Cardinal Sarah: Bishops, priests cannot shy away from 'hard sayings' on homosexuality
June 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, issues both a stunning admonishment and an impassioned plea to his fellow bishops and priests in his foreward to Why I Don't Call Myself Gay.
He first delivers a strong rebuke calling attention to the fact that the Church teaches " ... things in the Catechism about homosexuality that some members of the clergy choose not to quote, including the clear warning: 'under no circumstances can [homosexual acts] be approved' (CCC 2357). The respect and sensitivity to which the Catechism rightly calls us does not give us permission to deprive men and women who experience SSA (same-sex attraction) of the fullness of the Gospel. To omit the 'hard sayings' of Christ and his Church is not charity."
His warning about withholding the Gospel from those who deal with SSA comes at a critical moment in the life of the Church with the publication of Fr. James Martin's new pro-LGBT book, Building a Bridge.
Last November, Fr. Martin, SJ, received an award from New Ways Ministry, an LGBT group previously condemned for representing itself as a Catholic organization. His acceptance speech became the broad outline for his new book. In fact, the name of the award he received is "New Ways Ministry's Bridge Building Award."
Fr. Martin was also recently tapped by the Vatican as a communications consultant to the Holy See's Secretariat for Communications.
Publication of Martin's gay-friendly book has drawn glowing comments from high-profile Vatican and U.S. church officials who are supportive of Fr. Martin's pro-'gay' message.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, a Pope Francis appointee, personally welcomed homosexuals to the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey, last month as part of a so-called "LGBT Pilgrimage."
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, recently appointed by Pope Francis to head the Vatican office on laity, family, and life issues, said Martin's pro-"gay" book "will help bishops, priests, pastoral associates, and all church leaders more compassionately minister to the LGBT community."
San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy, appointed in 2015, has encouraged inclusivity and embracing LGBT families.
Those prelates and clerics who justify homosexuality challenge the Church's genuine understanding of the human person and of human sexuality, sweeping aside authentic Church teaching and endangering, rather than helping, those who are same-sex attracted. In a phrase abounding with as much love as it is truth, Cardinal Sarah warns, "We cannot be more compassionate or merciful than Jesus."
His admonition echos a public appeal made a few years ago by Jean Lloyd, Ph.D, a former lesbian and now happily married mother of two, to her fellow Christians: "May I make two requests? Continue to love me, but remember that you cannot be more merciful than God. It isn't mercy to affirm same-sex acts as good. Practice compassion according to the root meaning of "compassion": Suffer with me. Don't compromise truth; help me to live in harmony with it. I'm asking you to help me take up my cross and follow Jesus."
Cardinal Sarah's foreward closes with a strong plea to his fellow clergy: "I especially encourage my brother bishops and priests to read this book, which I trust will deepen their conviction that the wisdom of the Church in this difficult and sensitive area expresses genuine love and compassion." He is asking them not deprive the same-sex attracted from the hard parts of the Gospel but to lavish the same-sex attracted with its life-giving truth that we might live in freedom as sons and daughter of God.
He then recounts four important truths:
Only Christ can heal the wounds of sin and division.
Only the Church has the answers to man's deepest questions and his deepest needs for love and friendship.
Only the fullness of the Gospel fulfills the human heart.
Only the commandments mark the path to friendship with Christ, and with one another, for God's "commandments are not burdensome" (I Jn 5:3).
While Cardinal Sarah is often described by detractors as being an enemy of LGBT rights, the contrary is true: Those who experience same-sex attraction have no greater advocate, no greater pastor, no greater friend than a man who is uncompromising with the truth.
Daniel Mattson, author of Why I Don't Call Myself Gay, told LifeSiteNews, "I feel that Cardinal Sarah is standing with, and supporting all of us who've turned away from the world's vision of sexuality and found freedom and truth in the Church. With the gift of Cardinal Sarah's support, I feel that I have a firm foundation of support to share the good news the Church provides for a man like me. As Cardinal Sarah says, it is only the Church has the answers to the deepest questions of the human heart. The Church has shown me the Way, the Truth, and the Life in following the love of Jesus who says both that I am in no way condemned, but that in order to live the truly abundant life, I must do what all men must do when they encounter the love and mercy of Jesus: by the grace of God, go, and sin no more."