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(LifeSiteNews) — Renowned canon lawyer Fr. Gerald Murray blasted Pope Francis’ recent call for the decriminalization of homosexuality and his criticism of bishops who support anti-sodomy laws. 

Fr. Murray, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, denounced the “confusion” of the pope’s remarks in a hard-hitting interview Thursday with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN’s The World Over. 

“It’s clearly taught in the Bible and the natural law: sodomy is a mortal sin,” the New York priest said. Anti-sodomy laws aim to deter sin and protect public morals, he noted, invoking the destruction of Sodom.

“Now, laws against sodomy are designed to warn people not to commit that sin and to protect society where if that sin were tolerated it might become more widespread,” he explained. “The story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible is a warning to us.”

Rather than attacking such laws, Francis “should be saying laws that lead people into sin should never become law,” Fr. Murray insisted.

Instead, the pope “unfortunately is becoming an advocate” of legalizing sodomy, he said. “And it’s hard to believe that we would say that.”

Fr. Murray also pushed back on the pope’s criticism of Catholic bishops in Africa who have endorsed anti-sodomy laws and whom Francis said “have to have a process of conversion.”

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Liberal bishops around the world continue promoting heterodox views on homosexuality, female priests, divorce, contraception, and more — advancing anti-Catholic positions that jeopardize the salvation of souls.

Such bishops often sideline, ignore and even persecute traditional Catholics who simply ask that the Faith be preserved and passed on to their children.

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There are countless examples of bishops working against Christ's Church in calling for divine law to be ignored in favor of sexual, doctrinal and liturgical deviancy, even trying to clamp down on Catholics who practise the Faith. 

Just last year, Cardinal Cupich banned traditional prayers after Mass, and more recently has curtailed the Traditional Latin Mass in his diocese. 

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“He said they have to undergo a process of conversion, and I’m shaking my head,” responded Fr. Murray. “The people that have to undergo conversion are those who want to commit sodomy, not the bishops who are telling them this is a sin, it’s wrong, and the state should not legitimize it.”

He particularly lamented the scandal that Pope Francis’ comments have given to chaste homosexuals and faithful Catholics.

“You know, I’ve worked with Courage over the years and one of the most discouraging things that Courage members talk about is when the hierarchy doesn’t teach the truth in a clear and understandable way,” he said, referring to Courage International, the largest Church-approved apostolate for Catholics suffering from same-sex attraction.

“I mean who’s going to be happy with this decriminalization of sodomy?” he asked. “It’s not the people who support Church teaching. They’re stunned.”

READ: Priest says his brain tumor has totally disappeared after visit to Lourdes

Fr. Murray: No one has a ‘right’ to homosexuality

In an interview with the Associated Press last week, Francis described bans on homosexual behavior as “unjust” and “very wrong” and stated that the Church “must” work to overturn them.

“I believe one must not discriminate against anyone,” he said, appearing to equate bans on sodomy with unjust discrimination. The pope doubled down on his comments in a letter Friday to heretical LGBT activist priest Fr. James Martin, SJ.

But Fr. Murray pointed out that the Church does not recognize any “right” to homosexuality that anti-sodomy laws would unjustly infringe on.

“What is the basis where you would decriminalize sodomy?” he questioned. 

“Do people have a right to commit sodomy? Is this somehow now a human right? That’s what the left claims,” he said. “The Catholic Church doesn’t say that.”

Catholic teaching explicitly condemns legal protection for homosexuality and denies that it can be considered a right. 

In a 1986 letter written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, and approved by Pope St. John Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) warned against condoning homosexual activity and affirmed that “no one has any conceivable right” to it.

In a following letter in 1992, the CDF reiterated that “there is no right to homosexuality which therefore should not form the basis for judicial claims,” adding that governments should not make the “homosexual orientation” a protected class like sex or race.

The CDF later warned that tolerance of homosexuality “might be exploited or used in the service of ideology” and stressed to politicians “the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality” and protect young people.

READ: Benedict XVI exposed the ‘destructive’ lies of gender ideology and the LGBT movement

The Vatican has also pointed out that condoning homosexuality naturally gives rise to “other distorted notions and practices,” a concern that Fr. Murray echoed.

“Now what about people who engage in prostitution? They’re going to say well I don’t like being stigmatized by laws that criminalize prostitution,” he told Arroyo. “Incest is against the law. People might say, well that’s consensual among adults, why can’t they do it?”

Faithless bishops ‘are the problem’

Fr. Murray slammed the culture of unchecked heterodoxy in the Church and dissident Catholics’ obsessive promotion of homosexuality.

“All we talk about every show is homosexuality, as if this is the most important problem in the life of the Church,” he said to Arroyo. “It’s not, it’s been made that way by those who want to change the Church’s teaching.”

The majority of Christians “pacifically and calmly accept the fact that sodomy is a mortal sin. They don’t question that, because that’s what God teaches,” he said.

Many priests and bishops, he added, are also “not interested in rejecting Christ’s teaching about sexuality and creation. They want to uphold the faith.”

But at the same time, a subset of bishops are trying to undermine basic truths of the faith, as in Germany, where the bishops’ “Synodal Way” initiative has demanded changes to immutable Catholic doctrine on sexuality and the sacraments. 

The Synodal Way is “driving me nuts,” Fr. Murray said.

“These bishops are trying to destroy Catholicism in their country,” he warned, “and the Vatican better step on them because otherwise they’re going to use their power and their money to afflict another religion on the Christians in Germany.”

READ: US cardinal demands homosexuals in mortal sin be given Communion, women be ‘ordained’ deacons

Pope Francis’ refusal to take any concrete action against the Synodal Way is “baffling and mystifying,” he said. “The German bishops owe him the same obedience as any other bishops.”

The pope made another “terrible decision” in appointing Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, to lead a spiritual retreat later this year for the Vatican Synod on Synodality, Fr. Murray said. Radcliffe, a notorious heretic previously banned by the Vatican from speaking at the general assembly of Caritas International in 2012, openly rejects Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

“When you appoint someone who’s publicly criticized the Church’s teaching on homosexual activity and what the Church considers to be gravely sinful and immoral — when a person who doesn’t agree with that is now going to be instructing in the spiritual life all the participants in the Synod, you’ve made a terrible decision,” Fr. Murray said.

He also singled out Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego, who sparked controversy last week with an essay presenting the “ordination” of women to the priesthood as an open question. The issue of female ordination “will be one of the most difficult questions confronting” the Synod on Synodality, McElroy wrote.

“Bishops and cardinals who say this is a problem, they’re the problem for saying that,” Fr. Murray retorted. “The problem is the rebellious element in the Church which wants to overthrow Catholicism and replace it with a man-made religion.”

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