ROME — Pro-LGBT Jesuit Father James Martin rushed to the defense of German Cardinal Reinhard Marx Saturday, after the latter proposed changing Catholic teaching on the morality of gay sex.
After Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, admonished Cardinal Marx, calling for his resignation, Father Martin suggested that Cardinal Marx had not contradicted Catholic belief in any significant way.
“Bishop Strickland of Tyler, Texas, says that Cardinal Reinhard Marx, former chairman of the German Bishops Conference has ‘left the Catholic faith,’ not for denying the Trinity or the Incarnation, but for saying that the church needs to rethink its position on homosexuality,” Father Martin declared on Twitter Saturday morning.
In his statement, Father Martin seems to imply that only a rejection of established Catholic teaching on doctrinal matters — and not morals — constitutes a serious departure from Church teaching.
Cardinal Marx’s proposal that the Church can simply reverse its millennial, biblically based teaching on the immorality of sodomy is, however, a bridge too far, as a helpful April 1 explainer in The Pillar points out.
Within “the context of the cardinal’s remarks — his hopes to see the Church effectively upend its entire understanding of human sexuality, natural law, and revealed divine truth in the Scriptures — the wording might change, but the doctrinal teaching of the Church cannot reverse itself,” The Pillar declares, in reference to the cardinal’s proposal to change the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Pillar explains further:
Stating that the Church has the power to declare, for example, homosexual acts — or other sexual acts outside of marriage — to be healthy expressions of human love, and advocating that the Church do so, runs contrary to what the Church says it proclaims “based not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant Biblical testimony.”
As Australian Cardinal George Pell said recently in regard to similar proposals by the German bishops to adopt a more permissive approach to gay sex, the Catholic Church cannot simply choose to reverse its moral beliefs, because such a position represents a “wholesale and explicit rejection of the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexual ethics.”
“Not one of the Ten Commandments is optional; all are there to be followed, and by sinners,” Cardinal Pell said in his statement. “We cannot have a special Australian or German version of the Ten Commandments.”
Pell continued, “This erroneous teaching not only rejects the ancient Judaeo-Christian doctrines against homosexual activity, but undermines and rejects the teaching on monogamous marriage, the exclusive union of a man and a woman.”
For its part, the Catholic Church teaches that same-sex attraction “is objectively disordered” and that homosexual acts are immoral.
“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’” states the Catholic Catechism, adding that under no circumstances “can they be approved.”