by Hilary White

THIBODAUX, January 27, 2006 ( – The Bishop of a Louisiana diocese has misrepresented the Catholic teaching on homosexuality in a statement about one of his priests appearing in a local newspaper report.

In early January, Rev. Jim Morrison, announced in a letter to his parishioners that he was a celibate homosexual, saying that he no longer felt comfortable keeping his secret while advising others to be open. Morrison is a long-serving priest and is currently pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on the Nicholls State University campus in Thibodaux.

Bishop Sam G. Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux in a statement said that Fr. Morrison is a “compassionate and energetic priest who has provided good pastoral ministry to the people he has served”. Jacobs wrote, “A person should be judged not by his/her tendencies or orientation but by his/her actions.”

The bishop then quoted the wrong catechism in stating that homosexuals have no control over their “orientation.” Giving the citation from the 1992 edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that was rejected and later corrected by the Vatican, Jacobs says: “Those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies do not choose their orientation.”

The Catholic Church, however, acknowledges that it cannot rule on medical issues that are seriously disputed by experts and in fact, makes no judgement about whether homosexuals choose their state. The edition cited by Jacobs was later corrected and reissued by the Vatican. The corrected section reads, “This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.”

Louis Aguirre, spokesman for the Diocese, said Morrison is not being asked to resign.

The bishop’s error is already causing confusion among his flock. An editorial by a self-proclaimed Catholic appearing in Houma Today’s January 15 online edition, called the Catholic teaching “contradictory.”“Morrison’s adherence to his celibacy vows also makes his homosexuality, in a way, moot,” wrote Keith Magill.

The Church, however does not consider it moot. The Vatican’s recently released document on the ordination of men with homosexual tendencies said that while persons suffering from deep-seated homosexual tendencies are called to lives of Christian perfection, their affliction makes them unsuitable candidates for the priesthood. “Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women.”

  Calls to the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux were not returned by presstime.

Read editorial in Houma Courier: