Wednesday, November 01, 2006

USCCB draft document on gay ministries sends mixed messages

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the U.S. bishops doctrine committee, which wrote the new guidelines, says he doesn't know whether the document will pass muster when it is brought to a vote at the USCCB meeting in Baltimore Nov. 13-16. According to the New York Times article, "Bishops Draft Rules on Ministering to Gays" (Oct. 29, 2006), the draft will provide "no comfort to gay Catholics" by means of its typically Catholic distinctions. It claims, on the one hand, that homosexuality is “objectively disordered” -- that homosexual acts violate the natural law -- but, on the other hand, that the Church is not saying that homosexual people themselves are disordered or “rendered morally defective by this inclination.” This, of course, is merely Church teaching. But the draft says more:
The guidelines recommend baptizing the adopted children of same-sex couples, as long as the children will be raised as Catholics. It says that gay people may benefit from revealing their “tendencies” to friends, family and their priest, but should not make “general public announcements” about it in the parish.

The guidelines also say that gay men and lesbians have “no moral obligation to attempt” therapy, an apparent reference to therapy programs that claim to change gay people’s sexual orientation. It says that while “some have found therapy helpful,” there is “no scientific consensus” either on therapy or the causes of homosexuality.
Predictably, "gay Catholic leaders" who had read the draft predict that it would only further alienate gays and their families from the church. Hell hath no fury like that of a gay lobby confronted by a Church who says thus far, but no further. Dale Vree's assessment here, if you remember what he's been saying in his New Oxford Notes, is dead-on.

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