Another, Very Clever, Dubium is Launched
As this pontificate disintegrates into a heap of scandals — financial, moral and doctrinal — the faithful are reduced to petitioning Francis to clarify whether he actually believes what the Church teaches on basic questions of morality, as to which he speaks incessantly of “accompaniment” and “discernment” but never simply obedience to the divine commandments.
Now a new organization called the Coalition of Saint Athanasius (COSA) has published an Open Letter to Pope Francis concerning the Church’s teaching on homosexuality not unlike the dubia published by the four cardinals concerning Amoris Laetitia (Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner, of whom only Brandmüller and Burke are still alive).
The Letter, entitled “What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Homosexual Acts?” is cleverly subtitled “A Coalition of Catholic Media Defends LGBT Right to Know.” Thus does COSA aim the loaded term “LGBT” directly at a Pope who, as CNN notes, speaks matter-of-factly of “gay persons” as if God had created such a category of humanity. The people whom the Pope benignly identifies as “gay” do indeed have a right to know what even CNN wants to know: “What does the Pope really think about homosexuality?”
Accordingly, the Letter poses these questions to Francis:
- Do you, Pope Francis, believe that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity,” as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches?
- Do you, Pope Francis, believe that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches?
- Do you, Pope Francis, believe that homosexual acts are “contrary to natural law,” as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches?
- Do you, Pope Francis, believe that homosexual acts can “under no circumstances be approved,” as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches?
As the Letter rightly observes, under the new regime ushered in by Amoris Laetitia, we the laity “find ourselves upholding doctrines that no longer seem of consequence even to our shepherds, confessing sins our confessors tell us are sins no longer, and observing prohibitions of the moral law our co-religionists insist a Merciful God would never enforce.”
Mortal sins, the Letter continues, “today are so seldom warned against from the pulpit as to be understandably forgotten in the pew.” Sodomy in particular is one of the “peccata clamantia… considered so terrible in the eyes of God as to cry to Heaven for vengeance.” Yet today “that same sin has lost its social and moral stigma to such an extent that ‘rainbow Masses’ are commonplace and the Catholic priesthood itself has been labeled a ‘gay profession.’”
Meanwhile, under Francis, the “Mother Church [that] did not hesitate to rescue her children, today … professes a preference to accompany them. But to where?”
To where indeed? The authors of the Letter query Francis on how a refusal to tell people afflicted by homosexuality the truth about their intrinsic disorder and the eternal consequences of acting in accordance with it “does not constitute a merciless injustice to the LBGT community which, by the way, never cease quoting your own words on their behalf: Who am I to judge?”
COSA, therefore, seeks an answer to the basic objection this pontificate and its novelties have brought to the fore — with no answer yet from the very author of those novelties: “If even the most grievous of sins can become non-sins merely with the passage of time and change in human attitudes, then ultimately what happens to the very idea of sin, the Ten Commandments of God, the theology of heaven and hell, the particular and general judgments? If there is no sin then what is the point of practicing virtue or frequenting the Sacraments?”
The rest of the Letter merits a careful reading, but its essence is this: Instead of leading them on with coy rhetoric, Francis the Vicar of Christ has a duty — a paramount duty — to tell people afflicted by the homosexual condition the truth they need to know for the salvation of their souls: “All men and women on earth — but especially those who identify as homosexual — have a right before God to know the truth. They await your answer, as do we. Please hear us and be assured of our continued prayers for the healing and unity of Christ’s suffering Church.”
Francis will, of course, decline to answer. He will ignore COSA’s appeal just as he ignored the four dubiacardinals. The authors of the Letter know this. But the Letter is more than just a vain provocation. Francis’ silence will be another warning to all who have not yet awakened to the reality that Philip Lawler has courageously admitted: “the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith…”
Yes, COSA’s appeal to an “LGBT Right to Know” is clever, perhaps even cunning. But here the authors are only following the counsel of Scripture in responding to a threat to the cause of the Gospel: “Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)