MARTIN BURGER reports for LifeSiteNews — The Austrian diocese of Graz-Seckau is hosting an event on March 14 promoting homosexuality. On the official website of the diocese, the event, “Sexualities 2020: fact check,” is being advertised by showing the naked upper body of one man embracing the naked upper body of another from behind.
“Sexuality is important. And sometimes complicated,” the diocese states about the event on its website. “Knowledge, attitudes, conventions, and experiences in this area are subject to major changes. In order to be able to accompany and support people in the Church context well, it is helpful to comprehend what various scientific disciplines are currently saying on these topics.”
Alexander Tschugguel, the Austrian founder of the St. Boniface Institute, countered that “human nature doesn’t ever change.” Things like attitudes and experiences are subjective, he told LifeSiteNews, “and as such have nothing to do with objective truth.”
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, homosexual acts are gravely sinful.
“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,” the Catechism explains.
The website of the diocese of Graz-Seckau states that participants in the event will focus on what the insights of medicine, psychology, and moral theology mean “for concrete work in pastoral fields like pastoral care, liturgy, and education.”
Tschugguel demonstrated the absurdity of such efforts by suggesting that one imagine that the Church had adopted the “insights” of the Roman Empire — for instance, the gladiatorial games — or the “insights” of the Third Reich and communism.
Fr. Gero Weishaupt, a professor of canon law in Austria and the Netherlands, spoke of a “scandalous event, whose demands do not correspond to the moral teaching on the Church.”
He told LifeSiteNews that Catholics have the right to point this out to the bishop. If the bishop does not remove the scandal, they can get in touch with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Bishops.
Scandal is defined by the catechism as “an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.”
Alexander Tschugguel said various diocesan organizations in Austria focus on homosexuality. They are called DAHOP and are some sort of a diocesan task force, supposedly focusing on pastoral care for homosexuals.
In the diocese of Linz, DAHOP is hosting an event on March 20 called “And God saw that it was good: Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay people in the Church.”
According to the invitation, “The Good News, whose core is love, does not distinguish people according to their sexual orientation!”
“‘You are beloved children of God!’ and ‘It’s good the way you are!’ is also and especially a message of the Catholic Church!” the website of the retreat center continues.
Tschugguel demanded clarity from the bishops. “We don’t want them to mislead the people,” he said.
“People who have to live with those challenges don’t have an easy life, in many ways,” Tschugguel explained. “The duty of the Church is essential — namely, to bring them the truth, leading them to health of soul.”
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger published a letter, approved by Pope John Paul II, “on the pastoral care of homosexual persons” in 1986, when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In his letter, he pointed out that confusion has been caused by a false understanding of the Bible. This false exegesis “claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. These views are gravely erroneous.”
Ratzinger clarified that a homosexual act “is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living.”
While homosexuals can be “generous and giving of themselves,” he said, “when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.”
Already in 1986, Ratzinger identified an “enormous pressure,” even within the Church, to change the teaching on homosexuality.
“The Church’s ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view,” he cautioned.
Directly focusing on pastoral care for people with same-sex attraction, Ratzinger said they are called “to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross.”
“That Cross, for the believer, is a fruitful sacrifice since from that death come life and redemption. While any call to carry the cross or to understand a Christian’s suffering in this way will predictably be met with bitter ridicule by some, it should be remembered that this is the way to eternal life for all who follow Christ.”
Ratzinger encouraged bishops to provide true pastoral care to homosexuals.
“No authentic pastoral program will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin,” he said.