Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Boston Archbishop to Homosexuals: Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior
Roman Catholics of late seem intent on correcting abuses within their own communion. This not only involves discipline of errant clerics, but setting right misapprehensions of what Christians are called to believe. Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley sent a pastoral letter to his flock last week reaffirming the Christian commitment to "show true love to persons with homosexual tendencies" AND to remind them of Jesus' words: "Go and sin no more."
In the context of mainline Protestant quibbling over words, O'Malley's letter clearly states what many of our denominational leaders seem unwilling to express: "Sometimes we are told: 'If you do not accept my behavior, you do not love me.' In reality we must communicate the exact opposite: 'Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior."
By John-Henry Westen
BOSTON, November 28, 2005 - Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley wrote a pastoral letter last week calling on Catholics to show true love to persons with homosexual tendencies. This is done he said by telling them that homosexual acts are sinful, he said. Otherwise, the bishop continued, we are dangerously "deceiving people."
After clarifying that the Catholic Church does not tolerate unjust discrimination towards persons with homosexual tendencies, the leader of the Catholic Church in Boston reminded Catholics that although Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, he did however - after saving her life - tell her "Go and sin no more."
Archbishop O'Malley thus tells some Catholics who are misled into false kindness towards those with homosexual tendencies, "If we tell people that sex outside of marriage is not a sin, we are deceiving people." The pastor of souls, who's first priority is the spiritual wellbeing of his flock, warns that that spiritual wellbeing may be threatened by such false kindness. "If they believe this untruth, a life of virtue becomes all but impossible," he warned.
Archbishop O'Malley acknowledged that it is difficult for all Christians, priests and bishops included, to preach the truth in charity on the matter of homosexuality and other aberrant sexual practices such as adultery, and pre-marital sex. "It is never easy to deliver a message that calls people to make sacrifices or to do difficult things. Sometimes people want to punish the messenger. For this reason we priests at times find it difficult to articulate the Church's teaching on sexual morality," he said.
In presenting the message of truth, the Archbishop counsels, "We must never deliver the message in a self-righteous way, but rather with compassion and humility."
Despite the hardships however, Archbishop O'Malley says Catholics must nevertheless present the truth. "It is important to express the moral teachings of the Church with clarity and fidelity. The Church must be Church," he said. "We must teach the truths of the Gospel in season and out of season. These recent times seem to us like it is "out of season", but for that very reason it is even more urgent to teach the hard words of the Gospel today."
Concluding his letter, the Archbishop answered a common objection made by those with homosexual tendencies . "Sometimes we are told: 'If you do not accept my behavior, you do not love me.' In reality we must communicate the exact opposite: 'Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior," he said.