"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The pelvis again

As per media interest, the pelvic issues in the Church are once again dominating the news. I address two here.

1. Once again, the U.S. bishops have pleased me by approving a document that will offend much of its intended constituency. They did that nearly a decade ago, when they stopped talking about "the seamless garment" of Catholic social teaching and began emphasizing those aspects of said teaching which singled out certain social evils, such as abortion, as worse than others and thus as worthy of uncompromising opposition. This time it's guidelines for the pastoral care of homosexual Catholics. The text hasn't yet been published, but that doesn't matter for the observation that needs to be made.

The bishops are horribly squeezed by a dilemma that is caused partly by Catholic teaching itself and partly by current social conditions both within and outside the Church. In terms of the teaching, the bishops must and do affirm that homosexual acts are intrinsically immoral, so that the rooted inclination thereto, i.e. homosexuality, is objectively disordered. But since the effects of original sin leave us all "objectively disordered" to some degree, there's no reason to single out homosexuality for special distaste and homosexuals as sinners somehow worse than the rest of us. And so gay people are to be considered every bit as much members of the Church, and of her circle of care, as other Catholics. Yet thanks to the sexual revolution, moral relativism, and the "gay-rights" movement, many homosexual Catholics regard affirmation of the relevant Catholic moral teaching as objectively incompatible with due love and pastoral care for them. They are so self-identified as "gay people" that they take the Church's characterizing of homosexuality as "objectively" disordered as objectively demeaning and marginalizing them. It's awfully hard to give adequate pastoral care to people who reject some of the very premises of that care and thus see the care as phony.

But when the pelvis gets involved, what else can you expect?

2. Prompted by Archbishop Milingo's creation of a schism by his ordination of married priests as bishops, the Pope met with some top advisors yesterday to discuss what to do. No text of the discussion has been released, but it's been let out that the value of priestly celibacy was reaffirmed. Once again, we have a grave, public threat to Church unity based on the desire of some people to eat their cake and have it.

Like people in most walks of life, I too have always had that desire. But I don't blame the Church for not letting me fulfill it. Perhaps I'm not pelvic enough.
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