June 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Same-sex couples and transgender-identifying individuals should be treated with respect and dignity, but there are moral issues with them entering into the life of the Church, the USCCB’s incoming pro-life chair said.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, said the first response is to communicate with each person that they're made in the divine image of God and they should be treated with the respect and dignity of someone for whom Jesus gave His life on Calvary.
However, he said that does not entail accepting gender fluidity or same-sex “marriage,” because it would conflict with Church principles. He also said that loving people means being honest with them.
In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews, Archbishop Naumann said that when someone advocates publicly for something contrary to Church teaching, such as gay “marriage,” then it’s a clear contravention of the Church’s moral principles and priests are obliged to address the situation before permitting them to receive Holy Communion.
Asked by LifeSite editor-in-chief and co-founder John-Henry Westen how to deal pastorally with instances where a same-sex couple seeks to enter the Church and one is ‘transgender” or identifies as the opposite sex, the archbishop said there's always an effort by the Church to communicate the dignity of the human person in any situation.
“But in the circumstances described, then I think we also have to be honest that there are some real moral issues there that would be a source of conflict for them to be able to really live authentically their Catholic faith,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And I think one would have to have a discussion with them that — this is not a marriage. If they consider themselves married, it's not a marriage as the Church would understand it.”
“Nor can we change the gender that we've been given,” the archbishop added, “even a person who's had surgery, that doesn't change their basic identities.”
These situations present difficulties, Archbishop Naumann said, with implications of an impediment to the sacraments.
“So there are some real moral issues,” he said, “and for them to enter the Church, this is going to present some real obstacles for them to be able to be disposed to receive the sacraments and participate in the sacraments.”
Being truthful about the matter is the proper way to love people, said Archbishop Naumann, and the truth cannot be ignored.
“So I think we have to have an honest conversation,” he stated. “As much as we can to say we want to accompany them, and they're trying to come to know Jesus, and to follow them with their lives — but also to be honest with them, because that's how we love people. We can't ignore the truth of the dilemma their situation.”
Asked whether priests or Communion distributors should withhold the Eucharist from individuals in an open homosexual relationship, the archbishop said it was difficult to always know for certain whether someone is in an active same-sex relationship, but in situations when someone publicly advocates that homosexual relationships are morally good, a definite issue exists.
“So I think if you have somebody that's advocating in this way, contrary to the moral teaching of the Church, then you have somewhat a clear violation,” he said.
And this entails being upfront about the issue, he said, and offering fraternal correction.
“I think as a pastor we have an obligation to dialogue with an individual in that situation,” he added, “much as like with politicians that are conducting themselves in their public life any way contrary to the Catholic teachings, that we have an obligation to talk to them, help to make sure that they understand what they're doing and why it's wrong and the reason is that it's wrong.”
The Church teaches the individuals experiencing same-sex attraction are to be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity (CCC 2358).
However, the Church holds that homosexual tendencies are objectively disordered (CCC 2358) and homosexual acts can never be approved as they are gravely depraved, intrinsically disordered and contrary to natural law (CCC 2357).
The Church says that men and women are to acknowledge and accept their God-given sexual identity (CCC 2333), and it does not identify humans by their sexual inclinations.