FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: Time Magazine: What the Vatican Really Said About Homosexuality
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.

From Time Magazine:



What the Vatican Really Said About Homosexuality
Elizabeth Dias @elizabethjdias
Oct. 13, 2014


It's not the big shift people think it is

The Catholic world and the media were riled Monday by a Vatican document interpreted by many as signaling a softer church stance toward homosexuality, but the inclusive tone of the document is a long way from actual policy change.

At issue are three words most people have never heard of: Relatio post disceptationem. That’s the name of the document the Catholic Church’s Extraordinary Synod of the Bishops released Monday, one week into the Synod’s gathering to discuss the state of the family in the modern world. It translates, “Report After Debate,” and it was read aloud in the Synod hall to kick off the Synod’s second week. One of the report’s 58 sections—the one causing the biggest stir—is titled, “Welcoming homosexual persons.”

“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community,” the passage begins. “Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”

Vox Wrote:Minus the use of the word "valuing" with regard to their sexual orientations -- which is akin to saying "valuing" bipolar disorder -- no Catholic, IMO, should have any qualms with the above. "Valuing" should be replaced with "accepting" -- not in the sense of "accepting it as normal" or "accepting acting on those desires as non-sinful," but "accepting in the sense of acknowledging the disorder exists, causes suffering, is not chosen, is about a lot more than just genital acts and the desire thereof, and that the people with that disorder need to be loved and welcomed and led to Christ."

For a Church that has historically linked the word “homosexual” with the word “sin,” the idea of welcoming gays in any capacity can appear to be a significant move. Headlines immediately spoke of a “dramatic shift” and a “more tolerant” stance from the church.

Vox Wrote:Grrr! The Church does NOT link "homosexual" with "sin." She links "homosexual ACTS" with sin. The sooner seculars (and some of the folks in the pews) get this straight in their heads and express it all properly, the better.

But before rushing to conclusions, everyone, on all sides, should calm down.

First, here’s what the document actually is:

The relatio is a mid-Synod snapshot of 200+ Catholic leaders’ conversations that happened in the Synod hall last week. It is a starting point for conversations as the Synod fathers start small group discussions this week. It is a working text that identifies where bishops need to “deepen or clarify our understanding,” as Cardinal Luis Antonia Tagle put it in Monday’s press briefing. That means that the topic of gays and Catholic life came up in the Synod conversations so far and that it is a topic for continued reflection.

Second, here’s what the document is not:

The relatio is not a proscriptive text. It is not a decree. It is not doctrine, and certainly not a doctrinal shift. It is also not final. “These are not decisions that have been made nor simply points of view,” the document concludes. “The reflections put forward, the fruit of the Synodal dialogue that took place in great freedom and a spirit of reciprocal listening, are intended to raise questions and indicate perspectives that will have to be matured and made clearer by the reflection of the local Churches in the year that separates us from the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of bishops planned for October 2015.”

So, what does all of that mean? Cardinal Tagle perhaps said it best when he said at Monday’s press briefing, with a smile, “The drama continues.”

The relatio reaffirms at several points that marriage is between a man and a woman. Substance on that point is not changing. The Vatican has been repeatedly clear that this Synod will bring no changes to doctrine, or even a final document with new rites. To “welcome gays” does not mean the Church is no longer equating “gay” with “sin.”

Vox Wrote:Sigh. As to that last line, see above. SO annoying!

Instead, tone—as it has always been with the Francis papacy—is what is on the table. The style that Pope Francis lives is one that starts with a spirit of embrace, of mercy, and not with sin. It begins with figuring out at what points embrace is possible before determining the points at which it is not. That may be one reason why people like top Vatican watcher John Thavis are calling this mid-synod report “an earthquake.”

But it is also important to remember that the Synod on the Family is almost a two-year-long process, and this snapshot is just that, a snapshot of one week in that process. There will be more such snapshot documents in the coming months. The conversation started earlier this year when bishops around the world surveyed their congregations about family life, it kicked off more formally last week with the gathering in Rome, next the bishops will take the conversations back to their communities, next summer there’s the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (a traditionally conservative American diocese), and then finally next fall there will be the second Synod with even more bishops from around the world with even more discussion.

Looking for revolution can be misleading. It can mar the actual story of what is and what is not happening. Casual Vatican observers—especially those in the United States, where conversations about sexuality have a different trajectory than in the Vatican or in many developing countries—should be careful to not read into the conversation what they want to hear. The interest in a relatio, a relatively obscure document, does however point to another shift: people actually care about what a group of bishops is doing.

That itself, for many, may be a revolution.

Vox Wrote:I reckon time will tell what the results of this synod will be. I just pray to God that it does nothing to violate traditional Catholic teaching, while also emphasizing the Love and Mercy of Christ.


Wow... it becomes clear just how warped is the World's view of the human person, free will, and moral action. You are right, Vox. This generation seriously needs to learn the difference between Church Teaching and Churchmens' Opinions.
Why is it that Catholicism has to be the thing that has to change?
(10-14-2014, 08:15 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ][quote='Vox']

Minus the use of the word "valuing" with regard to their sexual orientations -- which is akin to saying "valuing" bipolar disorder -- no Catholic, IMO, should have any qualms with the above. "Valuing" should be replaced with "accepting" -- not in the sense of "accepting it as normal" or "accepting acting on those desires as non-sinful," but "accepting in the sense of acknowledging the disorder exists, causes suffering, is not chosen [emphasis mine], is about a lot more than just genital acts and the desire thereof, and that the people with that disorder need to be loved and welcomed and led to Christ."

I agree with you  but "is not chosen" is as troubling for me as "valuing" is.  Perhaps "may not be chosen" would be better.
(10-14-2014, 03:05 PM)Beware_the_Ides Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-14-2014, 08:15 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]Minus the use of the word "valuing" with regard to their sexual orientations -- which is akin to saying "valuing" bipolar disorder -- no Catholic, IMO, should have any qualms with the above. "Valuing" should be replaced with "accepting" -- not in the sense of "accepting it as normal" or "accepting acting on those desires as non-sinful," but "accepting in the sense of acknowledging the disorder exists, causes suffering, is not chosen [emphasis mine], is about a lot more than just genital acts and the desire thereof, and that the people with that disorder need to be loved and welcomed and led to Christ."

I agree with you  but "is not chosen" is as troubling for me as "valuing" is.  Perhaps "may not be chosen" would be better.

What do you mean by "may" -- as in it's possible that it is chosen? I don't think it is. I also don't think there's a gay gene or anything. Homosexual acts can be chosen (some prison stories make that pretty clear), but a sole attraction to people of one's own sex - I don't see how it is a phenomenon arising from the will.

(10-14-2014, 12:12 PM)dark lancer Wrote: [ -> ]Why is it that Catholicism has to be the thing that has to change?

It's in the way.
(10-15-2014, 01:49 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-14-2014, 03:05 PM)Beware_the_Ides Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-14-2014, 08:15 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]Minus the use of the word "valuing" with regard to their sexual orientations -- which is akin to saying "valuing" bipolar disorder -- no Catholic, IMO, should have any qualms with the above. "Valuing" should be replaced with "accepting" -- not in the sense of "accepting it as normal" or "accepting acting on those desires as non-sinful," but "accepting in the sense of acknowledging the disorder exists, causes suffering, is not chosen [emphasis mine], is about a lot more than just genital acts and the desire thereof, and that the people with that disorder need to be loved and welcomed and led to Christ."

I agree with you  but "is not chosen" is as troubling for me as "valuing" is.  Perhaps "may not be chosen" would be better.

What do you mean by "may" -- as in it's possible that it is chosen? I don't think it is. I also don't think there's a gay gene or anything. Homosexual acts can be chosen (some prison stories make that pretty clear), but a sole attraction to people of one's own sex - I don't see how it is a phenomenon arising from the will.
The way you stated it to begin with makes it sound (to me) like you think there is a gay gene or that they are "born that way."  I think it may be more an act of the will in many cases than we might consider.  For example, to spite one's father/mother for not paying enough attention to them or some other illogical reason such as an act of rebellion/tyranny.  They may, willfully or not, be in denial of this and thus unable to turn back until they can conquer their pride (no pun intended).

I'm glad you made the distinction between acts and attraction (something I often forget to do); however, I'm not sure if I agree or disagree.  Let me try to explain why:  as a heterosexual, I can still look at a man and find certain things about him attractive (i.e., his hair, biceps, abs, beard, etc.), yet still not feel the slightest urge to have any sort of romantic/erotic contact with him.  I can also have the same experience when admiring an attractive female, but the resulting urges can often be much different depending on the circumstances. 

I certainly don't claim to have all the answers but I don't think you can say it is not [ever] chosen.
(10-17-2014, 11:56 PM)Beware_the_Ides Wrote: [ -> ]The way you stated it to begin with makes it sound (to me) like you think there is a gay gene or that they are "born that way."

No, I don't think there's a "gay gene," and I can't imagine how it would even be selected for. I do think there may well be a genetic component in that (using male homosexuals as an example) a boy child inherits an artistic sensitivity, or a body that doesn't do well with sports or what have you. Other boys mock him. His own father doesn't bond well with him, wishing, instead for a football hero for a son. So the boy isn't given the opportunity to come to identify with the masculine, with other men. In his struggle to do so, he eroticizes the masculine. I think that that's the most typical genesis of male homosexuality. They say there's a basic dynamic of a strong, sometimes domineering mother, a weak, abusive, or absent (physically or emotionally) father, and an artistic, non-sporty character in the male child in question. The boy didn't ask for an artistic, non-sporty personality; he was born with it. He also didn't ask for the parents and peers he got, either.

(10-17-2014, 11:56 PM)Beware_the_Ides Wrote: [ -> ]I think it may be more an act of the will in many cases than we might consider.  For example, to spite one's father/mother for not paying enough attention to them or some other illogical reason such as an act of rebellion/tyranny.  They may, willfully or not, be in denial of this and thus unable to turn back until they can conquer their pride (no pun intended).

If a person willfully engages in homosexual acts to spite the 'rents but is not attracted to the same sex, then that person is a heterosexual person engaging in homosexual acts to spite the 'rents. The orientation is what makes a person heterosexual or homosexual.

Some folks can go through the act of having sex with a person s/he's not attracted to, but what's in their heads as they do so is the key thing. Homosexuals who feel as if they have to hide who they are might use marriage as a cover, and might even get their wives pregnant, but they're undoubtedly thinking of homosexual sex during the act in order for there to be orgasm.  There are men in prison who are straight but who engage in homosexual acts inside prison, and never outside of prison. I imagine, I assume, they're thinking about some hot chick as they're doing that nasty deed.

Sexuality is more malleable (especially in females) than some people think, and it's possible that, for ex., someone who is straight and who engages in homosexual sex in prison might become truly bisexual, or maybe, even after time, homosexual. But such cases, if they exist at all, are undoubtedly rare. And some rare homosexuals can be cured of their homosexuality and become straight. I don't think it's typical, though.

(10-14-2014, 03:05 PM)Beware_the_Ides Wrote: [ -> ]I'm glad you made the distinction between acts and attraction (something I often forget to do); however, I'm not sure if I agree or disagree.  Let me try to explain why:  as a heterosexual, I can still look at a man and find certain things about him attractive (i.e., his hair, biceps, abs, beard, etc.), yet still not feel the slightest urge to have any sort of romantic/erotic contact with him.  I can also have the same experience when admiring an attractive female, but the resulting urges can often be much different depending on the circumstances. 

I certainly don't claim to have all the answers but I don't think you can say it is not [ever] chosen.

I think this is a semantics issue. We call people "attractive" even though we're not "sexually attracted" to them. I'm hetero and can say that Elizabeth Taylor is "attractive" without anyone taking it to mean I want to have sex with her (well, when she was alive, ha).  But, bottom line, people are either sexually and/or erotically oriented to the opposite or their own sex or not. When they are sexually and/or erotically oriented toward their own sex, we call them "homosexual" or "gay." Such people may or may not act on their sexual/erotic attractions. Or they may decide not to but fail once in a while. Our jobs as Christians is to love them no matter what, make sure they know Church teaching (and going about ensuring that in a sane, prudent, Catholic way), support them if they are striving for chastity, pray for them, and so forth.  We are NOT not to call them "sodomites" if we don't know what, if anything, they do in bed (and doubly-especially even if they're chaste), or do what someone in another thread did and say that their homosexuality is their own fault and a result of sin. That's just vile, ugly behavior. It isn't Catholic, and just won't be tolerated here.

Making the distinction between acts and attraction/orientation is KEY for any good Catholic talking about this stuff. That, right there, is where a LOT of the nastiness -- and confusion! -- comes from.