|Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, "On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons" (1986)|
At his wonderful Hepzibah site, my friend Alan McCornick responds con brio to my comments earlier today about Ratzinger's 1986 Hallowe'en letter on the "pastoral care" of "homosexual persons":
The church is behind such notions as the “white man’s burden” no longer. Racism is out. Sexism is still there, but at least they’re embarrassed by it and are making a feeble attempt to make us believe there is nothing sexist about claiming that only men – and not women – are authorized by God to turn bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ. But they’re still not making the slightest effort to hide the church as a major source of homophobia.
Alan ends by noting that there are Catholics who continue working within Homophobia Central (aka the magisterial Catholic church) to return the church to the gospels and to combat the rabid homophobia that has dominated the outlook and behavior of too many Catholic leaders in recent decades. And he also suggests that these Catholics take some hope from what they see as a shifting of the Catholic conversation by Pope Francis.
Interestingly enough, Joshua McElwee is reporting at National Catholic Reporter today that the Vatican's Synod of Bishops has asked bishops' conferences around the world to conduct a poll of Catholic layfolks to ascertain what Catholics think about church teachings re: contraception, same-sex marriage, and divorce. But as McElwee also states, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has chosen to interpret this Vatican directive as a mandate to poll bishops and not the laity about these issues.
I suspect the reason for this baffling decision is clear: the U.S. Catholic bishops know full well what the Catholic people think about these issues. And they don't want an official, church-generated record of those views.
Life's so much easier for them when they occupy an echo chamber in which the only voices they hear are their own, as the "evangelize" the rest of us and "engage" the culture from within their echo chamber, is it not? Emphasis on not.