December 06, 2005

On the Vatican Document

As you can see, our blog day for the Vatican document on banning gay men from the seminary and the priesthood, which was scheduled for yesterday, has become a blog week. It's difficult to schedule these things.

I've said so much on the topic already, that I'm not sure I really have anything significant to add. So rather than restating what's already been said, I've decided to post links to entries posted elsewhere for our readers' convenience.

  • "Mindful of Him: Responding to the Vatican." Published with the Christian Alliance for Progress, this is a sermon for the First Sunday of Advent which also served as a stirring call to action for Catholics opposed to the discrimination of the new Vatican document. Alternatively, this same entry can be found here on my own blog.

  • I have thrice explained why the more lenient interpretation of the document seems to me to be incorrect: "The Vatican Document: A Clarification," "Clarifying the Vatican Document, Again," and "Shall We Dance."

  • Finally, in "Imagine," I pointed out that the part of the Church's teaching on homosexuality which condemns homosexuality as objectively disordered and homosexual affection as intrinsically evil is strictly enforced, whereas the latter half of the Church's teaching on homosexuality which upholds the dignity of homosexual persons and condemns unjust discrimination against us receives very little, if any, attention from either the Church's leadership or the lay faithful, especially the conservative lay faithful.

Do I have anything to add here? I do. I believe that we have a few readers who might be wondering, even if they don't voice their question, what this document has to do with social justice and political responsibility. Here is my answer: Tomorrow, we will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes. In that pastoral constitution, the bishops made a groundbreaking opening statement:

The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of human persons. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every person. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with humanity and its history by the deepest of bonds.

Hence this Second Vatican Council, having probed more profoundly into the mystery of the Church, now addresses itself without hesitation, not only to the sons and daughters of the Church and to all who invoke the name of Christ, but to the whole of humanity. For the council yearns to explain to everyone how it conceives of the presence and activity of the Church in the world of today.

Therefore, the council focuses its attention on the world of humanity, the whole human family along with the sum of those realities in the midst of which it lives; that world which is the theater of humanity's history, and the heir of its energies, its tragedies and its triumphs; that world which the Christian sees as created and sustained by its Maker's love, fallen indeed into the bondage of sin, yet emancipated now by Christ, Who was crucified and rose again to break the strangle hold of personified evil, so that the world might be fashioned anew according to God's design and reach its fulfillment (Gaudium et Spes, #1-2).

The Second Vatican Council revealed that the context in which the Church's teaching on social justice is to be received and lived is in solidarity with all human beings, no matter their fidelity to the Church's teaching authority. Inasmuch as the new Vatican document refuses to allow the Catholic Church to live in solidarity with gays and lesbians, it is another nail in the coffin for the Church's social teaching. How can we expect others to respect our social principles when we do not respect them? The hypocrisy of calling for solidarity with all human beings while refusing to live in solidarity with some human beings is a grave scandal, one which undermines the Church's mission to live as a reflection of Christ, Lumen Gentium, Light of the Nations.

Inasmuch as the Church still refuses to live in solidarity with some women and men, it still refuses to obediently listen to the Holy Spirit who spoke through the Council, and it still refuses to be what Christ created it to be. The entire mission of the Church, including its social mission, is undermined when the Church lives apart from any man or woman. If that is not relevant to Catholic social justice, I don't know what is.