ANALYSIS: Are Catholics shifting tone or substance on gay issues?

Print More
timothy dolan

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, celebrates Mass for other bishops at their summer meeting in Bellevue, Wash. (2011) RNS photo by Stephen Brashear.

Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content by logging-in here.

(RNS) Catholic leaders appear to be adopting a more positive tone, if not policies, on gays and lesbians. But the new rhetoric may also be an acknowledgment of the huge shift in the court of public opinion, and maybe soon at the Supreme Court.

  • Billysees

    Here’s just some of the gold standards of attitudes about how the whole world should think and treat all gays —

    1. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way…….Romans 14:13

    2. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God……Romans 15:7

    3. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love…….Ephesians 4:2

    4. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble…….1 Peter 3:8

  • This emerging shift in emphasis by some bishops has been evident for a few years now, in many parts of the world, along with growing (if grudging) support for civil unions – either as a good in itself,or as a lesser evil compared to marriage. This shift should be welcomed, as more in keeping with the Gospels than the shrill rejection of sexual and gender majorities that has underlain too much of the messaging in the past.

    However, it does not go far enough, as clearly revealed in your observation “Church officials insist that the Catholic bishops have always taken a “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach”, with its automatic assumption that gay men and lesbians are sinners.

    It is right that religious freedom should be respected in the political battles over marriage equality: but up to now, bishops have displayed an appalling double standard in defending their own religious freedom, but denying that of others, such as their own employees, and the freedom of conscience on sexual ethics that they routinely concede to married couples using artificial birth control.

    To make real progress, we need to face the simple reality that Vatican sexual doctrine is intrinsically disordered at its core, and needs complete overhaul, starting with the fatally flawed “Humanae Vitae”. To be credible, such rebuilding of a sound system of sexual ethics needs to be done together with people who have real life understanding of what committed sexual relationships are – married lay theologians (including LGBT theologians is probably too much to hope for).

  • RR

    The author’s liberal attitude is clear from the article. Particularly offensive is this mischaracterization: “blistering opposition to gays and lesbians.” It’s the conduct, not the person, and it’s more or less never “blistering opposition.” Obvious anti-Catholic commentary in the choice of words.

  • John McGrath

    I do phone calls to rally legislative support for gay marriage. Church-going Catholics are among the strongest supporters of gay marr
    iage as a civil right having nothing to do with religion. Some are even opposed to gay marriage but they want it to be legal since not all citizens agree with them. The bishops are just catching up with their “followers.”

    Even the bishops have probably realized that the many blog comments from Catholics against gay marriage and gay people are simply too full of contempt and mean-spirited sarcasm to pass as Christian.

  • John McGrath

    Terrence Weldon, This might happen if the Pope appointed a number of women cardinals. Not otherwise.

  • kathleen

    Just read what St. Paul has to say about homosexuality and all sexual sins, and then read this article again. Whom do you believe? The writer of this article or the revealed Word of God? Then, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the subject of homosexuality and what the Church teaches. No difference there – the Catechism is faithful to the Bible. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten all readers of this RNS article. God Bless.

  • Cheryl

    1 Remember this! In the last days there will be many troubles, 2 because people will love themselves, love money, brag, and be proud. They will say evil things against others and will not obey their parents or be thankful or be the kind of people God wants. 3 They will not love others, will refuse to forgive, will gossip, and will not control themselves.
    They will be cruel, will hate what is good, 4 will turn against their friends, and will do foolish things without thinking. They will be conceited, will love pleasure instead of God… 2Timothy 3:1-4 ========

  • Pingback: Encountering two Catholic Churches | Faith Fix()

  • Paul Raul

    The devil can site the Bible. Why did God rain fire on Sodom and Gomorrah? Not because the people were not hospitable, as the revisionists would like you to believe, but both cities were over-ran by militant homosexuals..
    Since when did anyone have the ‘Right’ to change the word ‘Gay’ to mean homosexuals and since when do the ‘Rainbow’ colors belong to the homosexuals to have as their “Flag”? They even wave that flag before the American Flag. What is an active homosexual? Anyone that identifies themselves by their sex orientation is active and should be called a homosexual not “Gay”. The word Gay is a word for expressing a child’s happiness and people having fun. The word ‘Rainbow’ is something beautiful in the sky and the colors are for all human-beings to be-hold and children to draw. Both words where hijacked by the homosexual community. Why? because they attract children. Now the homosexual community wants to ‘Redefine’ Marriage (Husband, Wife, Mother, Father, Family, Friend ) also affects the children. The children can see with their own eyes that two mommies and two daddies is ‘Objectively Disordered’ when they themselves have a Mommy and a Daddy in their household and are called a Family.. People can lie all they want and be delusional, but it will never change ‘Reality’. To try and force society, especially children, into this filthy netherworld is not ‘Love’.

  • praytherosarymomloves


    I literally beg you to reconsider what you are doing!!! You are seriously endangering your salvation. If you love God, and His Church which infallibly teaches the truth, you need to repent. I am Jewish convert to the Catholic faith. I practice my faith in it’s entirety and I am telling you in no uncertain terms that a true Catholic cannot support same sex marriage or sodomitical behavior.

  • Davis

    I am a Catholic. The church calls us to Hate the sin and not the sinner as you mentioned. However, there can be no denial that the action of homosexual acts are sinful the eyes of true Christianity and God. Even if these people are disordered in homosexuality at birth, it does not excuse them. This is because everyone is tempted by sin in their life, and everyone is called to resist. Your call to change doctrine is so fundamentally non-christian that it cannot even be considered. As christians, we are not called to serve the world but to serve christ. We are not called to change with society, but to stand apart from it. God does not change. What was wrong once in his eyes, will always be wrong. For God to change his stance would mean that God was wrong in the first place, which is not possible. So in a response to the total message of this article, the Catholic church can and will allow homosexuals in their midst. However, never will it or could it be acceptable to act on any homosexual tendencies, or to pursue relationships with other people of the same gender.

  • Davis

    I am in agreement with praytherosary. You cannot support the changing of what marriage is and follow Christ. I am sorry, but the two are non-compatible. You should read The Theology of The Body, or some other work written about it. Very good.

  • Davis

    Women are called to a different form of priesthood than men. They cannot be priests so they cannot be Cardinals. Ever. The Church will never change on this fact.

  • The rainbow is a covenant that God established with man after the flood to let all mankind know he will never flood the world again…I find it very offensive that homosexuals use the colors of the rainbow for their own agenda…as always the devil is at work to mock Our Living God…along with abortion,homosexual act is an abomination to God….I encourage everyone to pray the Rosary….all hell is breaking loose…….GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND KEEP YOU SAFE!!!

  • Pingback: Analysis of Dolan’s Easter Message of Welcome–And Why It Was Indeed a Miracle | Bondings 2.0()