ROME, September 3, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A series of videos sponsored by the Jesuit Roman Catholic religious order, titled “Who are we to judge,” in reference to a comment made earlier this year by Pope Francis about homosexual priests, has come under fire for promoting the idea that there is no conflict between being a faithful Catholic and being an active homosexual.
The video series was produced by the Ignatian News Network, a YouTube channel that is a joint project of the US Jesuits and Loyola Productions in Los Angeles, to feature videos about the work and mission of the American Jesuits.
Prominently featured in the series is Arthur Fitzmaurice, the head of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry (CALGM), a group that is currently under censure by their local Catholic bishop for misrepresenting Catholic teaching. Fitzmaurice says in the videos that his “coming out” experience as a homosexual “strengthened my faith journey”. At first he said he had asked God, “how do I leave this cross behind me, how do I become a straight man?” which he said changed in time to “a realisation that God made me to be this gay person”.
Fitzmaurice says that his group only wants “to create a Church where all are welcome at all parishes. And once they’re there, not just being welcomed, but a place where they’re going to thrive.”
However, in June of last year, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, where CALGM is based, issued a statement saying that the group cannot be regarded as “authentically Catholic” due to their opposition to Catholic teaching.
In letters to the GALGM board, Cordileone requested that each member “strive to clearly present Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in its fullness” and “profess personally to hold and believe, and practice all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be true, whether from the natural moral law or by way revelation from God through Scripture and tradition”. The group’s leadership twice told Cordileone they refused to sign such a declaration.
Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com that the video series presents an unbalanced view of Catholic teaching.
“It is good to point out that the Church nowhere condemns people who are attracted to members of the same sex,” he said. “As the Church says, it is not the person with same-sex attraction that is disordered, it is the attraction itself that is disordered, and homosexual acts themselves are always gravely sinful.”
But he said that it is a failure of pastoral charity and genuine brotherly love to “create the impression that sinful behavior is somehow morally acceptable in the Church, or that an identity based on disordered sexuality must be celebrated by the Church.”
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“In a modern social and political climate where the Church is being persecuted precisely for her truthful and loving stand on human sexuality and marriage, what we need is not more ambiguity about what the Church teaches, but a more robust defense of the truth that she holds,” he said.
“And organizations that have been rightly chastised by our bishops for their public opposition to Church teaching should not receive an uncritical hearing in Catholic media.”
Paragraph 2357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that while people with same-sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” Scripture clearly “presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity.”
“[T]radition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’. They are contrary to the natural law,” it adds. “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.”
This teaching is not mentioned in any of the three videos of the series.
The first video in the series starts with an interview with Fr. James Martin, S.J., a prominent US media personality and Jesuit priest in New York, who has made advocating for the normalisation of homosexuality in the Catholic Church a prominent feature of his career.
Martin says that “many LGBT people” “have very deep spiritual lives and are Christians.” He also denies a conflict between the Catholic Church and the homosexual movement, saying, “It’s not as if you have atheist gays on one side, and religious or spiritual straight people on the other.”
Martin also praises the movement in the Catholic Church in the US and elsewhere that is a feature of many parishes that encourages homosexuals to believe they can be actively “gay” and faithful as Catholics, without contradiction. “The idea that someone could come out and be honest and transparent and open about the way that God created them, I think is terrific. I think it’s something that the Catholic Church can support,” he says.
Martin adds, “If a music minister is gay, it doesn’t matter [to other parishioners] if they’re homosexual…it matters that they did a great job at the [liturgy of the] Easter Vigil.
“If a spiritual director is gay, it doesn’t matter that they’re homosexual. It matters that they’ve brought people to God through prayer.”
Episode 2 of the series features John Paul Godges, a “gay Catholic” author, who says at the opening of Episode 2, “My Christian faith, of course, has been a source of strength in my spiritual journey throughout my life as a gay man. My experience as a gay man has been a source of strength in my Christian journey.”
“A gay identity can inspire and deepen a Christian faith.”
Godges says, “I often tell people that being Catholic is like being American. And just because some politician prosecutes a misbegotten war, I’m not going to renounce my citizenship and flee to Canada. I’m going to stay and fight and communicate and converse and speak at retreats and do whatever I can to promote the best that’s in the Catholic Church…I’m not going to let anyone take that away from me.”
In the third installement of the video he says that he hopes “that in the future lesbian and gay and bisexual and transgender people can be open and visible in the Church, and not have it be any big deal.”
Fr. Boquet Boquet told LifeSiteNews.com that he agrees that people who experience same-sex attraction aren't “excluded” from the Church. He added, however, that there can never be any acceptance of homosexual behaviour.
“Chaste persons who are attracted to others of the same sex understand and appreciate this stand of the Church, and many have lived lives of great virtue and holiness,” Fr. Boquet said. “Whatever our sinful dispositions,” Catholics who want to be faithful must “truly desire to leave these behind and in humility, ask for forgiveness in the sacrament of confession”.
“The person who does this with a sincere heart will be forgiven, whoever he is attracted to,” he added.