Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Either it's simple or I am...

It seems to me...

The purpose and result of Civil Partnerships is to normalise and make respectable homosexual relationships.

Should the Catholic Church approve of or collude with such measures?

The CDF says no.

The Bishops of E&W seem more ambiguous.  Indeed, it appears that their position has changed by 180 degrees.

The fact that some people need to write screeds and screeds to explain how the Bishops' nuanced position is totally aligned with the CDF's (and historic Catholicism's) suggests that the CDF's approach is clearer, and raises further doubts about the Bishops'.

Actually, understanding the Church's teaching on this (the intrinsic disorder of homosexual attraction and the sinfulness of homosexual activity) is not so hard.

The more difficult thing is to convey the Church's teaching clearly, in a way that is completely truthful and completely charitable.

This is important, because the genesis of homosexuality is not clear.  It may be genetic, in whole or in part; it may be environmental in whole or in part, and so on.  The point is that if there is any element that is open to influence, we should be minimising the risk of young people coming to self-identify as homosexual - as it is a disorder.  Normalising it works in the opposite direction.


blondpidge said...

"The more difficult thing is to convey the Church's teaching clearly, in a way that is completely truthful and completely charitable".

I would agree and that is why so much unnecessary controversy has arisen.

Re screeds and screeds, I think perhaps you are being a little unfair to G. He wanted to be transparent about his thought processes, what brought him to his conclusions amidst accusations he was under orders. G will be the first to admit he doesn't do short blog posts, that was nothing new!

Ben Trovato said...

Maybe that was unfair, but his was not the only explanation I was thinking of.

I do not agree with Jon Smeaton's assumptions and assertions about people who have signed up to CV, and can quite understand why he and you took strong exception to them.

However, if you can show me a clear, concise explanation of how the E&W Bishops' welcoming of CPs (and other related utterances, say about the Soho Mass, and 'Who knows what's down the road?') can be aligned with the CDF's or indeed Catholic teaching in the CCC, I'd be really interested! But I'll take some convincing...

Ben Trovato said...

Oops 'John' not 'Jon'

Part-time Pilgrim said...


What exactly are you saying about our Bishops? Are you saying that they have failed to clearly expound Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual ethics or are you saying that they are promoting teaching at variance with the Church's position? Neither is to be welcomed but there is a HUGE difference between the two.

Ben Trovato said...

P-t P

I am not sure the difference is as huge as you claim it to be. THe common maxim is 'Silence gives consent', after all, so a failure to teach clearly is potentially a negation of what should be taught. An Australian poet, whom I can't now trace, wrote: That which we omit, we teach will not be missed.'

So what exactly am I saying about our bishops? (And I'm talking collectively - and that's another issue to which I will return in a future post)...

That they have failed to set out clearly the teaching of the Church in this area;

That by words ('who knows what's down the road?' 'we welcome Civil Partnerships') and actions or omissions (Connexions in Catholic Schools, the CES scandal, the CAFOD/ Julian Filochowski scandal, the Soho Mass scandal, the appointment of PC Labour hacks to key roles etc) they have sent messages that they do not take the formal teaching of the Church in this area very seriously (to say the least).

Does that amount to 'promoting teaching at variance with the Church's position'? You tell me.

Part-time Pilgrim said...

Well the difference is between (in your words) doing or saying something wrong on one hand and having bad motives on the other. I think that is huge. I don't think we have silence but what we do have is muddle but I ascribe this to cock-up rather than conspiracy.

Ben Trovato said...

P-t P,

Yes I certainly don't ascribe bad motives to them, but that does not mean they have no responsibility - or culpability.

I think you are making a different distinction from 'failing to expound' v. promoting teaching at variance.'

That is, I think it is possible to 'promote teaching at variance', without having 'bad motives'. If it is due to wanting to be liked, laziness, cowardice, failure to educate oneself sufficiently ... these are not necessarily bad motives (and I cite them merely as examples, not as guesses); but they may have (depending on circumstances) a degree of culpability attached.

Part-time Pilgrim said...

Yes. It's not easy being a bishop. I am surprised anyone wants to do it. Not only do you get criticism in this whilst alive you are also called to account for how you have shepherded your flock when you die. Instictively I feel the need to support them against criticism but they are making it difficult at the moment.

Ben Trovato said...

P-t P

I share your instinct, but there are others conflicting with it; at the micro-level, I find it hard having to explain the, let us say, oddities of the Church in England to my growing, bright and questioning kids. The bishops do not make that easy.

I also think, on the macro-level, that it's even harder being the Pope, and instinctively want to support him.

Then there is the matter of filial piety: being true to what my parents, specifically, and our Catholic forebears collectively, handed down to us.

There is also the responsibility we have for others, in the Church and beyond it, to at least have access to the Church's teaching in its fullness.

As you say, the bishops don't make it easy...