The Pope, the Bishops and the Blessing of Homosexual Unions

One of the major reasons a number of former Episcopal clergy converted to Catholicism was because of the Catholic Church’s teaching that views homosexual behavior as contrary to the natural and divine laws. While some of these converts found that they could not work for gay and lesbian bishops, they did not expect to find themselves now working for closeted homosexual bishops who, given their sexual orientation, understandably support the blessing of homosexual unions.

Twenty years ago, in June 2003, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addressed the topic of “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons.” The future pope wrote, “Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition.”  His “Considerations,” approved by Pope John Paul II, concluded, “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts ‘close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved’.”

Despite this authoritative pronouncement written and promulgated by the two previous pontiffs, why is it that Pope Francis is now allowing Catholic clergy to bless same-sex unions? Might it have something to do with the pope’s own sexual orientation, and the orientation of most of the cardinals and bishops he has appointed since his 2013 election? It should not have come as a surprise that Pope Francis personally chose, as representatives of the US bishops at the recent synod, openly pro-LGBTQ Cardinals Blase Cupich, Robert McElroy, Wilton Gregory, and Joseph Tobin.

It is common practice for a judge to recuse oneself from a case because of a potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality. How can Catholic prelates be impartial in ruling on the Church’s teaching on homosexuality when many of them are homosexuals? The real elephant in the room is the fact that the overwhelming majority of Catholic bishops are not truly “Catholic” when it comes to upholding Catholic moral teachings grounded in both the natural and divine laws. Compromised by their own orientation, and often behavior, most U.S. bishops, unlike heterosexually oriented African bishops like Archbishop Andrew Nkea from Cameroon, are mute in defending the Church’s teaching that homosexual behavior is as immoral as adultery. Clearly, when asked to pass judgment on the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus did not respond, “Who am I to judge?” He did not dismiss the Jewish law prohibiting adultery as “anthropologically dated.” What he did say was, “Go, and sin no more.” Rather than preaching that “the Church cannot bless sin,” many homosexual Church leaders are clearly attempting to change the Church’s doctrinal teachings and promote homosexual unions as natural and moral as God’s life-giving plan for marriage and family.

A bishop who became a homosexual after he was groomed during his psychosexual period of development will often look upon the priest or seminarian who came onto him in the seminary as a very close friend. He would probably characterize their gay relationship as “loving” and not at all “objectively disordered” as the Church teaches. While a bishop who was an active homosexual with other adult men before entering the seminary later in life will ordinarily not pose a threat to teenage boys, he may often violate his vows of celibacy and look to satisfy his sexual urges with other adult gay clerics.

In some cases, as happened with ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop John Nienstedt, and Bishop Michael Bransfield, priests and seminarians they propositioned or abused reported them which led in time to their removal. In other cases, as happened with Omaha Archbishop George Lucas who was reported for homosexual behavior at an orgy involving priests and seminarians, bishops recruit their own panel members to whitewash credible allegations against them.  Lucas’ self-appointed internal panel which covered up the allegations would later come under fire in sworn testimony from a highly credentialed former Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Unlike Washington Father Michael Briese who wrote Cardinal Wilton Gregory inquiring, “Have you ever had homosexual relations with another man?” most priests will not risk being suspended by confronting their homosexual bishops for engaging in or covering up homosexual misconduct among the priests and seminarians of the diocese.  Father Adam Park who is named in an ongoing lawsuit for preying on seminarians is being kept in ministry by Gregory while Briese who continues to minister to the poor and homeless is suspended and prohibited from celebrating the sacraments.

This treatment of Briese is reminiscent of when Theodore McCarrick and Donald Wuerl, Gregory’s predecessors, denied Dominican Father Thomas Doyle faculties to celebrate Mass in the Washington Archdiocese. Doyle returned to the D.C. area from Germany after his ecclesiastical endorsement to serve as an Air Force Chaplain was unjustly revoked for his testimony at numerous abuse trials. McCarrick, one of the most infamous predators in the Catholic Church; and Wuerl, forced to retire in disgrace after covering up the sexual predation of countless victims, told Doyle who campaigned on behalf of victims of clerical sexual abuse for decades that he couldn’t celebrate the sacraments of the Church.

As long as (arch)dioceses like Washington, Chicago, Newark, and San Diego are governed by pro-LGBTQ prelates like Gregory, Cupich, Tobin, and McElroy who were all made Cardinals by Pope Francis, one can expect to hear more about the blessing of gay couples and continue to read about efforts to get Catholics to accept homosexual behavior as normal as the life-giving marriage between a man and a woman.

Gene Thomas Gomulka is a sexual abuse victims’ advocate, investigative reporter, and screenwriter. A former Navy (O6) Captain/Chaplain, seminary instructor, and diocesan respect life director, Gomulka was ordained a priest for the Altoona-Johnstown diocese and later made a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) by St. John Paul II.