancers and STDs.
“The sexually active homosexual population suffers disproportionally from HIV, anal cancer, chlamydia trachomatis, cryptosporidium, microsporidia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, hepatitis B and C, genital warts, scabies, HPV, and other conditions,” Catholic pro-family organization Fieles a la Verdad has observed. “As a result, the average life expectancy of sexually active homosexual males is reduced by many years.”
The need to defend the family
As heterodox forces inside the Church increasingly push extreme distortions of sexuality, faithful Catholics have an ever-greater obligation to defend the sanctity of the family, which the Church affirms in the strongest terms.
“From the wedlock of Christians there comes the family, in which new citizens of human society are born, who by the grace of the Holy Spirit received in baptism are made children of God, thus perpetuating the people of God through the centuries. The family is, so to speak, the domestic church,” states the Second Vatican Council’s pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes.
“It is a community of faith, hope, and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament,” the Catechism teaches. “The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father’s work of creation.”
And what St. John Paul II declared 40 years ago is surely no less true today: “The future of humanity passes by way of the family. It is therefore indispensable and urgent that every person of good will should endeavor to save and foster the values and requirements of the family.”