‘Consistent with radicality of Jesus’: Bishop defends Pope Francis OKing civil unions
KALOOKAN, Philippines, October 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The acting president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has issued a letter praising Pope Francis for comments he made in support of same-sex civil unions.
Bishop Pablo David, the Jesuit-trained bishop of Kalookan and acting president of the CBCP, wrote a letter entitled “Where is the Pope coming from” in which he defends and praises the Pope’s comments in support of same-sex civil unions. The letter was published by the CBCP’s official media arm, CBCPNews.
The bishop mentions that in calling for civil unions, the Pope was speaking “as a shepherd who is willing to leave behind the ninety-nine (99) in search of the one lost sheep.” He continues, “This Pope has been consistent with the radicality of Jesus of Nazareth whom he calls the human face of the Merciful God.”
David equates the response the Pope has faced from faithful Catholics and members of the hierarchy with the public persecution Christ suffered: “Jesus was misunderstood and judged by people because he associated with people of questionable reputation[.] ... He did not avoid them.”
David continues, referring to Christ: “He also did not tell them that what they were doing was right. He did not openly approve of prostitution[.] ... He just treated them with the same kindness and compassion that he extended to any human being.”
Many have interpreted the Pope’s recent remarks as openly approving of sexual relationships between members of the same sex.
In a passage downplaying the importance of imparting doctrine and morals, David writes: “[Christ] also did not approve of the manner in which the guardians of morality and orthodoxy in his time conducted themselves. He did not think building the kingdom of God was a matter of teaching people proper doctrine and morals.”
Yet, the bishop states, the Pope “is not out to destroy our morals and orthodoxy. He just wants to do as Jesus himself did. He valued being kind and compassionate more than being right and righteous.”
Bishop David notes how the Pope puts this principle into effect in the documentary Francesco, where his remarks on civil unions appeared, regarding advice he gave to a same-sex couple with three children in their care: “Pope Francis said, ‘Go and join the parish anyway.’ He did not say ‘Follow the Church laws first before you join the parish community.’”
Among other cardinals and bishops who have defended traditional Catholic teaching on homosexuality, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan recently pointed out how this approach is no act of kindness toward persons with same-sex attraction; rather, it is an act of cruelty. Schneider explained: “[B]ecause these persons will be confirmed in mortal sin, they will be solidified in their interior psychological dichotomy, since their reason tells them, that homosexual acts are against reason and against the explicit will of God, the Creator and Redeemer of men.”
Bishop David also claims that the Pope’s support for same-sex civil unions is due to his role “as a pastor,” by which the Pope can make such comments “without compromising anything about the Church’s understanding of marriage and family.”
The bishop quotes from Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, to justify the Pope’s support for same-sex unions by appealing to “our innate sense of fraternity,” urging people “to be Good Samaritans who bear the pain of other people’s troubles rather than fomenting greater hatred and resentment.”
The letter is a stark contrast to recent statements of Cardinal Raymond Burke, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Bishop Schneider, and other prelates and priests. They referred back to Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality, noting that the Catechism teaches that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and that the “Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”