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Be gentle, bishop pleads

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jul 01, 2005

"If the trumpet give an uncertain sound," asks St. Paul (1 Cor 14:8), "who shall prepare himself for battle?" After Canada's approval of same-sex marriage, when Catholics might expect a clear summons to the ramparts from their bishops, they get ... this:

Bishop Fred Colli of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay said he doesn't disapprove of gays and lesbians being in loving relationships. But he is concerned about what it could mean for the future of the church if they have the right to marry, even though the law wouldn't force churches to perform same-sex marriages. "You never can tell what kind of securities do exist today," he said. "A judge can decide that the laws are not right."


Let's try to drive a stake through the heart of the "loving relationship" ruse. Say a secretary falls in love with her married boss. If, in addition to the promptings of eros, she also truly loves him, she wants what is objectively best for him. If she wants what is best for him, she will not endanger his salvation, which means she will not imperil his marriage commitments, which means she will not even consider a romantic --much less a sexual -- relationship with him. Her love for him requires non-consummation, period. A tough course, but the only one consistent with charity. Anything else would point, not to love, but to self-deception and self-gratification at the expense of what was really the best for the other.

By the same token, if a person really loves someone of the same sex, the desire that the beloved attain what is objectively best demands chastity of both. There is no such thing as same-sex "loving relationships" where the word "relationship" is understood -- as it almost universally is today -- to include sexual activity.

It goes without saying that it's cold comfort to a person besottedly enamored of another to point out that, while their eros will never find satisfaction, chastity demonstrates a more profound and genuine love. At the time, it sounds both idiotic and cruel. That's why such persons need all the help they can get, especially from the Church, and especially in terms of clear, unbending, and absolute moral norms. Perhaps we can't blame a bishop for not wanting to appear callous and doctrinaire. But he should lavish his compassion on those unfortunates who, against the odds, struggle to remain chaste and true to themselves, rather than bestowing smiles on "loving relationships" that lead to degradation and, if unrepented, to hell.

What does he think he was given a crosier for?

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