VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — The president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has voiced support for changing the Church’s teaching on homosexual acts, describing the biblical determination of sin as “false.”
Jesuit Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, who is also the Archbishop of Luxembourg and was appointed by Pope Francis as Relator General of the 2021–2023 “Synod on Synodality,” made the remarks in comments to the German Catholic news agency KNA.
Asked by reporters how he approaches the Church’s determination that homosexual acts are sinful, the cardinal responded, “I believe that this is false.” He said that “thinking further about the teaching … can lead to a change in teaching.” The supposed method of rethinking immutable Church teaching, Hollerich said, is one espoused by Pope Francis.
The Pope has made contrasting remarks on homosexuality within the Church. In 2018 the Pope affirmed that men and women with “that kind of ingrained tendency [homosexual attraction] should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life. The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.”
He also signed off on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 2021 condemnation of offering ecclesial blessings to homosexual unions, declaring that God “does not and cannot bless sin.”
However, on January 26 Francis urged parents in his Wednesday General audience to “accompany” their children who might have “different sexual orientations” rather than to “hide in an attitude of condemnation.”
Last month, the Pope wrote a letter to a Catholic nun who openly defies Church teaching on sexuality, praising her for her “50 years of ministry,” which has been mostly devoted to promoting the normalization of homosexuality within the Church.
Relying on Divine Revelation, the Church has taught from its inception that homosexual acts are contrary to the nature of sexual relations, and that all men and women are called to chastity.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2357) notes: “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. 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.”
Despite the Church’s clear and principled position outlining the sexual complementarity of men and women, Hollerich explained that his reason for departing from the historic norm was that “the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct.”
“[W]hat one formerly condemned was sodomy,” he said, adding that in earlier eras of history, it was presumed that “in the sperm of the man, the whole child was kept. And one has simply transferred this to homosexual men.”
“But there is no homosexuality at all in the New Testament. There is only discussion of homosexual acts, which were to some extent pagan cultic acts. That was naturally forbidden. I believe it is time for us to make a revision in the basic foundation of the teaching,” he said.
On numerous occasions throughout his epistles, St. Paul condemns homosexual acts as “shameless” and an “error.”
In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul states that homosexual actions are sinful, explaining that “homosexuals” will not “inherit the kingdom of God,” but rather, according to his letter to the Romans, will receive “in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”
The cardinal’s comments followed a pro-LGBT campaign in Germany in which 125 Catholic Church employees, including priests, teachers, and church administrators made a public confession of their same-sex attraction (SSA) as part of the “OutInChurch” initiative.
The dissident campaigners called for the elimination of “outdated statements of church doctrine” and “discrimination” against LGBT-identifying individuals and stating their wish to “live openly without fear” in the Church, appearing to gloss over §2358 of the CCC, which clarifies that such individuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” while “[e]very sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Hollerich said that there are “homosexuals among my priests” in the Archdiocese of Luxembourg. “I have homosexual women and men among the laity,” he added, “and they know they have a home in the Church.”
“With us, no one is dismissed because they are homosexual, with us no one has ever been dismissed because of that,” Hollerich affirmed, adding that he has also never dismissed an employee who “remarried” following divorce, saying “they would become unemployed. How can such a thing be Christian?”
“The change in civilization we are witnessing today is the greatest change since the invention of the wheel,” the cardinal continued. “The Church has always moved with the times and has always adapted. But one always had much more time to do that. Today we must be faster. Otherwise, we lose contact and can no more be understood.”
Earlier this month, Hollerich urged Catholics to receive the abortion-tainted COVID-19 jabs, throwing his full support behind a “COVID passport” system for access to religious services throughout the continent, condemning resistance to such measures as a cause of “hurt and disorientation.”
The Jesuit cardinal has also expressed “great respect” for the German example in the Synodal Path, stating his openness to ordaining women to the sacred priesthood and opening Holy Orders to married men.