Monday, June 27, 2011

Canadian Bishops Statement - too little too late

A commission of the Canadian bishops today released a letter on pastoral ministry to young people with same-sex attraction.

“Scripture and Tradition teach that sexual relations between persons of the same sex are not in accord with God’s original intention expressed in the plan of creation,” says the document from The Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). “For this reason, the Church has consistently taught that homosexual acts can never be approved.”

The bishops repeatedly and emphatically reject any unjust discrimination against those with same-sex attraction. The Church, the document says, “carefully distinguishes between an individual’s inclinations or feelings … and one’s actions. While homosexual acts are always objectively wrong, same-sex inclinations are not in themselves sinful or a moral failing.”

h/t LifeSiteNews

This statement is next to useless in my opinion. Not just because it is stating the Church's position late in the game on this issue, but because the bishops need to teach the Church's position on sexuality in general before they can make any statement about homosexuality.

Church teaching is that sexual relations between men and women are part of God's plan of creation. The fact that the sexual act between a man and woman gives pleasure to the couple while at the same time being the way to create new life is not a coincidence. God didn't separate the two things when He ordered the universe. They are bound together. Separating them is the cause of the problems.

So if the Church does not teach clearly that sexual relations outside of marriage are wrong and if she does not teach that contraception is contradicting God's plan as well, then she can hardly speak about homosexual relations. Her credibility is lost.

As Father Frank Pavone writes in his book Ending Abortion:

... the same activity by which people express the deepest physical intimacy also can give rise to a new life. Did you ever wonder why God put these two aspects together in the same action? Could He not have invented one action to express love and intimacy, and another, separate action to bring about new life? Is it an accident that both belong to the same act, or did God run out of ideas?

Neither, of course. God acted with a deliberate and wise plan in creating human sexuality. His plan says that when one human being give him/herself totally to another, that total "yes" includes a "yes" to new life. The partners put themselves in a stance of readiness.

As Dr. Bernard Nathanson explains, it is not that contraception causes abortion; rather, both are cause by the perversion of autonomy - taking freedom and using it to stop rather than to welcome life.

So, unless the bishops are willing to teach bravely the Church's stand on sex and contraception, it is useless to make any statements about the wrongness of homosexual activity. Because, if you condone sexual relations between husbands and wives that are not open to the creation of life, then you have given your approval to sexual relations for pleasure only without the responsibility of procreation. And that opens the whole show to sex outside of marriage, sex between same sex partners, and a whole array of other sexual couplings.

It is time for the bishops to embrace the teaching of the Church on Humanae Vitae and teach it; only then will they have any chance of being heard on the wider issues of homosexuality and same sex marriage.

One objection I have heard is that how can priests, who are celibate, teach about the sexual relationship of marriage? But you know, as someone who has practiced natural family planning with her husband for years, I know that a great deal of it comes down to the husband learning to be chaste. And, if you don't believe me, ask my husband. NFP calls for a great deal of self-discipline and sacrifice on the part of the husband, more so than for the wife. That being the case, it seems clear to me that celibate priests who practise chastity throughout their entire life, would have a great deal to say on the topic. They could actually be a great help to many couples who are struggling with the issue of restraint within marriage, because they are practising the same restraint themselves.

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