Priest defends attack on Cardinal Burke, says Church should ‘welcome’ gay clergy
OTTAWA, June 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- An openly homosexual priest in the Archdiocese of Ottawa is defending his verbal assault on Cardinal Raymond Burke, telling LifeSiteNews his problem is not with the “teachings of the Church,” but with “certain hateful declarations” the cardinal has made regarding homosexuality.
“To be more precise, Cardinal Burke has expressed very negative views on homosexual persons. For instance, Cardinal Burke has stated that children should be kept out of the presence of homosexual persons. How can Cardinal Burke assert that the presence of homosexual persons could be detrimental to children? Is he in a position to quote scientific studies that would validate his hypothesis?” Fr. Andre Samson asked LifeSiteNews via email.
Fr. Samson’s full comments, originally made in French, are available in translation at the bottom of this article.
Fr. Samson appears to be referring to Burke’s 2014 response to a question about what parents should do in the case where their son wants to bring his homosexual partner to a Christmas dinner where their grandchildren would be present. The original question was posed during the Extraordinary Synod of the Family.
Burke stated at that time that since “homosexual relations are intrinsically disordered,” having present at a family gathering a family member who is living in what he called a “disordered relationship” with another person would give children the impression that sexual relationships outside God’s plan are “alright.”
“We wouldn’t, if it were another kind of relationship — something that was profoundly disordered and harmful — we wouldn't expose our children to that relationship, to the direct experience of it,” he said. “And neither should we do it in the context of a family member who not only suffers from same-sex attraction, but who has chosen to live out that attraction, to act upon it, committing acts which are always and everywhere wrong, evil.”
Revealing where love and mercy exists in this situation, Burke added that “families have to find a way to stay close to a child in this situation — to a son or grandson, or whatever it may be — in order to try to draw the person away from a relationship which is disordered.”
Fr. Samson told LifeSiteNews that Burke’s assertions are “hateful” and “conducive to social stigmatization of homosexual persons.” He added that if such statements had been made in Canada, the cardinal would probably have been the subject of a “complaint before the courts of human rights.”
Last week Fr. Samson criticized Burke on public radio and in social media, calling the high profile Church leader during his recent visit to Ottawa a “clown” and a “drag queen” before going as far as saying the cardinal's statements on homosexuality are “violent.”
While Fr. Samson told LifeSiteNews that he had “no problem with the teachings of the Church,” not once during his statement did he affirm his support for authentic Catholic sexual morality that not only condemns homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered,” but also the same-sex tendency as “objectively disordered.” He cited, however, what he called “scientific research” that he said shows the normality of homosexuality.
“Scientific research has also proved that homosexual persons are just as well mentally balanced as the general population,” he said. “The main psychological difficulties experienced by homosexual persons are generally caused by violence and social stigmatization to which they often fall victim.”
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Evidence-based research has shown, however, that the life expectancy of homosexuals is 20 years shorter than the general public, that the habit of "self-harming" is 50 times more likely to occur in lesbians than in the general population, that men with same-sex attraction in California are twice as likely to report a cancer as heterosexual men, as well as diseases such as AIDS, syphilis, and gonorrhea being described as an “epidemic” by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for men who have sex with men (MSM).
Fr. Samson also stated that “research” has proved a “large percentage of priests and bishops are homosexual,” adding that “this would be particularly true of young priests.”
“When Cardinal Burke describes homosexual persons as dangerous monsters, he is attacking and insulting thousands of homosexual priests and bishops who loyally serve the Church,” he said.
Fr. Samson went on to call Burke’s statements “very sad and deplorable” since he said they force homosexual priests and bishops to “live out their sexual identity in an underground way.”
“Hiding can lead to a large number of psychological difficulties,” he said.
Fr. Samson would like to see the Catholic Church “publicly acknowledge the fact that many of its priests and bishops are homosexual” and that it would “welcome these homosexual priests and bishops, embracing their difference and celebrating their service.”
“By acknowledging and celebrating the existence of thousands of homosexual priests and bishops in its ranks, the Church would give a beautiful example of courage and mercy,” he said.
But the Catholic Church teaches, however, that having “deep-seated” same-sex attraction is incompatible with priestly ministry.
In a 2005 instruction issued under Pope Benedict XVI on the criteria for becoming a priest, the Congregation for Catholic Education stated that “the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’”
The instructional added: “Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”
Prior to this teaching, a 1961 instruction put out by the Sacred Congregation for Religious stated that “advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.”
It was two years ago that Fr. Samson declared on the popular TVA television show hosted by Denis Lévesque that he was “gay,” telling the Ottawa Citizen last year that he pursued being a Catholic priest as a way to hide his same-sex attraction.
Editor’s Note: Below is the complete interview with Fr. Andre Samson. His responses in French have been translated by LifeSiteNews.
LifeSiteNews: I understand that you are upset with Cardinal Burke’s statements on homosexuality, but some say Burke simply preaches basic Catholic teaching on sexual morality. Do you have a problem with what Burke says or with what the Catechism of Catholic Church actually teaches about sexuality and its place in marriage between a man and a woman?
Fr. Andre Samson (translated by LSN from French): It is necessary to distinguish between certain deplorable statements made by Cardinal Burke and the Church’s teaching. I have a problem with certain hateful declarations by Cardinal Burke. But I don’t have any problem with the teachings of the Church. To be more precise: Cardinal Burke has expressed very negative views on homosexual persons. For instance, Cardinal Burke has stated that children should be kept out of the presence of homosexual persons.
How can Cardinal Burke assert that the presence of homosexual persons could be detrimental to children. Is he in a position to quote scientific studies that would validate his hypothesis? (The Cardinal’s recent remarks have made waves among Catholics, with many responding indignantly to the suggestion that gay family members should be exiled from gatherings where children are present. Read more here.)
These statements by Cardinal Burke are conducive to social stigmatization of homosexual persons. Besides, the Supreme Court of Canada has clearly ruled that these kinds of statements do not have their place in Canada where rule of law is upheld. If Cardinal Burke had made these hateful statements against homosexual persons in Canada, a complaint would probably have been lodged against him before the Human Rights Court.
Cardinal Burke also ignores that which scientific research has proved long ago. In fact, homosexuality has no longer been categorized as a psychopathology for 40 years. The APA (American Psychological Association) is opposed to psychotherapies (conversion therapies) that intend to change sexual orientation. The benefits of this type of psychotherapy have not been scientifically demonstrated to exist nor have they been published in peer-reviewed publications. The negative consequences have been clearly established by scientific research.
Scientific research has also proved that homosexual persons are just as well mentally balanced as the general population. The main psychological difficulties experienced by homosexual persons are generally caused by violence and social stigmatization to which they often fall victim.
Finally, research has also proved that a large percentage of priests and bishops are homosexual. This would be particularly true of young priests. I have been a priest for 30 years. I have lived in Québec, in Ontario, in British Columbia, in France, in Germany, in Italy and in countries in the Middle East. I have remarked that the prevalence of homosexuality among priests is high in all these countries or in these regions in North America.
When Cardinal Burke describes homosexual persons as dangerous monsters, he is attacking and insulting thousands of homosexual priests and bishops who loyally serve the Church. I find that very sad and deplorable. Because many homosexual priests and bishops are obliged to live out their sexual identity in an underground way. Hiding can lead to a large number of psychological difficulties. Finally, it should be mentioned that pope Francis has not entrusted Cardinal Burke with genuine responsibilities.
Today, Cardinal Burke plays a purely honorific role. He must be content to act provokingly through his carnivalesque garments. I’m thinking here of his mitres that are as high as the Eiffel Tower, his long trains that were scrapped since Paul VI and his hats that date back to the Cardinals of the Renaissance. Be it through the way he dresses or through his words, Cardinal Burke is manifesting his dissidence. But strangely, he is asking us to be true to the Church, even though he does not give the good example.
Cardinal Burke should follow the example of good pope Francis’ simple dress. He should also show more mercy towards homosexual persons. Pope Francis has given the example by saying, simply: “Who am I to judge and condemn gays?”
I hope the Year of Mercy will be a time of conversion for all Catholics, and in particular for Cardinal Burke.
LifeSiteNews: What would you like to see changed?
Fr. Andre Samson: I hope that the Church will publicly acknowledge the fact that many of its priests and bishops are homosexual. I hope that de Church will welcome these homosexual priests and bishops, embracing their difference and celebrating their service. By acknowledging and celebrating the existence of thousands of homosexual priests and bishops in its ranks, the Church would give a beautiful example of courage and mercy.