Shepherds showing Spine
Now, how ironic is this?
The US Bishops call for a pastoral approach to people with same-sex attraction that
1. welcomes them as the people they are
2. reminds them that homosexual activity--not feelings or inclinations--is sinful.
Take a look:
The statement, "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination," was adopted by a 194-37 vote, with one abstention, at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.And how to gay catholic groups react?
The bishops also overwhelmingly adopted separate statements encouraging Catholics to obey the church's widely ignored ban on artificial contraception, and directing parishioners to examine their consciences to decide if they are worthy of receiving Holy Communion.
Anyone who knowingly persists in sinful behavior, such as gay sex or using artificial birth control, should refrain from taking Communion, the bishops said.
"To be a Catholic is a challenge," said Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the bishops' doctrine committee. "To be a Catholic requires a certain choice."
Presenting the gay ministry document at the meeting, Serratelli acknowledged that gay and lesbian Catholics "have a difficult task in this world, but this task is necessary and good."
"The tone of the document is positive, pastoral and welcoming," Serratelli said. "Its starting point is the intrinsic human dignity of every person and God's love for every person."
The guidelines condemn discrimination against gays and say it's not a sin to be attracted to someone of the same sex - only to act on those feelings.
Francisco DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an independent outreach to Catholic gays that has run afoul of some church leaders, said the guidelines "do not reflect good science, good theology or human reality."The activists that share Mr. DeBernardo's view express the very perspective that they condemn the Bishops for holding. They have reduced the lives of people with same-sex attraction to their sexuality--particularly, their sexual activity.
"This document proposes that lesbian and gay people be viewed not in the entirety of their lives, but in one dimension only - the sexual dimension," DeBernardo said. "No other group in the church is singled out in this way."
We are more than who we sleep with and how we do that. We are people before we are people engaged in every activity. The quest to justify activity by defining one's personhood on its practice hopelessly distorts who we are.
The US Bishops have done the right thing by reminding the Church in America of that.
Update: Descending Tabor agrees!