Monday, October 30, 2006

"Bishops Draft Rules on Ministering to Gays"

October 29th NYT's has an article on the new guidelines Roman Catholic bishops have drafted for ministering to gay people that "affirm church teaching against same-sex relationships, marriages and adoptions by gay couples, yet encourage parishes to reach out to gay Catholics who feel alienated by their church." The guidelines recommend baptizing the adopted children of same-sex couples "as long as the children will be raised as Catholics." The guidelines step back from encouraging gay men and lesbians to seek therapy by it's statement that "having a homosexual inclination is not itself a sin, homosexual sex is a sin- as are premarital sex and adultery. The answer in all these situations is chastity." While the article does some dancing back and forth, almost like a 'don't ask don't tell' sort of approach, it seems to attempt to approach homosexuality with "love the sinner but not the sin." "The bishops would like people with homosexual inclinations to really participate in the church, but they don't want to 'give scandal.' If you knew a heterosexual couple who were just cohabitating and not married, you wouldn't let them be eucharistic ministers either."
As I read this, I realized how tough it is to carry on a conversation with culture that excludes any notion of objective sin. Last night at our Bible study, we were reading Romans 2 and grappled with the fine line between legalistic judgementalism and an awareness of what sin is. I will be following my bishop friends with interest.


At 10:26 AM , Anonymous Gary Means said...

Donn, the subject of the Church's response to this issue is so difficult. Over the past few years I have had to face my own prejudice, but also weigh that against what I feel is clear scriptural teaching.

When the subject has come up in Bible studies I have shared the following line, which made people very uncomfortable: "I am really no different than a homosexual. That is, if you define homosexuality as just a lifestyle which embraces a particular sin, and where the consequences of that sin are broken relationship with God, and are sometimes physical in nature. My sin is gluttony. If I cannot look at a homosexual and see another human being behind the lifestyle and identity, then how can I expect anyone to look beyond my obesity? For me, the question really comes down to, 'What does God see, and how does He call me to respond?'"

At 6:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your attitude of the equivalency of sin is pressing. If all sins are the same, why do we engage in making a hierarchy? I think your logic is right. But you confess your sin of gluttony, I confess my sin of pride, anger and the like. I don't hear any language of confession in the gay community, but the plea for full acfceptance.


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