With the raging debate on the Rights and Freedoms Bill being put to the people by referendum scheduled for November 24, 2016, everyone seems to have an opinion. No doubt, Catholics are looking to their priests for guidance, as well. After reading Fr. Sean’s article, I realised that it was his personal opinion and I immediately wondered why his personal opinion is so far removed from that of the Church’s teaching as I know it.
Let me be clear from the outset. All of God’s children, regardless of sex, belief, place of origin, and so on, are welcomed by the Catholic Church and must be protected by the constitution of the country and their rights must be protected.
The issue is not rejecting LGBTQ people; they too have their rights and I respect that. Also, I support equal pay for equal work and believe that both sexes should enjoy equal rights at all times.
Pope Francis seems to have been quoted very selectively by Fr. Sean.
The quote used is an off the cuff remark made to journalists on an aircraft with regard to gays. He has made much more profound statements dealing with gender and I wonder what informed the choice of quote.
Here is a quote from an article with reference to ‘gender theory’ which is much more relevant to the discussion taking place about the bill. “Trying to “change attitudes” like this is “ideological colonisation,” the pope said, building on comments he made on Saturday in Tbilisi, when he argued that gender theory was part of a “global war” on traditional family values and marriage. Gender theory is, broadly speaking, the idea that while people may be biologically male or female, they may choose to identify as male or female – or both or neither.” https://www.thelocal.it/20161003/pope-francis-teaching-gender-theory-is-indoctrination.
The issue being debated is not homosexuality and the provision of pastoral care. The church has always taught that pastoral care must be provided to homosexuals. The church has requested that homosexuals practice celibacy.
The following are two excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”
“2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”
The issue of concern in the referendum is the use of the word ‘gender’ and its definition. The local Catholic lawyers whose opinion Fr. Sean criticises and attributes to their political affiliation, are saying that it introduces “gender theory” and as such, their position AND their opinion, is in accord with the opinion of Pope Francis and his condemnation of gender theory as part of a “global war” against traditional marriage and the family.
I wonder if the Catholic lawyers from the region who were mentioned in the article, really did give that advice. If they did, they are wrong and Fr. Sean ought to know that. In my opinion, the article is written with a political bias and does not give the perspective or teaching of the church.
“The Pope has been an outspoken critic of the LGBT lobby’s efforts worldwide to impose same-sex marriage and theories of gender fluidity that separate gender from biological sexual differences and blur the essential differences between men and women.”
Fr. Sean appeared to show political bias when he said “It is very sad that it is perceived that our Catholic lawyers are allowing their political affiliations to influence their judgement.” Why would he come to that conclusion? Why is he so judgmental? The question is, has his political affiliation influenced his opinion and his need to write that article? Has he abandoned the teaching and leadership of Pope Francis for the teaching and leadership of a local political leader?
Things that make me say hmmm.
By the way, a paper released recently by the American College of Paediatricians on gender dysphoria (GD) in children – a psychological condition in which children experience a marked incongruence between their experienced gender and their biological sex – suggests that Pope Francis was fundamentally correct in his criticism of gender theory.
This response is in my personal capacity and NOT as Chairman of the National Democratic Congress. I respond as a practicing Catholic concerned with what appears to be political bias of a Catholic priest in an article published originally in the Catholic Focus as his personal opinion.
Vincent Invictus Roberts
If not me, who? If not now, when?
One People, One Voice!