A testimony given to the Synod on the Family about welcoming homosexual couples has been called “damaging” by a concerned international coalition of pro-family groups.
Voice of the Family made the comments following the intervention given yesterday by Ron and Mavis Pirola, one of the married couples chosen to address the Synod on the Family meeting in Rome.
In their testimony, the Pirolas said friends of theirs were planning their Christmas family gathering “when their gay son said he wanted to bring his partner home too. They fully believed in the Church’s teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family.
“Their response could be summed up in three words, ‘He is our son’,” the couple said. “What a model of evangelization for parishes as they respond to similar situations in their neghbourhood! It is a practical example of what the Instrumentum laboris says concerning the Church’s teaching role and its main mission to let the world know of God’s love.”
Maria Madise, Voice of the Family’s coordinator, said the ready acceptance of a son and his homosexual lover to a gathering where the grandchildren would welcome them into the family “gives a false lead to families and parishes [which] is no example of love and mercy towards anyone.
“The unqualified welcome of homosexual couples into family and parish environments in fact damages everybody, by serving to normalise the disorder of homosexuality. It damages children by presenting homosexual relationships as models which may legimitately be chosen,” Madise continued.
“It damages adults by making them complicit in tacit endorsements of the immoral and dangerous homosexual lifestyle. And it damages the homosexual couples themselves by failing to guide them with the truth in charity – that their relationship is gravely harmful for their moral and spiritual health.”
Madise added: “It is because we desire the eternal happiness of those we love that we need to support them to overcome temptation and to live chastely. This path is not easy, but nor is any cross that is the way of true mercy, love and new life.” She also explained that the Church is clear that ‘a truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.’”
In a 1986 letter to bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith stated that although the particular inclination of the homosexual person “is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”
It later adds: “A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.”
“The Pirolas’ presentation will lead to considerable confusion on the part of Catholics dealing with such difficult situations,” Madise concluded.
Voice of the Family said it believes that the correct guidance for Catholics is that the parents of homosexuals should tell to them that their love for their son or daughter moves them to explain that homosexuality is not part of God’s plan for their happiness.
They should also say they cannot welcome their son or daughter’s partner into their family, without offending God and presenting a bad example to the vulnerable, especially children.
“God will always be merciful to anyone who embraces the Cross by turning away from a disordered lifestyle, such as homosexuality,” the Voice of the Family said.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, told reporters today that the Synod responded to the Pirolas’ testimony “very warmly, with applause”.
John Smeaton, chief executive of the London-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), commenting on behalf of the Voice of the Family, said such a welcome for the Pirolas’ disturbing testimony shows how much Church leaders “are totally out of touch with the real problems faced by families.”
The Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which runs until Oct. 19th, has been called to respond to the “widespread cultural, social and spiritual crisis” which threatens the family today.
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