In November of 2018, Tyler Bishop Joseph Strickland brought up the topic of homosexuality with his brother bishops at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting. He said, “It’s part of our deposit of faith, we believe, that homosexual activity is immoral.” He asked, “How did McCarrick get promoted…if we really are all of one mind that this is wrong and sinful?” Without realizing how his words would seal his fate five years later, he went on to ask, “Can we present in our diocese that same-sex marriage is just fine, and the Church will one day grow to understand that?” Unfortunately, Bishop Strickland failed to recognize that the pope, the nuncio, and the majority of his brother U.S. bishops, for reasons obvious to perceptive individuals, have a very different take on homosexuality.
It was no coincidence that Bishop Strickland was removed from office by Pope Francis just before the November 2023 USCCB meeting. Insofar as the Pope and the majority of U.S. bishops are in fact not “all of one mind that [homosexual behavior] is wrong and sinful,” then it’s understandable why they might not want him reminding them again that “the Church cannot bless sin.”
Even though the Pope removed Bishop Strickland from his diocese, he still cannot prevent him from speaking the truth as he did when he responded to the announcement that “Pope Francis is allowing Priests to Bless Same-Sex Couples.” Strickland has called on all Catholics, and especially on bishops, to reject Fiducia Supplicans, a document that allows for the blessing of homosexual couples.
Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, argued that the blessing of homosexual couples, while “amounting to a new development,” did not amend “the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage.” Fernández, reported to have been outed by Argentine celebrity nun, Sr. María Lucía Caram Padilla, failed to say that this “new development” in fact “amends” the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. If it is a rebuttable presumption that same-sex couples engage in homosexual acts, and if the Catholic Church, based on scripture and tradition, teaches that homosexual acts are sinful, then one can logically conclude that the current occupier of the Throne of Peter is allowing priests to “Bless Same-Sex Couples” who are assumed to be engaging in sinful acts.
Any bishop or priest who is familiar with those whom Pope Francis has surrounded himself with, as well as those whom he has dismissed, demoted, or passed over for promotion during his pontificate, would be naive if they thought the Pope and the vast majority of pro-LGBTQ cardinals, archbishops, and bishops named over the past 10 years are heterosexually oriented.
If an attorney learned that the person his client was suing happened to be a relative of a civil court judge, he would make sure that the judge recused himself from hearing that case owing to a conflict of interest. Is there not a “conflict of interest” at play if those who are interpreting Church laws and teachings on homosexuality today are themselves closeted homosexuals? Would a heterosexually oriented pope like St. John Paul II, a Cardinal like Gerhard Muller, an Archbishop like Diarmuid Martin, or a Bishop like Joseph Strickland, endorse priests blessing homosexual couples? I don’t think so.
One of the reasons pro-LGBTQ Cardinals like Wilton Gregory and Blase Cupich, known to distribute holy communion to pro-abortion politicians, restrict the celebration of the Latin Mass in their dioceses, is that most participants in these liturgies are families who support the traditional and authentic teachings of the Catholic Church, including its condemnation of same-sex sexual activity. Pro-life Catholic families with a number of children often do not feel “at home” in parishes pastored by closeted gay priests who are often more concerned about the environment, supporting illegal immigration, and inviting everyone to come forward to receive Holy Communion.
If intrinsically discriminatory woke policies that promote DEI (Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion) and CRT (Critical Race Theory) have had a deleterious effect on military recruitment and retention, so too are doctrinal changes on issues like homosexuality moving more Catholics to leave the Church. While the Church is growing in Africa and other parts of the world that do not condone acts like sodomy, the situation is quite the opposite in places like the U.S. and Europe that have witnessed a major change in the ethnic face and sexual orientation of the priesthood. According to a 2012 psychological study of “actively ministering or retired priests” in the U.S., only 26.9% of the priests identified themselves as heterosexuals; 67.3% self-identified as gay/homosexual; and 5.8% reported that they were bisexual.
Given the ongoing decrease in the percentage of heterosexual clergy in the U.S. and Europe over the past decades, one can anticipate a number of homosexual priests blessing other homosexuals like themselves. It remains to be seen how many bishops will join Bishop Strickland “with a voice of strength and joy in the Lord” and remain faithful to the Church’s unchanging Magisterium which would have one say “no” to the “blessing” of homosexual “unions.”
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.