Thursday 14 July 2011

Archbishop Nichols' pastoral centre to host conference for dissenting Catholic gays

Next week Quest, "a group of lesbian and gay Catholics", will be holding its annual conference. The conference venue is the All Saints' Pastoral Centre at London Colney. The centre is both owned by, and part of, the Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster, headed currently by Archbishop Vincent Nichols. Quest's website gives a clear indication of how Quest and those commentators who support it dissent defiantly from Catholic teaching on sexual ethics*:
  • "[H]omosexual sex is not an incomplete or less perfect expression of human sexuality ... I also want to affirm that I regard heterosexual and homosexual sex as having the same potential and value ... I disagree fundamentally with Church teaching on this issue." [link]
  • "[T]he teaching of the Vatican incompatible with the Gospel" [link]
  • "Quest, an association for lesbian and gay Catholics, welcomes in general the government's proposals to provide for legal recognition of same-sex partnerships." [link]
Archbishop Nichols has a clear duty to cancel the Quest conference. Here are the clear instructions of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a 1986 letter to all the world's bishops regarding homosexuals [my emphasis in bold]:
“All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous”.
Will Archbishop Nichols once again fail to uphold Catholic pro-life and pro-family teaching, or will he surprise us with a new-found fidelity?

*Why is the Catholic Church's teaching on sexual ethics important specifically for the pro-life movement? The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in no. 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection. 

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