AN OPEN LETTER TO CATHOLIC LAITY WITH DUBIA FOR AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN CLERGY
A debate is currently underway in the Catholic Church about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and the blessing of homosexual couples. Based on news reports, bishops from countries in which the majority of Catholic clergy are homosexuals, such as the United States and Europe, are generally supportive of Fiducia Supplicans. However, married Eastern Rite Catholic leaders whose clergy are allowed to marry have rejected Fiducia Supplicans, a Vatican document that allows for the blessing of homosexual couples, saying that it will not be implemented in their countries. Many bishops in Africa and Asia, with strong traditions against ordaining homosexual priests, have also expressed disagreement, and two African countries have prohibited priests from blessing same-sex couples as recommended by the document. The following “Dubia” may help you learn where your bishop and priests stand on this issue. Feel free to email it to your bishop or parish priest and see how he responds.
The following “Dubia” may help you learn where your bishop and priests stand on this issue. Feel free to email it to your bishop or parish priest and see how he responds.
DUBIA FOR AMERICAN & EUROPEAN CLERGY
Dear Cardinal, (Arch)Bishop, and Father,
Many married Anglican and Episcopalian clergy who converted to Catholicism did so because of the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality which they found to be “attentive to the natural law imprinted in human nature and faithful to the Sacred Scriptures.” Today, some of these Catholic priest converts are experiencing a crisis of faith owing to the pope and some bishops who appear to be rejecting the Church’s teaching based on Scripture that those who engage in homosexual acts are committing sin.
Recent divisive, confusing, and self-contradictory pronouncements by Pope Francis and Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández have received strong support from pro-LGBTQ cardinals like Blase Cupich, Robert McElroy, and others thought to be homosexually oriented. Based on articles these Church leaders have written, one is led to believe that they would like to revisit and change Church teachings about sins that for centuries have barred Catholics from Eucharistic communion. Included among these sins are “irregular” sexual arrangements such as sodomy and adultery. While these prelates like to talk about God’s grace and mercy, they have been criticized for “presenting an anthropology” that overlooks the “dynamic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness…within our culture.”
Retired professor of theology, Dr. Larry Chapp, offered the following analysis of what Cardinal Cupich and other pro-LGBTQ prelates are “pushing” today when he wrote:
By pitting God’s love against his justice in order to justify open table fellowship for those engaged in objectively immoral activities, might seem at first glance as just the sort of non-bureaucratic ‘lifeboat’ the Church needs to send out in order to rescue those drowning in the abyss. After all, mercy can be a deeply healing balm and the Church is in the forgiveness business. But moral antinomianism in matters sexual is not true mercy and is, therefore, not a lifeboat but a mirage that offers a false hope. It is honey laced with arsenic.
Eastern Rite Ukrainian Church leaders whose clergy are allowed to marry, as well as many bishops from continents like Africa and Asia, have voiced disagreement with Fiducia Supplicans, a Vatican document that allows for the blessing of homosexual couples. Their position appears to differ from that of many bishops and priests in the United States and Europe. What the media and Church leaders do not want to acknowledge publicly is that the pope, along with bishops and priests from countries where the majority of clergy are homosexuals, supports the blessing of same-sex couples, unlike clergy in countries where the majority of Catholic clergy are heterosexual who generally oppose the practice.
Because many Catholics are misled by the secular media that is uneducated in dogmatic and moral theology, here are seven “dubia” that you are asked to answer. These “questions” or “doubts” are designed to afford you an opportunity to help the faithful of your diocese or parish to overcome a lot of the “confusion, obfuscation, and chaos” surrounding Fiducia Supplicans. An excellent critique of the document by Cardinal Gerhard Müller is also worth reading in English, Spanish, Italian, or German,
- If a husband were to run off with another woman and divorce his wife, a priest who offered them a blessing, even if it were not in the context of a marriage ceremony, would be viewed by many as conferring validity on their relationship by invoking God’s blessing upon them. Father James Martin, SJ was recently shown blessing two men who are known to be “married” civilly to one another. Insofar as homosexuals who marry civilly are presumed to be sexually involved with one another, this Catholic gay “couple,” in the eyes of the Catholic Church, would be considered sinning against chastity which involves engaging in sexual relations with someone with whom one is not validly sacramentally married. By blessing this homosexual couple, did Father Martin violate the Church’s teaching based on Scripture that those who engage in homosexual acts are committing sin?
- In the rite of ordination, the phrase “Alter Christus” (“another Christ”) is used to show that although Christ himself is present in his Church, the priest acts as “another Christ” by virtue of his ordination. In making the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross, Jesus is both the victim being offered and the priest who is doing the offering. If the priest is to conform himself to Christ and act “in persona Christi,” then he must not only be willing, but also be able to sacrifice. Just as a person cannot claim he is sacrificing by giving up smoking for Lent if he does not smoke, can a closeted homosexual seminarian truly be sacrificing by promising never to marry when he is psychologically incapable of entering into a lifelong relationship with a woman and having children?
- Heterosexual bishops, priests, and seminarians who vow celibacy, thereby promising to forego having a wife and children to follow Christ, are sacrificing far more than closeted homosexual clerics who, while incapable of validly vowing celibacy, are only asked like all Christians to promise to lead chaste lives in refraining from extra-marital sex. Insofar as Christian marriage is not just about having sex, but enjoying the love that comes from marital and family life, given your own particular sexual orientation, can you appreciate how heterosexual clerics are insulted when their sacrifice in foregoing having a wife and children is equated to that of homosexuals who are asked to forego gay sex when someone says, “It doesn’t matter if a candidate is straight or gay, as long as he leads a chaste life”?
- One of the most common questions a priest is asked by both Catholics and non-Catholics is, “How can you do it?” Whether the questioners are married or not, they often ask, “How can you give up not having a wife and children?” In response some priests might say, “If Christ sacrificed his life, as scripture says, ‘Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends,’ then I can sacrifice having a wife and children to follow him.” Interestingly, while both married and celibate priests are expected to practice “chastity” by refraining from extramarital sex, those who do not marry are called to promise “celibacy” which involves a formal and solemn oath to never enter the married state. Celibate men and women sacrifice their natural right to marry in order to devote themselves completely to Christ and his Church. Unfortunately, while all men and women have a right to marry, not all men and women – owing to their sexual orientation – find themselves capable of marrying in keeping with how the Church defines Christian marriage as a permanent, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman open to the begetting of children. A person can only promise celibacy – i.e., not to marry – as a sacrifice to follow Christ, if he or she is capable of validly marrying. Because gays and lesbians who experience same-sex attraction cannot psychologically, spiritually, and sexually bond with someone of the opposite sex, they are, therefore, not only incapable of entering into a Christian marriage, but they are also incapable of validly making a promise of celibacy never to marry. For centuries the Catholic Church did not accept gays and lesbians to be priests and nuns, or dismissed them from seminaries and convents if they were reported for propositioning someone for sex, or caught engaging in sex with another seminarian, novice, or superior. If a gay or lesbian cannot validly promise celibacy because he or she is incapable of entering into a valid Christian marriage, can he or she validly become a priest or nun?
- In order for a couple to enter into a valid marriage in the Catholic Church, both man and woman must be open to having children. If one knows that he or she is infertile and is incapable of having children for medical reasons and does not inform the other party before the wedding, the marriage can be declared null and void if the fertile partner indicates that he or she would never have married had he or she known that they would never be able to have children of their own. If a man married a woman who later admitted that she was leaving him for another woman, the husband could request and be granted an annulment based on the fact that the conditions for a valid sacramental marriage were not met when they married. A closeted sexually active homosexual commits fraud by promising celibacy (vowing not to marry) when, in fact, he is neither psychologically capable nor desirous of getting married (to a woman and having children). After being ordained so many years during which time he was living a double life, he leaves the priesthood and enters into a civil marriage with another man. If the conditions for the valid reception of Holy Orders were not met in his case (e.g., due to lack of consent), does this impact the validity of the sacraments he celebrated?
- Psychologically speaking, homosexual priests and seminarians experience far more emotional support in living and working with other gay and even straight priests than heterosexually oriented priests encounter in their daily lives. A priest who is seen having dinner with a beautiful woman can be the cause of much more gossip than two gay priests dining together at that same restaurant. Are heterosexual seminarians educated these days in the challenges involved in living and working with gay clergy; controlling their natural psychosexual attraction to women; and actualizing their paternal instincts by mentoring children like a loving father amidst a plethora of safeguards implemented as a result of the homosexual predation of mainly teenage boys (i.e., ephebophilia)?
- If the Catholic Church were to approve “same-sex marriages,” homosexual candidates for the priesthood could validly promise celibacy because they would be forgoing/sacrificing marrying another man in the Catholic Church. Until then, owing to their psychological inability to marry women in the Catholic Church, the valid ordination of men to the diocesan priesthood who knew they were homosexuals before ordination comes into question. Owing to the number of known homosexuals Pope Francis has surrounded himself with, even if he himself were to admit being a homosexual, he could not be accused like a homosexual diocesan priest of not being capable of promising celibacy because the Pope is a Jesuit. Interestingly, Jesuits do not take the vow of celibacy. They do, however , take the vow of chastity in which they promise to avoid all sexual relations. While over 150 bishops have been credibly accused of abusing minors and vulnerable adults, only seven of them have been laicized to date. Why do you think Pope Francis removed Tyler Bishop Joseph Strickland who brought up the problem of clerical homosexual behavior at the November 2018 USCCB meeting, and Puerto Rican Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres who spoke out against same-sex “blessings” and transgender ideology, but has not disciplined over 150 bishops credibly accused of sexual predation, and even a far greater number of bishops accused of having engaged in homosexual misconduct particularly with other bishops, priests, and seminarians?
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.
TAKE ACTION: Send a copy of these Dubia to your bishop asking him to submit them to the Vatican.