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Interim Report of Synod Raises Hysteria Threat Level to Imminent

© Antoine Mekary / Aleteia

Susan E. Wills - published on 10/14/14

The reception of Communion by divorced and remarried individuals is mentioned in the interim report as a topic open for discussion (a point that deserves far more treatment than there is space for here).

The final two topics generated the most confusion and controversy: “Welcoming homosexual persons” and contraception.

Common decency demands that we respect the inherent good in every person including those with same sex attraction. Father Paul Check, executive director of Courage International, wrote this in an article published last week:

To love people with same-sex attractions is to love them for their God-given and Christ-redeemed dignity. They are not less than any of the Father’s children. Like everyone, they deserve more than sentimentality. They deserve compassion … compassion founded on the truth of their humanity.

And he explained:

To welcome people into the Church, into our homes, into conversation … to “accept them” in an authentic Christ-like way would never call for a compromise of the truth, i.e., to say to someone in some form, “Well, that’s the best you can do.”  At the same time, we can only share the truth if we first share a relationship with someone, and that takes time and trust to develop.

If this is what the Synod means to say in the paragraph quoted below, all well and good. But asking if our communities are capable of “valuing their sexual orientation” seems to require a rather different level of acceptance. The report states:

Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?  … Are our communities capable of … accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

It states that “the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given a priority,” yet the social science research is clear that no one is giving any priority to the rights of children being raised by same sex couples.

In discussing the essential feature of openness to new life within marriage, and affirming the teaching of Humanae Vitae, the interim report seems to contradict this point by referring to “the need to respect the dignity of the person in the moral evaluation of the methods of birth control.” Certainly, a couple has the responsibility in good conscience and for serious reasons to postpone or limit the number of children they bear, through periodic abstinence. But the phrase “the moral evaluation of the methods of birth control” suggests something entirely different, a capitulation to the contraceptive mentality. We can only hope that the final report will offer greater clarity and adherence to the truths of our faith.

Susan E. Wills
is spirituality editor of Aleteia’s English-language edition.

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