Foley then goes on to offer the possibility of a multiplicity of sexualities, saying that "there may also be as many unique and intensely intimate human sexualities — as there are or ever have been human beings on the face of the earth!"
As evidence, he relies on data from sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, whose work has been widely debunked as nonscientific and heavily skewed to inflate the numbers of the homosexual population. Kinsey himself has been discredited as a pedophile enabler, who relied on data taken from men who raped babies and young children.
The Catechism teaches that only one rightly ordered sexual orientation exists — heterosexuality — and that any deviations are "objectively disordered."
But Foley condemns the language of the Catechism on this point, calling it " terse technical language, which sounds so harsh and condemnatory" and "unfortunate phraseology."
He goes on in his reflections to denounce "hate speech" against gays, even characterizing homosexual acts as "loving sexual expression" between two people.
"In Christian speech there can be no place for hate speech," he insists. "Yet it is tragically paradoxical that hate speech may now be occurring on and around such sacred ground as deep loving friendships and particularly about that most sensitive and intimate of all human experiences: loving sexual expression!"
In spite of explaining that he would vote no in the referendum, Foley makes clear he does support legal protections for same-sex unions.
He goes on to contrast the "ideal" of marriage with the lived-out experience of Catholics — a common tactic among progressive bishops to distance official Church teaching from the practical, day-to-day lives of Catholics not living in accord with Church teaching.
"There has always been a distinction between the ideals we preach and try to live and that understanding which we frequently extend to our own selves and to those others struggling with living and loving," he writes. "There is also that wise saying, though not biblical, but none-the-less so very true: That the Perfect may be the Enemy of Good!"
He concludes with the following parting thoughts: "Love, divine and/or human love, does not easily fit within the constraints and limitations of The Law — either civil or religious. The Gospels and St. Paul stress this liberating Truth of the Freedom of the Children of God."
In 2015, Foley was accused of giving a sex abuse victim thousands in "hush money" after the man revealed he had been molested by a priest as a boy. Within several days of meeting Brandon Lee, a homeless man, Foley gave $11,400 of diocesan money to Lee. Foley denies the charges.
Church Militant contacted the bishop to request explanation on portions of his commentary that contradict Church teaching, but received no response as of press time.
Bishop James Foley can be contacted here: firstname.lastname@example.org