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(LifeSiteNews) — The newest version of the pro-homosexual third edition of The Jerome Biblical Commentary for the Twenty-First Century, which includes a foreword by Pope Francis, has drawn the condemnation and mockery of Protestant voices, who have highlighted the “woke” agenda of so-called “Catholic” academic biblical scholarship.
Arguing that the scriptural texts condemning sodomy do not apply to today’s “modern concept of homosexuality” as a “possible sexual orientation,” the Jerome Biblical Commentary claims categorically that “the Bible does not speak about same–sex love [sic] as one does today.”
“Leviticus 18:22 does not speak about the modern concept of homosexuality or homoeroticism which in general was not known as a possible sexual orientation in antiquity,” the heterodox commentary states. “The penetration of a male by a male was a way to denigrate the penetrated one to humiliate strangers or the inferior party in warfare.”
“The major interest of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 is to assure that males procreate offspring for the community. Hence it is hermeneutically inappropriate to use these verses and similar passages in the Bible to ostracize homosexual males,” it continues, in contradiction to Catholic teaching.
Protestant apologist and podcaster Dr. James White roundly mocked and denounced the commentary. “This has nothing to do with exegesis,” he said. “This is woke propaganda masquerading as biblical commentary and scholarship.”
“Are we just going to say the Pope didn’t read this part or is there a consistency in the Pope supporting those who are seeking LGBTQ inclusion and having just released a letter giving pastoral freedom in certain circumstances to bless same-sex unions?” White asked.
The scholars of the commentary further “warn” against using the first chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans as a “‘clobber text’ to denigrate persons with same-sex orientation.” In reference to Romans 1:24–27 – in which the Apostle declares that God handed over the pagans to the unnatural lusts of homosexuality in punishment for the sin of idolatry – the Jerome commentary states, “Whatever contemporary moral arguments one wants to mount about same-sex relations, it is ethically irresponsible to use this passage in Romans 1 to close off contemporary explorations of the issues.”
The commentary goes on to claim that “such a use strips the text of its social and historical context and brings it to bear on an issue Paul’s own audience would never have imagined or understood.”
“Paul’s contemporaries would have been familiar with multiple types of exploitative sexual relationships including pedophilia, prostitution, and slavery. In each case such relationships revealed and describe abusive power structures. They have nothing to do loving sexual relationships between consenting adults,” the commentary claims.
The biblical scholars strangely argue that because the context to the Apostles’ harsh judgment would have been “pornographic” parties hosted at Roman palaces, therefore, “there is no indication that private behavior is in view anywhere in this passage.”
“This is as woke as the day is long, it’s as leftist as the day is long, and Pope Francis says this is one you need to be reading,” White decried, charging the Pope with “plainly, purposefully, intentionally changing the moral and ethical teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the subject of the LGBTQ revolution.”
In his foreword to the third edition of the Jerome Biblical Commentary, Pope Francis praised the work and the “service” its scholarship offers the Church. “The word of God unites believers and makes them one people,” the Pope said. “This is the importance and mission of biblical scholarship at the service of the community of faith, the type of scholarship exhibited in this volume of biblical commentaries.”
Unsurprisingly, the commentary received official ecclesiastical approval from the Archdiocese of Chicago under pro-LGBT Cardinal Blase Cupich. In 2020, the nihil obstat (meaning “nothing stands in the way”) was granted by Deacon Daniel Welter, then chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the imprimatur (meaning “let it be printed”) was granted by Bishop Ronald Hicks, then vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago. The nihil obstat and imprimatur are supposed to indicate that the work to be published is free of any doctrinal error. In many instances, such as The Jerome Biblical Commentary for the Twenty-First Century: Third Edition, the seals of approval have become meaningless.
In contrast to the present edition’s “woke agenda,” the first two editions of the Jerome Biblical Commentary referred to homosexual acts under the biblical term “sodomy,” the name taken from the city of Sodom, which God destroyed by fire for the sin of homosexuality. The second edition states that the wording of the first chapter of Romans “shows that the sexual perversion of which Paul speaks is homosexuality.”
The claim that Scripture does not, in fact, condemn homosexuality as envisioned today as a “possible sexual orientation” is not a new argument. It is merely the logical alternative to the outright rejection of the biblical condemnation of sodomy, which is the other option for the homosexual lobby within the Church that seeks to impose at all costs the acceptance of homosexuality as a normative and morally acceptable option upon the whole Church.
Already in 1986, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), condemned any interpretation of Scripture that sought to justify homosexual acts and lifestyles or that claimed the Bible had nothing to say on the matter.
“Increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity,” he wrote in a letter of the CDF to bishops on the pastoral care of homosexual persons, which Pope John Paul II approved.
Identifying one of the “causes of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching,” Cardinal Ratzinger condemned “a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life.”
“These views are gravely erroneous,” he declared.
Instead, he wrote, Scripture has “a clear consistency … on the moral issue of homosexual behaviour. The Church’s doctrine regarding this issue is thus based, not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant Biblical testimony.”
The prefect of the CDF further expounded the Catholic teaching on the intrinsic harmony between Scripture and Apostolic Tradition. “The Scriptures are not properly understood when they are interpreted in a way which contradicts the Church’s living Tradition. To be correct, the interpretation of Scripture must be in substantial accord with that Tradition.”
That Tradition, he affirmed, has clearly and constantly held that “It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally.”
Against those who call the homosexual inclination “neutral, or even good,” he insisted that “although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder,” so that “when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.”
Insisting that “the Church’s teaching today is in organic continuity with the Scriptural perspective and with her own constant Tradition,” Cardinal Ratzinger reminded the faithful that “as in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God’s liberating grace.”
On the other hand, he warned, “the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.”
Those within the Church who argue in favor of homosexuality “often have close ties with those with similar views outside it,” the letter states. “These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.”
Decrying this “deceitful propaganda” as “profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church,” Cardinal Ratzinger went on to warn that “there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church’s position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage.”
“The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.”
“Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.”
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