Monday, March 05, 2007

Westminster's 'outreach' to homosexuals: debate in The Tablet

Background briefing: further to the issue of special Masses being provided for homosexuals in the Archdiocese of Westminster, The Tablet has published an interesting pair of articles on the subject.

The first, from Britain's foremost Catholic philosopher, John Haldane, Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Culture, expresses our own concerns about the Masses, saying

The diocesan initiative recognises the pastoral needs of some of those on whom the Church's longstanding teaching on sexuality may rest heavily. Well intended, therefore, and explicit in maintaining church teachings, it nevertheless gives rise to certain risks: first, encouraging or even recognising sectionalist interest; secondly, confusing and giving scandal to the faithful; thirdly, undermining the efforts of those who, though of homosexual inclination, strive to live according to the Church's teachings and seek no special privileges; and fourthly, compromising the conduct of the Mass and the gift of the Eucharist.

(Full article here: readers need to 'register' to access the website)

The second, from the prominent dissenting theologican and ex-priest James Alison, is rambling and repetitive, but the leading idea seems to be that the emergence of a militant gay sub-culture itself shows that the Church's constant teaching, far from being infallible, is wrong. Or, in Alison's inimitable jargon, there is

an emerging anthropological truth about a regular, normal and non-pathological variant within the human condition. In other words, it is not so much that the Church's teaching about sexual ethics is being challenged by insufficiently heroic people, but the field of application of that teaching is being redefined by emerging reality. And of course it is proper to the Catholic faith, where Creation and Salvation are never to be completely separated, that it takes very seriously "what is" as informing "what should be" rather than trying to force "what is" to fit into an understanding of "what should be" derived from other sources.

(Full article here.) So stop trying to cleanse people from mortal sin, let along make them saints! Leave them as they are, since the reality of misery and estrangement from God should guide our understanding of the Christian ideal, not the reality of Christ.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen