"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.