In our last post, we shared why we thought it was scandalous and gravely wrong for Cardinal O’Malley to appear at the Boston Globe’s Crux launch event, publicly endorse this heretical pub, and help lead souls away from salvation. So much was bad about the content of the event that we will not have time to go into everything. But we will share a few points, including how unfortunate it is that the Sean O’Malley who seemed to have the courage to preach on certain moral issues in 2005 (e.g. homosexuality) was not the Sean O’Malley at the Crux launch event responding to a question about homosexuality.
To be fair, this part of what Cardinal O’Malley said on communion for divorced and remarried Catholics was fine: “the prohibition from communion for divorced and remarried Catholics is unlikely to change..” O’Malley cautioned against expecting much change. “The pastoral practice must always follow our theology and doctrine.” But regarding homosexuality, what was NOT said was problematic.
As we noted earlier this year in our post, “Boston pastor praised by Cardinal O’Malley puts Holy Family on par with homosexual couples“, on November 23, 2005 Cardinal O’Malley published a Letter from Cardinal Sean O’Malley on Homosexuality where he said:
In the Gospel when the self-righteous Pharisees bring the adulteress to be stoned, Jesus says let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Then to make sure they got the point Jesus wrote their sins on the ground. The stones fell from their hands and they fled. Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you”, but He added, “Go and sin no more.”
If we tell people that sex outside of marriage is not a sin, we are deceiving people. If they believe this untruth, a life of virtue becomes all but impossible. Jesus teaches that discipleship implies taking up the cross each day and following Him with love and courage.
It is never easy to deliver a message that calls people to make sacrifices or to do difficult things. Sometimes people want to punish the messenger. For this reason we priests at times find it difficult to articulate the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. It is important to express the moral teachings of the Church with clarity and fidelity. We must teach the truths of the Gospel in season and out of season. These recent times seem to us like it is “out of season”, but for that very reason it is even more urgent to teach the hard words of the Gospel today.
We know that friends and relatives of homosexual Catholics sometimes feel torn between their allegiance to Christ and their concern for their loved ones. I assure them that these goals are not incompatible. Calling people to embrace the cross of discipleship, to live the commandments and at the same time assuring them that we love them as brothers and sisters can be difficult. Sometimes we are told: “If you do not accept my behavior, you do not love me.” In reality we must communicate the exact opposite: “Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.”
BCI thinks this part of the letter is so well written that Cardinal O’Malley should fax it to the Holy Father in one of his regular communications with him. And we think he should be perhaps even republish the letter.
The problem is, the Cardinal Sean O’Malley who had the courage to publish this in 2005 appears to be MIA today. When asked a question from the audience about whether Pope Francis’s reported pastoral concern for gay Catholics might slow the firings of gay Catholics from Catholic institutions, the Cardinal responded in this way:
O’Malley, not addressing the question directly, said the pope’s “notion of mercy and inclusion is going to make a big difference in the way that the church responds to and ministers to people of homosexual orientation” but, like with divorce, said the church will not necessarily change its doctrine.
The notion of mercy has always been a part of how the church ministers to sinners. That is what the sacrament of reconciliation is all about. But the notions of mercy and forgiveness come along with the concept that we should “go and sin no more.” And we need to say to the sinner, “Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.”
In 2005, Cardinal O’Malley said it was urgent to teach the hard words of the Gospel in season and out of season. BCI agrees. We are not sure which season it is now–that he is having such trouble teaching these words–but we hope and pray he develops the courage to start repeating his same words from 2005.
As for the rest of the event, that the secular reviews of the event are positive is not a surprise. But a review by a Catholic priest being positive is very troubling. The post over at Patheos by Fr. Dwight Longnecker gushing over the event and the potential of the heretical pub, Crux, (that plans to promote views opposing Church teachings in a range of areas) was really shocking. Fr. Dwight, how can you in good conscience, go out of your way to lead the faithful astray and to sin by saying, “I believe this new enterprise has great promise,” when that enterprise has a columnist who routinely criticizes and disagrees with the teachings of Holy Mother Church, and the pub is on the record with plans to publish views of people who believe Church teaching wrong on “gay marriage”? Why in the world do you think that is good? Mark 9:42 immediately comes to mind: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.