Nate Jackson / February 22, 2019

Catholic Church Leaders, Homosexuals, and Abuse

Pope Francis is leading a four-day summit on protecting minors from predatory priests.

The Bible is clear: Homosexual behavior is wrong and a sin. It’s not an acceptable alternative lifestyle, let alone a practice in which to take pride or a choice that others must celebrate. From the Old Testament to the New, Biblical writers call it an “abomination” and “dishonorable,” listing it among the sins that will keep its practitioners from inheriting the Kingdom of God.

To be fair, sometimes conservative Christians elevate homosexuality as a particular bogeyman because they’d rather not deal with their own idolatry, greed, adultery, or other sinfulness. Homosexuality is not the cause of the epidemic of broken man-woman marriages in Christendom, for example. Neither is it beyond the reach of redemptive grace. Yet unlike many other sins, homosexuality is also a sin of disorder. It’s not too much of a good thing; it’s a perversion of what God created — something the Apostle Paul calls “contrary to nature.”

Nevertheless, liberal Christians have handled the issue by declaring that the Bible doesn’t actually say what it says, or that Scripture’s prohibition is now culturally irrelevant. In any case, our culture’s brazen embrace and outright promotion of gender disorientation presents particular challenges for Christians.

One of those manifestations is that the Catholic Church has for decades struggled to come to grips with the sin of sexual abuse among its clergy. Unfortunately, many Catholic leaders flatly reject the notion that this is a homosexual problem. “Anyone who tries to make the argument that homosexuality is a root cause does so against all the research that has been out there,” insisted Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago. The Washington Post claims research shows no connection between sexuality and abuse.

Yet the empirical evidence is crystal clear: This abuse is disproportionately perpetrated by men upon boys.

Pope Francis, who in December said homosexuals should “leave the priesthood,” is leading a four-day summit to address the problem of sexual abuse. “Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice,” and “transform this evil into a chance for understanding and purification,” Francis declared. “The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established.”

Francis’s newfound zeal for stopping and punishing this abuse is welcome, though it remains to be seen what concrete actions will result from this summit. That depends on the effectiveness of his 21-point plan.

Regarding the prevalence of homosexual priests, the Catholic Church must come to grips with how it hates the sin but loves the sinner. Perhaps those tempted by homosexual desires are drawn to the priesthood because they hope the ordered celibacy will provide needed guardrails. If so, it’s evidently a yoke too heavy for some to bear, and rather than finding grace and healing, they’re finding rules and restraints they can’t abide. Perhaps others are drawn to the dirty little secret — what some cardinals fear is a cabal of homosexuals bent on advancing an agenda.

The truth is in there somewhere, and we hope the pope and other Catholic leaders can deal with it honestly and forthrightly.

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