“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many. And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.”1
These words by the Savior, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, telling the Apostles about the signs of the end of the world, came to mind as we read recent Church news.
We refer here particularly to attitudes and statements by cardinals and bishops who not only question the mandatory practice of chastity but also deny the intrinsic malice of homosexual acts and become advocates of such aberrations.
Cardinal Martini Defends Homosexual Partnerships
Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, Archbishop emeritus of Milan, has just published a book titled, Credere e Conoscere (Believing and Knowing), in which, clashing head-on with natural law and Church doctrine, he defends the legitimacy of partnership between two persons of the same sex.
The Jesuit archbishop, seen as ‘papabile’ in the last Conclave, writes: “It’s not bad for two people, rather than having occasional homosexual relationships, to have a certain stability and therefore, in this sense, the State could also favor them.” But he goes even further: “I do not share the positions of those in the Church who oppose civil unions.”
“I can justify,” the Milanese prelate writes, “demonstrations such as gay pride” due to the need for “self-assertion, to show everyone they exist, even at the risk of appearing overly provocative.”
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Finally, Martini says that the Church defends marriage in order to allow the perpetuation of the species, “And yet it is not right to express any discrimination on other types of unions.”2
Unfortunately, Cardinal Martini is not alone in his shocking attitudes and statements on homosexuality. His colleague from Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, follows on his footsteps.
Sacrilegious Exhibit at Vienna’s Diocesan Museum
Many will recall the unimaginable blasphemy that took place in 2008 at the Diocesan Museum of Vienna, Dommuseum, just across the street from the city’s magnificent Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. The exhibit, titled: “Religion, Flesh and Power” displayed works by Marxist artist Alfred Hrdlicka that included an explicit portrayal of Our Lord and the Apostles at the Last Supper in the midst of a homosexual orgy, raised the ire of Catholics around the world.
Also displayed was a naked crucifix and a scene of Our Lord’s scourging in which a naked torturer was performing an unspeakable act on His Holy Body. Although the worst displays were removed by order of Cardinal Schönborn, offensive depictions remained.
Despite the scandal, in 2009, Cardinal Schönborn asked the same Alfred Hrdlicka to sculpt a bust of Sister Restituta Kafka, who was murdered by the Nazis during World War II. The shocking sculpture shows the Blessed totally bare-breasted, in an attitude of despair. The work was placed in the cathedral of Vienna.
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Supporting a Homosexual at the Parish Council
But the Viennese prelate’s scandalous behavior does not stop there. In 2010, talking with journalists, the Cardinal said: “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships,” adding: “a stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous.”3
More recently, Catholics have been perplexed at Cardinal Schönborn’s support of a homosexual, Florian Stangl, who lives in a registered partnership with another homosexual.
Stangl was elected member of a parish council in the small town of Stützenhofen, in the outskirts of Vienna. When the local parish priest, Fr. Gerhard Swierzek, advised him to stop receiving communion because of his objective situation of sin, he answered, “I feel bound to the teachings of the Church but the demand to live in chastity seems unrealistic to me.”
Father Swierzek refused to accept his election and at first the Cardinal of Vienna supported his decision. But after receiving Stangl and his partner for lunch, he backtracked and allowed him to serve on the parish council.
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Now then, accepting a homosexual as member of a parish council implies not only approving this practice opposed to Catholic morals and natural law, but also extols it. Indeed, according to the Code of Canon Law, “No one except members of the Christian faithful outstanding in firm faith, good morals, and prudence is to be designated to a pastoral council” (canon 512 §3 emphasis added).4
Thus, as far as the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna is concerned, homosexual practice is compatible with “outstanding faith and good morals”!
“How Would Jesus Have Handled It?”
In an official communiqué of the archdiocese, the Cardinal explains his reasons for supporting Stangl: “I was able to have a personal conversation with Herr Stangl, and was deeply impressed by his faithful disposition, his humility, and the way in which he lives his commitment to service.”
On a television interview, he said: “I always ask myself in these situations: How would Jesus have handled it? He first saw the person.” And he added: “I think this young man belongs there and so I have taken responsibility for this.”
The implication is clear: Jesus would have acted likewise, that is, he would have accepted homosexuality not only as normal but also as consistent with “outstanding faith and good morals”!
Is Sodomy No Longer a Sin?
Leaving aside the absurd and blasphemous aspect of this innuendo, we must emphasize that the attitude of the Divine Savior toward sinners was altogether different. After forgiving the adulterous woman, he advised: “Go, and now sin no more.”5
“Sin no more”: This is the condition the Savior imposes in order for the pardon to be effective and lasting. It is not possible to love Jesus while remaining in sin. Indeed, He said: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.”6
The abundant news stories on this issue do not say that the Cardinal demanded that Stangl give up his objectively sinful situation. On the contrary, the same official note of the archdiocese recognizes that “there are many parish councilors whose lifestyle does not in every way conform to the ideals of the Church.” But it adds that “In view of the life-witness that each of them gives taken as a whole, and their commitment to the attempt to live a life of faith, the Church rejoices in their efforts.”7
How is it possible to “to attempt to live a life of faith” without giving up an objective state of sin which destroys charity, without which faith is dead?8
Let us note, in passing, that the Stangl affair appears to be no exception, since “there are many parish councilors whose lifestyle does not in every way conform to the ideals of the Church.”
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The Austrian Priests’ Revolt
It is not surprising that, with such leadership, about one-third of Austrian priests have openly revolted against Church doctrine and discipline. Their group is called Priest’s Initiative and is led by Msgr. Helmut Schüller, a former right-hand man of Cardinal Schönborn and his ex Vicar General.
Recalling the facts, in June 2011 those priests launched a “Call to Disobedience” demanding reforms in the Church, including “an end to mandatory clerical celibacy, discussion of women’s ordination, Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics and a greater role for the laity in the Church.”9
So far, Cardinal Schönborn has limited himself to “dialoguing” with the rebels without taking any concrete measure. He went so far as to present their claims to the Vatican, though saying he did not agree with them.
In his sermon of Maundy Thursday, the day the priesthood was instituted, Pope Benedict XVI mentioned this revolt. He is also said to have written the Austrian bishops a letter asking for strong measures against the rebels (a fact the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Vienna has denied).10
Bishop Preaches Changing Sexual Morals and Accepting Homosexuality
In a recent tour of the United States, Most Rev. Geoffrey Robinson, emeritus auxiliary bishop of Sidney, Australia, advocated changing sexual morals and accepting homosexuality.
Bishop Robinson recognizes that in order for the Church to accept homosexual practice, it needs first to change its current conception of the purpose of heterosexual sex, based on natural law and on Scripture.
Speaking at a symposium of the homosexual organization New Ways Ministry, “[h]e proceeded to question that natural law argument, especially as laid out by recent popes, and to suggest that a more nuanced reading of divine commandments in scripture and of Jesus’ teaching would lead to a different set of moral norms — starting with a change in church teaching that every sexual act or thought that falls outside a loving conjugal act open to procreation is a mortal sin because it is a direct offense against God himself in his divine plan for human sexuality.”
“If [church] teaching on homosexual acts is ever to change, the basic teaching governing all sexual acts must change,” he said.”11
This is the tragic situation in which Holy Mother Church finds herself, even while remaining “the bride of the Lamb,”12 “not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”.13
Let us watch and pray, as Our Lord Jesus Christ and his justice will come soon:
“Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.”14
May the Blessed Mother, who at Fatima promised the triumph of her Immaculate Heart, help us persevere to the end and fight against the seduction of false shepherds.
- Matthew 11-13.
- L’Espresso, “Il cardinale Martini: io e i gay di Ignazio Marino e Carlo Maria Martini” “… pagine di ‘Credere e conoscere’, … editore Einaudi” at http://espresso.repubblica.it/dettaglio/il-cardinale-martini-io-e-i-gay/2177168//.
2. Cf. John-Henry Westen, “Cardinal Martini and the false theology promoting homosexuality” March 27, 2012 at http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-martini-and-the-false-theology-promoting-homosexuality.
- Luiz S. Solimeo, “Should the Church Change Her Position on Homosexuality and Divorce?” at https://tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/should-the-church-change-her-position-on-homosexuality-and-divorce.html.
- While this canon refers more directly to the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the criteria it contains, which are not merely disciplinary, obviously also apply to the parish pastoral council established according to canon 536. Indeed, commenting on this canon, Dr. Juan Calvo, of the University of Navarra, says: “This institutional novelty [the Parish council]…. is basically regulated by canons 511-514” dealing with the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Codigo de Derecho Canonico, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, 1983.
- John 8:11.
- John 14:21.
- Good summaries of what happened in: Patrick B. Craine,”Vienna Cardinal overrules priest who barred open homosexual from parish council” April 04, 2012 at http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vienna-cardinal-overrules-priest-who-barred-open-homosexual-from-parish-cou?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=d79d9d7478-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_04_04_2012&utm_medium=email; Hilary White, “Austrian Priest resigns after overruling by cardinal on homosexual in parish council” at http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/austrian-priest-overruled-by-cardinal-regarding-homosexual-on-parish-counci; “Dissident Bishops” April 11, 2012 at http://freeforumzone.leonardo.it/lofi/BENEDICT-XVI-NEWS-PAPAL-TEXTS-PHOTOS-AND-COMMENTARY/D8527207-201.html.
- Cf. James 2:17, Gal. 5:6.
- Sarah Mac Donald, “Rebels with a cause” at http://www.pfarrer-initiative.at/tablet10.pdf.
- Cf. “Da Roma nessun diktat sui parroci ribelli” L’arcivescovo di Vienna, il cardinale Christoph Schönborn, 10/04/2012, http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/homepage/vaticano/dettaglio-articolo/articolo/austria-14190/.
- New Ways Ministry, Francis DeBernardo, “Bishop, Governor, and Theologian Highlight Symposium’s Second Day”. http://newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/bishop-governor-and-theologian-highlight-symposiums-second-day/.
- Apoc. 21:9.
- Eph. 5:27.
- Apoc. 22:12-15.