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Prince of the church: Catechism wrong on LGBTQ doctrines

ON RELIGION By Terry Mattingly

It isn’t every day that a prince of the Roman Catholic Church, and a strategic Jesuit ally of the pope, openly rejects centuries of Christian teachings that clash with core doctrines of the Sexual Revolution.

“The Church’s
positions on homosexual relationships as sinful
are wrong,” said Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg in a recent interview with KDA, a German Catholic news agency. “I believe that
the sociological and scientific foundation of this doctrine is no longer correct. It is time for a fundamental revision of Church teaching, and
the way in which Pope Francis has spoken of homosexuality could lead to a change in doctrine. …

“In our archdiocese, in

Luxembourg, no one is fired for being homosexual, or divorced and remarried. I can’t toss them out
— they would become unemployed, and how can such a thing be Christian? As for homosexual priests, there are many of these, and it would be good if they could talk about this with their bishop without his condemning them.”

The latest unorthodox proclamations by Cardinal Hollerich commanded attention because he leads the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, and is also the pope’s choice for “relator general” for

the October 2023 global Synod of Bishops, where he will help shape its work to weigh the church’s future.

“This Cardinal seems to be claiming a private revelation which is

contrary to scripture & the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” tweeted Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, an outspoken conservative. “Any private revelation that contradicts public revelation must

be condemned.” However, the recent

“Synodal Way” meetings of German Catholic leaders voted to approve draft texts that affirmed some of Cardinal Hollerich’s beliefs, including overwhelming approval

for a document entitled “Blessing celebrations
for couples who love
each other.” Support
was just as strong for a “Magisterial reassessment of homosexuality” text stating that official church teachings on chastity

and homosexuality “should be revised.”

The Catechism of the

Catholic Church states that persons experiencing same-sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” However, citing Scripture and church tradition, it also teaches, “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and thus “contrary to
the natural law. … Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The crucial question: Was Cardinal Hollerich attempting to steer Pope Francis toward change, or airing views he already knew had support
inside the Vatican?

Pope Francis has, as recently as last year, affirmed the Catechism on these issues — signing a Vatican decree barring

priests from blessing same-sex unions, since they are “not ordered to the Creator’s plan” and God “cannot bless sin.”

The pope also released a letter this past December praising 50 years of
work by Sister Jeannine Gramick, a leader in ministries seeking change on behalf of LGBTQ Catholics. In 1999, Pope John Paul II had signed

a statement by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — the future Pope Benedict XVI — prohibiting Gramick and her New Ways Ministry co-worker, the late Father Robert Nugent, from all “pastoral work involving homosexual persons.”

But Pope Francis praised Gramick for her 50 years of ministry conducted in the “style of God,” offering “closeness, compassion and tenderness”

while “suffering”
with others without “condemning anyone.”

Now, Cardinal Hollerich has openly called for
the kinds of doctrinal changes that Catholic progressives have been seeking for decades.

“We must change
our way of considering sexuality. Until today we have had a rather repressed view of it,” he said in another recent interview
— this time with La Croix,
a Catholic newspaper in France. “This is clearly not a matter of telling people they can do anything or of abolishing morality, but
I believe we have to say
that sexuality is a gift from God. We know this, but do we say it? I’m not sure.”

The upcoming Synod of Bishops, he stressed, is the time for flexibility on tough issues.

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