Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

home for whom?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | May 21, 2005

Memphis Bishop Terry Steib plays on the legacy of racism in order to plead for Catholic acceptance of -- not homosexuals -- but "gays and lesbians" (from Dom's blog):

A brief look at history -- from slavery to the "march of tears" of our Native American sisters and brothers to the grape strikes in California -- reminds us that God's work is always hampered when human beings are afraid of differences in each other. A new ministry with gay and lesbian persons will push open even further the door to promoting understanding and compassion among all of us. It will open the door to "home" for many who are an important part of who we are, and to a segment of our family that has been apart from us for too long. ...

Please pray for this ministry. Participate in the work of welcoming the entire family into the home which is our Church, where all are embraced by God's unconditional love. Let us all dare to love as God loves.

Think of the middle-aged guy in the blue jacket who occupies the pew adjoining yours at Mass. Do you know the aberrations of his private desire? Do you know whether he has a weakness toward kleptomania? Do you know whether he struggles with an addiction to painkillers, or whether he has a family history of alcoholism that makes him prey to mood swings? Do you know the vagaries of his sexual libido, what thoughts are in transit through his mind at night as he drops off to sleep? Do you know his vulnerabilities to temptation that he brings before God in prayer?

You don't know. He's just the guy in the blue jacket. You "welcome" him in the same sense that he "welcomes" you -- i.e., not by paying attention to one another but by worshiping God in the universal Church God's Son founded. Except in the general sense that he, like you, is a penitent sinner in need of grace, you don't care about his desires. Further, unless he goes out of his way to tell you otherwise, you assume he believes what the Church proposes for belief. Even if he hides a problem with kleptomania, it never occurs to you to wonder whether he accepts Christian doctrine on property rights. Why should it?

Steib's analogy is malign. No one screens Mass-goers at the church door to weed out secret necrophiles, or kleptomaniacs, or misogynists, or homosexuals. Those homosexuals who have chosen -- chosen -- to present themselves to Catholics as gays are by that very fact setting themselves in opposition to Catholic teaching. It is false to state or imply that Catholics (including, be it noted, orthodox homosexual Catholics) who resist the Church's acceptance of gays are motivated by bigotry, of the same stamp as those who wished to exclude blacks. What Steib proposes as a "welcome home" is in fact a capitulation in the matter of Catholic doctrine. It is sexual Vichyism masquerading as charity.

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