For any Catholic marginally aware of what the Church teaches (from sources other than the mainstream media) it comes as a huge surprise to hear anyone claiming that the Church is "anti-gay" or condemns same sex attraction (SSA). But there was New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan in a press conference Friday night in “Blue Bloods” – the most affirmingly-Catholic, high-quality weekly drama in memory – and he muffs his response to an obnoxious reporter.
The context: A highly-decorated, off-duty detective, who was a closeted homosexual, intervened to stop an attack on a young man outside a New York City gay bar by two men armed with baseball bats and shouting homophobic slurs. Reporters were quizzing the Commissioner about the rumor that the heroic off-duty cop was a closeted homosexual. The exchange went like this:
Reporter: The Catholic Church condemns homosexuality as a sin and the Commissioner is famously Catholic. How do you line up your anti-gay faith with your role as an equal-opportunity employer?
Reagan (Tom Selleck): What my men and women do in private is their own business.
Reporter: So you only condemn homosexuality on a Sunday?
Reagan: Well, I do believe that the Church is a little behind the times on this, but then I still miss the Latin Mass.
From the standpoint of employment law, Commissioner Reagan cannot care about the sexual orientation of his employees. But, he failed to correct the reporter’s idiotic assumption and to defend the Church’s teaching. He soon realized that he’d goofed and was quite willing to issue an apology or retraction or explanation of sorts (especially after a visit from His Excellency the Archbishop, a long-time friend), but in the end, Frank Reagan couldn’t find a way to express or to reconcile his allegiance to Church teaching and his allegiance to his force of 35,000 men and women, some of whom were likely to be gay or lesbian.
A great opportunity to evangelize and he swung and missed.
Yet the writers are skilled at having Reagan family members resolve their moral dilemmas in a way consistent with the faith by finding the right mix of justice and mercy. Characters even apologize and go to Confession when they’ve messed up. Four generations of Reagans attend Sunday Mass and then have Sunday dinner together, saying grace before the meal. So why couldn’t they have the Commissioner say something like this:
While the Church teaches that homosexual acts are disordered, persons “who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies … must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC, nos 2357-2358).
Last week in an article he wrote for Aleteia, Father Paul Check, Executive Director of Courage International, addressed this point clearly and sensitively:
Our fallen nature can be especially vulnerable to many forms of unchastity: masturbation, fornication, contraception, adultery, pornography … and homosexual activity. Each of these actions falls outside the limits of the humanity of which God is the author. If we fail to lead people away from any of these sins, we fail first in truth and then in compassion. …
Thursday, LifeSite News interviewed Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, concerning the “model of evangelization” offered by Dr. and Mrs. Pirola, auditors from Australia (discussed in this Aleteia article). The Pirolas stated:
Cardinal Burke rejected the idea of “welcoming” of the partner into the family to edify the grandchildren, saying:
And so, families have to find a way to stay close to a child in this situation — to a son or grandson, or whatever it may be — in order to try to draw the person away from a relationship which is disordered.
And we know that with time, these relationships leave the person profoundly unhappy. And so it’s important to stay [as] close as one can. But, that particular form of relationship should not be imposed upon family members, and especially upon impressionable children. And I urge parents or grandparents — whoever it may be — to be very, very prudent in this matter and not to scandalize their children or grandchildren.
Those people [who] are living in that way certainly cannot have any leadership role in the parish, because it would give the impression to parishioners that the way they are living is perfectly alright. Because, [when] we lead in a parish, in a certain way, we are giving witness to a coherent Catholic life. And people who are not coherent with their Catholic faith aren’t given leadership roles.
is spirituality editor of Aleteia’s English-language edition