NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - A pastoral statement from pro-LGBT bishops on youth with same-sex attraction is notable for what it does not say.
Issued on Monday, the document, titled "God is on Your Side," denounces the bullying of so-called LGBT young people. While it speaks eloquently of the love and mercy of God and the evil of harassment and hazing, it nevertheless keeps silent on God's universal call to chastity and the immorality of homosexual behavior and gender ideology.
As of press time, ten bishops so far have signed the statement:
"God is on Your Side" was issued in conjunction with the Tyler Clementi Foundation. In 2010, organization namesake Tyler Clementi was spied on via webcam, harassed and bullied by fellow college students after they posted his encounter with another man on social media. Clementi subsequently committed suicide.
The bishops' message concludes with its title in its final sentence. It includes two propositions that are clear and one that is ambiguous: "Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you and God is on your side."
But the bishops fail to affirm that "God is on your side" includes not only the right not to be bullied but also God's universal call to holiness. They leave unaddressed the fact that God does not want such persons to harm themselves by acting on intrinsically disordered tendencies and committing objectively sinful acts. No clarity is offered on the distinction between God loving all persons, even those who feel same-sex attraction and God willing each person not to commit sin, i.e., God desiring people not to act on their disordered feelings.
Faithful Catholics have long been frustrated at the ambiguity that often comes out of bishops' conferences and church pulpits on sexual morality. Wise Christians understand silence and lack of clarity on such essential doctrines lead many to follow their disordered passions. This, for some, results in ruined lives and even suicide.
Faithful Catholics all agree harassment and bullying are serious sins against charity. They understand the universal challenge of chastity in a fallen world, where all are called to reject the disordered desires of the flesh, exacerbated by the world and the Devil.
As Scripture and the Catechism attest, chastity excludes entertaining and acting upon all disordered sexual desires. These include not only homosexual acts, but also fornication, contraception, adultery, pornography and masturbation. Chastity, Jesus tells His followers, is the way to freedom and happiness: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Faithful Catholics have waited decades, since the dawn of the sexual revolution, for a clear statement from the bishops on how to overcome disordered desires of the flesh with God's grace, and how that begins with discipline of the eyes and of the heart. Without such pastoral direction, they realize many will continue to be lost.
Without mentioning any of this, the bishops' statement speaks about God's universal love.
"As we see in the gospels, Jesus Christ taught love, mercy and welcome for all people, especially for those who felt persecuted or marginalized in any way." It also reminds the reader that the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches "LGBT people are to be treated with 'respect, compassion and sensitivity.'" Although the Catechism is silent on any teaching relating to so-called transgenderism, the point is clear.
The statement continues with a call to compassion:
All people of goodwill should help, support and defend LGBT youth, who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates.
It is notable that these bishops have adopted the language of the Left, using the term "LGBT" for describing those saddled with disordered sexual desires and "straight" for those with a natural affinity for the opposite sex.
The statement mentions the sacredness of being God's image on earth: "The Catholic Church values the God-given dignity of all human life."
Faithful Catholics recognize this as fundamental to proper self-love as well as to Christ's command to love one's neighbor, including one's enemy. In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, He informs His disciples that, like God Himself, Christians are to love those with goodwill as well as those with bad; the wise as well as the ignorant.
With this fundamental principle in mind, the statement rightly condemns violence.
"[W]e take this opportunity to say to our LGBT friends, especially young people, that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you," the statement assures.
As is often the case with bishops' statements of this nature, it is received as both compassionate and confusing. It begins with bishops confirming their "standing up for at-risk LGBT youth in our country," but remains silent on the truth and morality of human sexuality.