Phase two of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family has kicked off at the Vatican. Perhaps you recall the “earthquake” set off at last year’s Phase one. Here’s a refresher.
Much is at stake. One faction wants the Church to adopt the ways of protesting Christians (which include the inaptly named Orthodox) and admit that Jesus was only kidding when he said “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” That God. What a card! Not uncoincidentally, this faction is largely German-led.
That same faction plus another of unknown size since much of it is underground, wants the Church to adopt the ways of the oldest Western protesting Christians and admit that God was only kidding when he had Paul say “Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.” The whole New Testament is one big yuck fest!
Many of these would-be protesters, based on reasonable but inconclusive evidence, believe Pope Francis is one of them. Whether this is so, the belief (or hope) that he is has emboldened some protesters to reveal themselves as protesters. Take Msgr Krzysztof Charamsa, a Polish priest who not only publicly announced his same-sex attraction, and who not only displayed his lover for all to see, but who went to the trouble of issuing a manifesto of demands to the Church.
Demands? Yes, sir. Demands. Before we get to these, recall that becoming a priest is voluntary. Charamsa knew what he was doing when he signed up, and knew the rules to which he was binding himself.
The rules in short form are these. That there are no such thing as “homosexuals” nor “heterosexuals”; there are only men and women. That mankind reproduces sexually and this requires and introduces a complementarity—the man and woman become one flesh. That any behavior that does not respect this complementarity is necessarily a (reproductive) disorder. (Divorce is also a disorder in this sense, since it breaks apart families, which are the reproductive unit.) This is not only the proper view of sexuality theologically via the natural law, but scientifically.
Some more preliminaries. The word disorder is often objected to, because it’s harsh and judgmental. But nobody said the truth had to be soothing, and nobody said life was fair. You aren’t cured of cancer by refusing to call it a disease. And then there is a saying that the Church doesn’t view “homosexuality” as a sin, but even though this is true in a sense the battle is lost when this kind of language is used. What should be said is that temptation is not a sin, which applies to everybody. Further, temptation is not a good place: “…and lead us not into temptation” goes the prayer taught to us by God Himself.
What those who are tempted to same-sex activities are attempting (get it?) is to be awarded special status because of their temptations. They hint or outright claim that their temptations are gifts. They say they are their temptations, and that their temptations are good. And this is preposterous. Why? Because that means woofies would have their own temptation-gifts to offer. And so would you with your temptations, as long as you can find enough people to form a political class.
So finally to Charamsa’s demands. They are nothing unusual. And they reveal that Charamsa knows almost nothing of the rules he swore he would learn and uphold. I don’t mean to single out this man. He is only the bravest. There are many more like him without the guts to come forward, though this Synod might draw more out. Here are the “demands:”
- Disposal of homophobia and anti-gay discrimination,
- Condemnation of punishment for homosexuality,
- Cessation of the Church’s interference in guaranteeing human rights by democratic states,
- Canceling incompetent and prejudicial documents,
- Immediate cancellation of discriminatory instructions about denying the priesthood to homosexual persons,
- Initiate a serious interdisciplinary scientific reflection over the morality of human sexuality,
- Revision of the interpretation of biblical texts on homosexuality,
- Adoption of ecumenical dialogue with our Lutheran and Anglican brothers about homosexuality,
- The need to ask for forgiveness toward homosexuals,
- Respect for and belief in homosexuals and change in the distorted position of the Church on what a homosexual Christian life should look like.
These are the headlines, and to understand them the descriptions should be read, too. We’ll see how these play over the coming weeks.