Friday, June 17, 2011

The Church's ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care are not misled by homosexual propaganda

In its 1986 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had this to say:

"..increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.

The Church's ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church. But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church's position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage.

The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.

There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups' concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.

The Church can never be so callous. It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment. But she is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society's understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy." (Nos. 8, 9).

In No. 15 the CDF says, "We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.

We would heartily encourage programmes where these dangers are avoided. But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church's teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church's position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.

An authentic pastoral programme will assist homosexual persons at all levels of the spiritual life: through the sacraments, and in particular through the frequent and sincere use of the sacrament of Reconciliation, through prayer, witness, counsel and individual care. In such a way, the entire Christian community can come to recognize its own call to assist its brothers and sisters, without deluding them or isolating them."

These guidelines have not been followed within the Boston Archdiocese.  In my last post, I noted how Father John Unni has promoted radical homosexual activists Rabbi Devon Lerner and Charles Martel and their organization called "Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry," an organization dedicated toward promoting "gay marriage." 

The CDF teaches us that "Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral."  And yet, Father Unni has promoted an organization which is not concerned with the truth about homosexuality but which seeks instead to condone homosexual activity.  His proposed "Gay Pride Mass," which had the initial go-ahead from the Archdiocese, would have presented yet another problem.  For the CDF says in No. 17 of this same letter that, "All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous."

I guess the Archdiocese of Boston simply forgot these guidelines.  Maybe they simply chose to ignore them?


Ellen Wironken said...

Fr. Unni should be removed from priestly ministry at once. Under Canon Law, "When the ministry of any pastor has become detrimental or at least ineffective for any reason, even through no grave fault of his own, he can be removed from the parish by the diocesan bishop." (Can. 1740).

And 1741: "The reasons for which a pastor can be legitimately removed from his parish are especially the following:

1. a way of acting which is gravely detrimental or disturbing to the ecclesial community."

Fr. Unni has brought scandal to the ecclesial community and has engaged in the promotion of individuals and groups which advocate same-sex "marriage" and "gay pride."

Time for him to go.

Brian Letourneau said...

I live in Ohio so I'm far from these eventa which you are covering. But it is more than clear that this priest lacks sufficient maturity to lead a parish. By allowing the faithful under his care to be exposed to pro-homosexual propaganda, he is undermining their faith in Catholic moral teaching and harming their souls.

This is a wolf in shepherd's garb.

Anonymous said...

Paul, can I get your opinion on this group?

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Anonymous, can I get your opinion on this website?

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Here's what Priests for Life Canada has to say about the site:
" is an internationally recognized source for current news from a pro-life perspective. Their website also has sections on abortion methods and pregnancy help centres."


Rory McGinn said...

I hope you are sending these columns to all the individual members of the hierarchy you can reach, here, in DC and in Rome.

Michael Cole said...

Even the pro-homosexual publication known as the Bilerico Project views Fr. John Unni as pro-LGBT:

"It is very easy to come to the naive conclusion that the pastor of St. Cecilia's is a pro-LGBT hero. I suspect that in his heart he is pro-LGBT and I suspect that he would like to be heroic. I suspect that he is in favor of gay rights and that he would love to perform gay marriages in St. Cecilia's and that he would love to come out of the closet and that he would love all priests, bishops, cardinals and popes to come out of their closets. I suspect he would be in favor of the ordination of women and a married Catholic clergy. I can hear this in his voice, but I did not hear this in his words. He passed on the opportunity to be heroic. He remains a company man, and for this he will be rewarded.

Do we need more priests like Father Unni? No and yes. His plans for the inclusive/welcoming mass highlighted the struggle for LGBT rights in the Catholic Church and also highlighted the startling fact that most Catholics in the pews are in favor of LGBT rights. For this, I would give him props. But he lit a fire that got out of control, and rather than let it blaze, he joined the archdiocesan bucket brigade that put it out. Real heroism and real defiance demand otherwise. His actions were ultimately not in line with what I suspect his heart tells him is the real message of Jesus. He wasted his fifteen minutes.

I know it's hard not to get the impression that I am writing with bitterness because of my own experience of Catholicism. I am actually not bitter about those years. I rather enjoyed my time inside the institutional church but I saw the duplicity from the inside and at the highest levels of the hierarchy. I had to make a choice to continue soldiering for a hateful hierarchy or to leave it. Father Unni faces that choice and I think he is pushing himself toward the door but he can't quite bring himself to walk through it. My guess is that he daily decides that the good he can accomplish for his parishioners outweighs the evil that he perpetuates as part of the current gay-hating hierarchy of misguided Catholicism.

This story isn't yet over. Father Unni still has opportunities for greatness, but if he wants to be heroic and if he wants to be a true advocate for the LGBT Catholics of St. Cecilia's, and if he wants to be true to the message of Jesus, he will sooner or later be at odds with the archbishop, the auxiliary bishop and the archdiocesan spokesman. I don't much pray for anything anymore, but if I did, I'd pray for that day."

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