Tablet attacks Rome. Pope Catholic. Bears etc.

In the midst of perhaps the most significant crisis in relations between the Catholic Church and the British Government in the past 100 years, the Tablet has, true to form, attacked the teaching of the Church on the central issue.

Its leader "Need for Compromise" refers to the document regarding homosexual civil unions issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2003 and signed by Cardinal Ratzinger as "ill-judged" and speaks of "the intemperate language of Rome."

Part of the argument runs as follows:
The Catholic Catechism says that Scripture describes homosexual acts as "grave depravity". This is far removed from the temper of the times, and probably no longer even reflects what a majority of practising Catholics believe about homosexuals. Many of them have gay friends and gay relatives; Catholic mothers have gay sons. Some of the most devout are gay themselves.
I am trying hard to imagine what it would be like to belong to a Church that tried to follow the "temper of the times" as perceived in a highly secularised country in the affluent West. The assertion about the "majority of practising Catholics" is, of course, dubious in the extreme. Those Catholics who practise their faith tend to do so because they believe the teaching of the Church. If they don't, there are plenty of alternative denominations, faiths and "philosophies".

Many of us, of course do have gay friends and relatives. I also have friends and relatives who are Muslims, members of the Socialist Worker Party, and the Freemasons - it doesn't make me the least bit embarrassed or offended by the Church's teaching as it applies to them and am happy for any chance to engage in a "frank and open exchange of views." Knowing me to be Catholic, they tend not to be overly surprised or upset to find that I believe the teaching of the Church in which I publicly profess my faith.

The leader makes the interesting point that if all homosexual acts are depraved, it would not be licit to refer homosexual couples to other agencies. They attempt to enlist the Cardinal onside by saying that "the implication is" that he does not believe in using this argument. As readers of this blog have pointed out, there is no small evidence to support this implication. A change of emphasis would be wise at this stage. Given the Cabinet's determination to rub the Church's nose in it, there seems little point in accepting any legal requirement to refer or "sign-post." It was always a questionable practice when done voluntarily.

The final paragraph has a classic Tablet attack on Rome and, by implication, Pope Benedict:
The higher up the hierarchical ladder of the Church one goes, the less responsive it is to movements in grass roots opinion.
(Those particular grass roots flourish especially in the manicured lawns of our leafier suburbs.) The article concludes by encouraging the Catholic Church in England and Wales to make more "progress" in the opposite direction from Rome.

In the same issue: "A love found wanting" by Martin Reynolds:
A gay Anglican priest, describes how he and his Catholic partner took on a child and why they wish to do so again.

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