Francis-appointed cardinal: ‘The church is moving on the question of same-sex couples’
VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania, April 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church is “moving” on the issue of couples living in homosexual relationships, a prominent Francis-appointed U.S. cardinal said.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin said that LGBT-identifying persons’ place in the Church is not an easy subject for some Church leaders, but they must contend with it.
“I think it’s a very difficult question,” Tobin said in response to a question on the firing of LGBT individuals from Catholic institutions while speaking at Villanova University last Thursday.
“The Church is moving on the question of same-sex couples,” Tobin said, although not as swiftly as some would like.
St. Peter Damian, an 11th century Italian Catholic reformer and Doctor of the Church, described homosexuality in his famous Book of Gomorrah as a “diabolical” corruption of God’s plan for sexuality between a man and a woman. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, the Church teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and are “intrinsically disordered” since they are “contrary to the natural law” in that they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.” “Under no circumstances can they be approved,” States the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The cardinal’s opening address of last week’s Villanova conference centered on the fifth anniversary of the Francis pontificate. It was covered in a report from Jesuit-run America Magazine.
“Francis, a Voice Crying Out in the World: Mercy, Justice, Love, & Care for the Earth,” ran April 12-15, and gathered a list of high-level Francis advisors and confidantes.
Aside from Tobin, the speaker roster included among others editor of La Civiltà Cattolica Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, a member of Francis’s advisory council of nine Cardinals, Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences President Margaret Archer.
Spadaro, often referenced as the pope’s “mouthpiece,” recently re-tweeted a call for EWTN to be put under interdict “until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo,” after a February World Over segment with a discussion critical of a speech he’d made. Spadaro has been critical of the cardinals who raised the dubia resting clarification from Pope Francis on Amoris Laetitia, and others who’ve questioned the exhortation as well. And he had co-authored an article charging conservative Catholics and Evangelicals in the U.S. as with forming an “ecumenism of hate” in their opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
Appointed president of the PASS in 2014, Archer had endorsed the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 despite their containing language calling for “universal sexual and reproductive health and rights,” and denounced a representative of Centre for Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) for raising criticism about the Vatican’s invitation to abortion proponents for a 2015 climate change conference.
The conference by all accounts was a glowing salute to Francis, with a Crux article headline on the event stating, “Pope’s biggest fans celebrate five years of Francis at Villanova.”
“This pope is electric,” Spadaro is reported to have said at the conference, re-tweeting papal biographer Austen Ivereigh’s quoting him saying that around the pope "there are fields of attraction and repulsion." He is squeezing out bad spirit, outside as well as within the Church, as happens in Spiritual Exercises.
Sachs had said at the conference, “there is no voice more important in the world than Pope Francis in the fight for justice, peace, and decency.”
“The church in recent decades has been somewhat marginalized by many for what they see as a preoccupation with sexual ethics,” Cardinal Tobin said in his opening address. “The church cannot reverse itself on its sexual ethics, but Pope Francis has shown that there are other issues on which the church and world can work together. This, too, is a step in the trajectory that leads back to Vatican II.”
Tobin used the term “paradigm shift” to refer to both Amoris Laetitia and the Second Vatican Council, the America Magazine report said.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin had described Amoris Laetitia as a “paradigm shift” in January, further confirming the exhortation’s controversial standing for opening the door to Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics and others in non-marital unions.
Tobin voiced this mindset with his conference comments, stating of Amoris Laetitia, “As with all paradigm shifts, especially after some ecumenical councils, it provoked controversy.”