Friday, 19 February 2016

Answering Krzystof Charamsa

Who is he?

A priest who is not just same sex attracted but confesses to being in a (presumably) sodomitic relationship.

What happened? He got fired (I haven't read all the details, normally he should be defrocked, but what interests me is what he said).

And, what did he say?

I want the Church and my community to know who I am: a gay priest who is happy, and proud of his identity. I’m prepared to pay the consequences, but it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realised that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman.

From: Catholic Vote : Vatican’s firing of gay priest puts “Who am I to Judge” to the test
Stephen White on October 3, 2015

And what is my answer. To his wanting people to know who or what he is, that is not my business. To his being proud, that is not my business. To his being willing to pay the consequences, that is not my business. This is not primarly said as fraternal correction to save his soul from sin and damnation, but as polemics, to save other souls from heterodoxy.

What I want to answer is this: "it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realised that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman."

And the answer is that the Church, as far as ordinary believers are concerned, with no vows of chastity, never HAS been that inhuman.

Or not to recently.

Montini of unhappy memory said something about homosexuals being "called to chastity". He did not put it as "called to some degree of chastity as anyone else", but as "called to chastity", which may very easily be interpreted as called to celibacy and sexual abstinence.

No, a person who is same sex attracted traditionally has a choice whether he thinks abstinence or doing it with a person of the opposite sex the worse chore. Traditionally he or she has a choice whether to prefer his lack of spontaneous attraction of sexual nature to someone of opposite sex or to prefer his lack of willingness to be alone and abstinent.

Also, abstinent does not always mean alone.

However, if a gay man, self identified or rumoured by others as being in the closet says he doesn't want to be alone, as long as he is not obliged to celibacy, he traditionally has and even now should have the choice whether to prefer a chaste friendship with someone his own sex or to prefer making a marriage with the opposite sex, i e with someone of it and therefore not having to be abstinent.

The rules for who can marry whom do not state "a heterosexual, not even slightly bisexual, man, with a heterosexual, not even slightly bisexual woman", they state "a man with a woman". There are conditions beyond that (man at least 14, woman at least 12, traditionally, neither bound by a valid previous marriage to a person still alive, neither having vowed finally celibacy, both [or neither] being baptised, both [or neither] being Catholics, both intending to do what the Church intends with marriage, viz. Genesis 1:28, Matthew 5:31-32, Ephesians 5:22-33, and to parent together as in Ephesians 6:1-4).

So, Krzystof Charamsa put the problem in entirely the wrong terms - unless the "Church" he belongs to differs from the Catholic Church which Christ founded, as its Tradition has been for two millennia. I believe it does, and that Montini of unhappy memory chose words that COULD be interpreted as the Church had always believed, but WOULD be interpreted by many as what Charamsa (if we take his words at face value) is complaining about.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre Univesity Library
Ember Friday of Lent

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