I’m definitely a fan of Msgr. Charles Pope. He never backs away from proclaiming Church teaching clearly and honestly. In this article he addresses homosexuality within the clergy and makes convincing arguments as to why men with a same-sex attraction should not be admitted to the seminary.
I’m pleased to see the Holy Father issue this same warning in his recently published book, The Strength of Vocation: The Consecrated Life Today. One of the topics of this interview published as a book is about the problem of men with a same-sex attraction entering seminary and of clergy leading a double life. Any illicit sexual activity has no place in the life of any Catholic person, especially the clergy. Regardless of whether or not that activity is same-sex or heterosexual, it is sinful apart from the Sacrament of Matrimony. And let’s be clear that civil “marriage” between two people of the same sex – or civil marriage between two people of the opposite sex – is NOT the Sacrament of Matrimony. Just because a couple obtains a civil marriage license does not mean they are in communion with the Church.
Speaking the truth as communicated by Christ and his Church is to love, not to hate. We speak the truth BECAUSE we love all people, because we want to help them get to Heaven. Doing our best to live out our Catholic faith is essential for our salvation. Therefore, as a member of the clergy it is my responsibility to clearly communicate and teach the truth, even at the risk that some may find it inconvenient or interpret it as hateful.
This is not about whether or not we are to love and accept all people, including those who have a same-sex attraction. Of course we are! This is NOT about hate. What it is about is that illicit practices that go against the teachings of Christ and his Church must not be condoned. We can not look the other way when good people make bad decisions. The old adage of love the sinner and hate the sin applies here.
God loves ALL of us so very much, so much more than we can even imagine! But in his love he is also clear about our need to make every effort align our lives and our choices with his teachings. It’s simply for our own good that we do so. In fact, God loves us so much that he has given us free will to make choices that are contrary to his desire that we choose him and his ways.
God loves us so much that he even allows us to reject him and choose eternal separation from him. He loves us so much that he will not stand in the way of our choosing to spend eternity in Hell! While he will never cease pursuing us to repent of our sins until the day we die, the final choice is ours. When we repent he forgives us completely, but if we refuse to acknowledge our sins and turn from them, he sorrowfully honors our choice. This is how much he loves us!
As Msgr. Pope encourages us, let’s pray that as the summit of the presidents of the Catholic bishops’ conferences of the world approaches (Feb. 21-24, 2019), that homosexuality among the clergy will be considered frankly and forthrightly as a central cause of the current crisis in the Church. Let us pray for our Holy Father and for our Bishops that they will see and respond faithfully to God’s will for his Church.