In response to a recent article titled, ‘A cardinal error’ (whatever that means) I wish to address a few misconceptions that were presented in order to avoid potential offence to, and misrepresentation of, both the Catholic community and the LGBT+ community.
‘Catholic’s look to the Pope for a religious leader… but non-Catholic homosexuals never asked his opinion’ – Well observed. This statement I see as none other than simply attacking the fundamental right to free speech; if non-Catholic homosexuals don’t want to know the Pontiff’s opinion then they do not have to listen to him, but let’s not say that just because some people don’t want to hear it that he doesn’t have the right to say it.
The recent devastation in France surrounding the Charlie Hebdo attack resulted in a great awareness of the need to be able to speak freely – even if some people do not care for what is being said. Such was the case with Ahmed. Whilst the ‘Je suis Charlie’ slogan began to circulate throughout social media, I found also the circulation of ‘Je suis Ahmed’ – Ahmed was an officer who was killed in the attack. He was Muslim. Charlie Hebdo ridiculed his faith and he died defending their right to do so.
We must not say that just because others – maybe even the majority – disagree with something that the Pope says then he has no right to have said it. That’s not how free speech works. And quite simply, there are many Catholics whom are same-sex attracted who do want to hear what the Pope has to say. He is a spiritual leader to over 1.2billion people in the world; people want to know what he’s saying.
Alas! Contrary to popular belief, homosexuals are welcome in the Catholic Church. To say that the Catholic Church is non-inclusive is a contradiction in terms. ‘Catholic’ comes from the Greek katholikos meaning ‘universal’ which in turn comes from Kata meaning ‘in respect of’ + holos ‘whole’, and so to say that the Catholic Church needs to become more inclusive is ridiculous – what’s more progressive than being inclusive of the entire universe?
The reference made from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in which it was said to state that homosexuals are contrary to natural law is false. It does not say that. The closest I could find to that claim is CCC2357, in which it states that, ‘Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’ and that it is the act that is ‘contrary to natural law’ – this statement is in reference to the incompatibility of the sexual act to be able to naturally create life. In no way does it say that homosexuals are contrary to natural law. Homosexuals are first and foremost persons, and a person cannot themselves be contrary to natural law. Please do not portray otherwise.
What else does it say? Well it says in CCC2358 that same-sex attracted persons are to be ‘accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination… should be avoided.’ And that ‘These persons are called to fulfil God’s will in their lives.’ – Just like every other Catholic.
Finally I also wish to agree that the Church and the State should be separate – however I think I should point out – slightly embarrassingly – that this was not implemented so that the Church didn’t have involvement in the State, but rather quite the opposite, that the State not impose itself onto the Church.
As the philosopher John Locke points out according to his principle of social contract, the government lacks authority in the realm of individual conscience. And Jefferson, the third president of the United States, also reiterates that, ‘religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions.’
So yes, Pope Francis will say many things that will cause a stir amongst various groups. If you don’t like it – don’t listen to it. Pope Francis is Catholic, he himself said that he is a ‘son of the Church’. Let’s not try and shut him down for being so.
I hope this has cleared up a few issues that I saw in the article that was published. Now we can all get back to living and let living as you say, but let us not mistake the words of Pope Francis, or indeed the words of Jesus Christ himself, in thinking that ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ implies some world in which anything goes. If a man walks down the M5 into oncoming traffic – sure we could let him do as he pleases, it’s none of our business. Or, we could tell him to get out of the road before he gets run over! What’s more loving? Pope Francis is sincere in his words.
Benedict Hincebookmark me