Here’s a real pastoral question to consider: What place is there for the adulterous person in the Catholic church? With the warning from the archdiocese of Washington, D.C., that it would pull out of social services in the city rather than accede to a bill that would afford benefits to adulterers, a question, too long neglected, arises for the whole church: What is a adulterous Catholic supposed to do in life?
Imagine you are a devout Catholic who is also an adulterer. Here is a list of the things that you are not to do, according to the teaching of the church. (Remember that most other Catholics can choose among many of these options.) None of this should be new or in any way surprising. If you are adulterous, you cannot:
1) Love. You can not have fulfilling love with one or more adulterous partners. From their earliest adolescence many, anticipate, dream about, hope for, plan about, talk about and pray for having sex with multiple partners. A lifelong abstinence from sex with people other than your spouse and a call to be chaste within your married life.
2.) Marry. The church has been clear, especially of late, in its opposition to divorce and remarriage. Of course, you can not marry your adulterous partner within the church. Nor can you enter into any sort of civil, oppisite-sex unions of any kind. They are beyond the pale. This should be clear to any Catholic. The Catechism even claims: ” Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery”
3.) Adopt a child. Despite the church’s warm approval of adoption, you cannot adopt a needy child. You can not leave your family to start a new family with another person despite how needy the child.
4.) Enter a seminary. If you accept the church’s teaching on chastity for married, and feel a call to enter a seminary or religious order, you cannot–even if you desire the celibate life. In fact no only does the Church deny the priesthood to adulterous males, it extends the ban even to married men who are not part of the adulterous lifestyle.
5.) Work for the church and be open. If you work for the church in any sort of official capacity it is close to impossible to be open about your adulterous lifestyle. You can not brag about your sexual conquests among your co-workers. Laypeople have even been fired as principles of Catholic schools and other positions for having adulterous affairs.
At the same time, if you are a devout Catholic who is attentive both to church teachings and the public pronouncements of church leaders, you will be reminded that your actions are a “grave offense against the natural law” and “a deviation from God plan for marriage.”
Nothing above is surprising or controversial: all of the above are church teaching. But taken together, it raises an important pastoral question for all of us: What kind of life remains for these brothers and sisters in Christ, those who wish to follow the teachings of the church? Officially at least, the adulterous Catholic seems set up to lead a secretive life. Is this what God desires for the adulterous person?
Except for my obvious substitutions this is pretty much Father James Martin S.J. article “What Should a Gay Catholic Do?” This was a parody on his post which in turn was a parody on Church teaching.
This bit of propaganda tries to make pastoral issues trump the fact that homosexual acts are indeed intrinsically disordered. It totally leaves out “Go and sin no more” and the universal call for holiness. Certainly same-sex attraction is a very heavy cross, but we must all pick up the cross daily if we are to grow in holiness as we grow closer to Christ. As sinners we certainly do not need priests making excuses for our sins. It is not an act of charity in anyway to make the Church teaching on God’s plan for sex only between a husband and wife to seem like a sequence of negatives.
Fr. Martin has pounded only on negatives and makes no mention of what our brothers and sisters in Christ with same sex attraction can do. No mention of Courage and other Catholic apostolates to help people with same-sex attraction. Plus while father mentioned that those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies can no enter the seminary, it also certainly is not true that all people with some level of same-sex attraction fit that category. There is a lot in our culture that confuses people on the most basic of things making them think that if they have some level of same-sex attraction that they must give in to it. Fr. Martin does not mention that we are all called to chastity. Those that are not married must be celibate. The person who has attraction to the opposite sex must be just as chaste as those who have attraction to the same sex.
No doubt Fr. Martin writes this with the best of intentions. But undermining Church teaching to excuse sin is simply evil. That marriage is only between a man and a women and is indissoluble is part of God’s plan. To say otherwise is to oppose God.
It is also rather ridiculous to frame those who actively live the homosexual lifestyle as being a devout Catholic. I am not speaking of those with same-sex attraction who do not fall into sin. An active fornicator or adulterer is not a devout Catholic, they are a Catholic who has fallen and needs to repent and confess their sins. What Fr. Martin has written will help no one who currently follow the homosexual lifestyle to repent. He ends up preaching Christ without the Cross and does a disservice to those suffering. I wonder if he has ever been to a Courage meeting and if he would describe those attending as leading a lonely, loveless, secretive life? One of the priests of my parish runs the local Courage apostolate and he is doing more for our brothers and sisters in Christ than anybody who makes excuses for sin.
I don’t write this as an attack on Fr. Martin, I am a fan of his book “My Life with the Saints” and some of what he has written. But of course he identified himself in the progressive camp in the New York Times and this bit of homosexual agitprop just further shows this.
There is also the story of the former “gay” youth leader with a dramatic conversion story. When he announced this two years ago there was such a negative outcry from those he knew that he went silent for two years. Yes the irony was that they wanted him to return to the closet about this.
Since then he says he has “relied on God, and God alone.” “I have enjoyed living a relatively ‘normal’ life,” he said. “I go to church. I’ve dated girls. And, I continue to understand the ramifications of the homosexual sin in increasingly deep ways, as I encounter others in the grip of this sin, learn more about human nature, and watch my own experiences – comparing them to the way I might’ve responded or acted in certain situations just a few years ago.”