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Bishop Joseph Strickland
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Bp. Strickland: Marriage impossible for same-sex couples, ‘sexual intimacy is not appropriate’

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Learn more about Bishop Strickland’s views and past actions by visiting FaithfulShepherds.com. Click here.

April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Marriage as defined by Catholic teaching is the only place for sexual intimacy, the bishop of Tyler, Texas, said recently. As such, sexual activity between same-sex couples is wrong.

LifeSiteNews asked Bishop Joseph Strickland in an interview how he would minister to couples in same-sex relationships seeking to be faithful Catholics.

“Hopefully with tremendous compassion and embracing them as children of God,” he said, “and helping them to, and I know it’s challenging, but to come basically to the teachings on chastity for every Catholic, to recognize that we believe that every person is called to be chaste, to chastity for their state of life.”

“Marriage, between a man and a woman, as the Church defines it — a permanent lifetime commitment open to children — that's the only place for sexual intimacy,” Strickland told LifeSiteNews.

Strickland spoke in a recent interview with LifeSite about the call he has felt to teach the faith more fervently in his diocese. He released a document titled the Constitution on Teaching close to two years ago and also founded the Saint Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization because he felt so strongly about the need for Catholics in his flock to learn the precepts of the Faith.

(Read LifeSite’s full interview with Bishop Strickland below or click here.)

Things have gone well in the initial days of getting the program up and running, though Strickland says evangelization is the work of the Church “always,” and he expects that the Institute will still be going about the task long after his days leading the Diocese of Tyler are over.

Strickland has garnered notice in recent months for speaking publicly in forthright fashion in defense of Catholic teaching. He stands out in today’s increasingly secular culture with the Church’s clergy sexual abuse crisis unfolding, political correctness taking hold, and unpopular truths about sexual morals met with hostility or left unvoiced by Church leaders.

At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Fall General Assembly in Baltimore last November, the Church’s sexual abuse crisis was a focus. During the meeting, Strickland challenged his brother bishops from the floor as to whether as group they believed the “doctrine of the Church or not” with regard to homosexual activity. 

Strickland is taking a comprehensive approach to reaching the people of his diocese with state-of-art tools, but the message on the Church’s teaching is the same. That means in the case of the sacrament of matrimony that God’s plan for marriage is the same — that marriage is between a man and a woman.

“And I think where a lot of things are confused and kind of conflated in society, and even among Catholics these days, is that, ‘Oh, well, I love this person,’” Strickland said. “OK. Wonderful. Love, true love, is always of God. God is love — love is God, as John’s Gospel says.”

People who are in this kind of relationship that the Church doesn't recognize as marriage, and who want to be faithful Catholics, first have to learn what the Church says about marriage and sexual relations, he added. The best way to show them respect is by sharing with them the Church’s call to be chaste.

“So I think it has to be with great compassion,” he said, “because I think any kind of mistreatment of any child of God because of an orientation or of any choice they’ve made is not of Christ.”

“I mean, He’s always reaching out in compassion,” the bishop continued, “but also pulling people away from sin.”

“And we believe that sexual intimacy between people of the same sex is wrong,” stated Strickland. “I mean, it’s right there in the Catechism. It’s very clearly taught.”

“That doesn’t mean either of those people are bad people or should be denigrated in any way,” he said. “And sadly, that has happened through human history. But, so absolutely, we respect the individual, but the greatest respect is to share the truth with them that we believe they’re called the chastity.”

It’s important to speak honestly in these matters, said Strickland.

“And I know that probably a lot of people would laugh me out of the room in today’s society,” he said. “But I think we seriously have to say these two men or these two women are not married, they’re not in a marriage, and so sexual intimacy is not appropriate.”

Chastity is a challenge for everyone in his or her particular situation, he said, but it’s doable.

“But I think that’s where we have to really just be very clear that who you love is not really the issue,” Strickland said. “We can get into a whole teaching about what love really is, and it’s ultimately built in to sacrifice.”

“I mean, that’s the love that Christ shows us. He sacrifices Himself for all of us,” said Strickland. “But I think we have to say all of us are called to chastity, whatever your state of life.”

 

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