RETIRED bishop Arturo Bastes’ knee-jerk reaction to Pope Francis’ endorsement of civil union for LGBTQs is troubling. A bishop should at least give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt and take time to think of a measured response before opening his mouth. Instead he publicly expressed shock at the Pope’s statement and alleged it to be against official Church teaching.
In so doing he becomes the paragon of homophobic Catholics who judge the LGBTQ’s sexual orientation as immoral. Contrary to Christian faith that transcends reason they go down to the realm of unreason. For, the only way you can deny equal dignity and rights to LGBTQs is with a mindset that they are less than the human beings reason tells us they are.
(What would have been shocking was if the Pope had endorsed Sacramental Catholic unions for LGBTQs. I wish he had, but I understand that the Catholic Church, like any organization, has the right to lay down its own membership rules and regulations. But that’s not what this piece is about.)
Endorsing civil unions for LGBTQs is the least the Pope can do if he is to be himself truly human. It is reason (that we all have, not faith that only some of us have) that tells us all human beings are created equal in dignity and rights regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, education, financial condition, health, etc.
This truth of reason trumps any contrary truth of the Church. Yet the Church does teach and respect the equal dignity and rights of all humans. It is the homophobia of some among the Catholic clergy and faithful that violates the truth from both reason and faith that all humans are created equal.
It is homophobia not homosexuality that is “objectively immoral.” One of these days the Church will have to admit to the error and inconsistency of teaching that “homosexuality is objectively immoral.”
Again, because it has the right to its own laws, the Catholic Church may ban a Catholic wedding for LGBTQ couples. Still, the latter have civil rights which governments are obliged to respect and protect. That is what essentially the Pope endorsed, that governments respect those rights (which include the right to a civil union and to be in a family) and provide LGBTQs with effective legal access to those rights.
Jesus Christ went beyond reason in living with and dying for us regardless of race, religious affiliation, financial condition, and, it can reasonably be presumed, sexual orientation.
Christian faith goes beyond reason in telling us God resides in us and we are temples of the Holy Spirit. For Christians, therefore, to disrespect LGBTQs is to disrespect the God who resides in them. It is not only unchristian but, worse still, inhuman.