The Tidings, newspaper of the Los Angles archdiocese, has apparently solved a riddle the Catechism of the Catholic Church leaves unanswered: the origins of homosexuality.
In the final paragraph of a March 11 story about the 25th anniversary of the founding of the archdiocesan Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics, ministry co-leader Arthur Fitzmaurice, citing “pain,” “hurt” and “bitterness” over the adoption of Proposition 8, says the ministry focuses on “the pastoral side that says 'God made you this way. You're welcome to participate in the Eucharist.'"
Contrast Fitzmaurice’s “God made you this way” with what the Catechism has to say about homosexuality: “Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
So, if Fitzmaurice is correct, God made some humans with impulses to commit acts of “grave moral depravity.” On the other hand, if the Catechism is correct, the unexplained “psychological genesis” of homosexuality, while suggesting some pathology, leaves open the possibility of redemption. As the Catechism says, “Homosexual persons are called to chastity.”
“This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial,” the Catechism explains. “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”
“By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection,” says the Catechism.
The goal of the Los Angeles archdiocese’s ministry to homosexuals, said the Tidings article, is “integration.” Fr. Chris Ponnet, chaplain to the Ministry to Lesbian and Gay Catholics, is quoted in the article as saying, “The more we can integrate gay and lesbian people within a parish structure, the better. More and more self-identified gays and lesbians I talk with, once they know that they can believe that God loves them, they feel much more comfortable going into their church. So I think integration is key.”
The Tidings quotes from the ministry’s mission statement: "MLGC takes its inspiration from the Gospel; is shaped by church teachings and pastoral practice; borrows appropriately from the insights of the social and biological sciences; and listens, ponders and prays over the lived experience of those it ministers to."
No mention of chastity, the depravity of homosexual acts or the Catechism’s call to self-mastery. Which leaves open the question: what are they pondering and praying about? What is the “lived experience of those it ministers to?”
Fitzmaurice puts it this way, according to the Tidings: “The goal is simply to get more people involved in their parishes. And a new emphasis is working with catechists, confirmation teachers and Catholic high school teachers to educate them on what church teachings really are concerning homosexual Catholics.”
"We're all called to full active participation in our church," Fitzmaurice told the Tidings. "But there's been a lot of pain, a lot of hurt and a lot of bitterness recently over Proposition 8 and the anti-gay marriage effort here in California. So we try to dialogue and explain how we have reconciled and share our own faith story.”