Sunday, January 20, 2013

In France Some Catholic Bishops Don't Appear To Be On Pope Benedict's Wavelength

I can't actually figure out if this gentleman is protesting for or against gay marriage, but I'm sure this somehow threatens civilization as I know it.

Hmmm, seems like the French hierarchy are not all on the same page when it comes to homosexuals and homosexual unions.  Here's an article about this conflict as posted on one of my favorite UberCatholic propaganda sites, LifeSiteNews.  There appears to be a group of bishops whose secular approach to the issue of gay civil unions has the Catholic sin police all upset. Be sure to check out the comments after the article.  They make one proud to be a cafeteria Catholic.
French Catholic bishops endorsing homosexual unions, undermining pro-family cause, warn activists

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
PARIS, January 16, 2013 ( - The Conference of the Bishops of France (CEF) is making a mistake in endorsing an improved "Pact of Civil Solidarity" for homosexuals as an alternative to instituting homosexual 'marriage', in contradiction to Catholic teaching, warns the French pro-family association Avenir de la Future (Future of the Culture).

The organization of faithful Catholics are reacting to a document published recently by the Bishops' Conference's Family and Society Committee, which implies homosexual relationships could be given a strengthened legal recognition, while not going so far as to equate such unions with marriage.

While the Vatican teaches that "all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions," the French Bishops' document states that "the Catholic Church calls the faithful to live a [homosexual] relationship in chastity, but it recognizes, beyond its sexual aspect, the value of solidarity, of attention and of concern for the other that can arise in a durable affective relationship. The Church intends to be welcoming regarding homosexual persons and will continue to make its contribution to the struggle against every form of homophobia and discrimination." (Seems our self proclaimed faithful heterosexual French Catholics don't think even chaste gay relationships should be given any legal recognition.)

The document, entitled, "Extend marriage to people of the same sex? Open the debate!," also states that "the request to extend marriage to people of the same sex challenges society to seek new ways to live out our differences within a state of equality," and "an evolution of family law is always possible."

The Catholic Church repudiated by its own bishops?

According to Avenir de la Culture, the document seems to reflect the sentiments of Gerard Daucourt, bishop of Nanterre, and numerous other bishops who have made even more explicit statements insinuating the endorsement of homosexual unions, including an "improved" Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS).

Prior to the Family and Society statement, Daucourt had told the news agency France Iter: "I, for my part, want to take heed of homosexual unions, I want to recognize them, accompany them. I have known a certain number of homosexual couples," adding: "I don't want it to be called marriage, that's all."

"So then, there is the PACS. I think that they could improve it. Look, I would be rather disposed to that (...) I myself have no desire for a direct opposition, but rather to dialogue, to explain," said Daucourt.

The Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS) to which Bishop Daucourt refers is a contract, considered far less than a civil union, that can be granted both to homosexuals and heterosexuals, which can be dissolved at will by either party, and gives tax advantages to the couple as if they were married. (And does not allow for adoption by these couples--gay or straight.)

Daucourt also denounced the Catholic Church itself for what he regarded as "discrimination" against homosexuals.

"This has grave consequences, because we know that the people most directly concerned are homosexual persons, who have suffered so much and who have been condemned for centuries by the Church and by a certain number of people in the Church," the bishop said. "I think that this is terrible for people who still suffer discrimination of which they have been the object on the part of the Church and by many others, and which they still suffer today."

Avenir de la Culture documents that numerous other French bishops have spoken similarly, expressing sympathy for homosexual unions and advocating legal protections for them, and denouncing what they regard as "persecution" of homosexuals historically, including Bishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont-Ferrand (vice-president of the Episcopal Conference), Bishop Bernard Ginoux of Montauban, Bishop Michel Pansard of Chartres, Bishop Bruno Grua of Saint-Flour, Bishop Francois Fonlupt of Rodez, Bishop Philippe Gueneley of Langres, Bishop Jacques Blaquart of Orleans, Archbishop Armand Maillard of Bourges, Bishop Vincent Jordy of Saint-Claude, Bishop Jean-Charles Descubes of Rouen, Bishop Bernard Housset of La Rochelle.

The organization also notes that while Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, has ringingly denounced homosexual "marriage" as potentially leading to the approval of incest, other bishops failed to support him when he was condemned in the press for the comments and some even rejected his words publicly. (Not surprising many of his fellow bishops wouldn't support a completely unsubstantiated slur against gays. How is 'religious truth' served by outright lies?)

In response to the bishops' statements, Avenir de la Culture asks: "Should one conclude that, for a homosexual person, it is preferable to live in cohabitation, a permanent occasion of sin?" The organization notes that the bishops' Family and Society Committee has produced "six pages of unclear commentary to arrive at the same conclusion expressed in a more frank way by Bishop Daucourt: in place of marriage, we could agree to provide homosexuals with an 'improved PACS.'"

The organization also notes that "in 85 episcopal declarations regarding the 'marriage for everyone' bill, except for a few references (...) there is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING religious in the argumentation of the French bishops! Rather to the contrary, the majority have the obvious desire to emphasize that they are expressing themselves in strictly human terms." (Uhmm, maybe there's nothing religious in their argumentation because France is a secular state as opposed to a Catholic theocracy.)

The bishops contradict Pope Benedict XVI ... and even themselves

Avenir de la Culture observes that the bishops' approach is contrary to Pope Benedict XVI's clear rejection of all homosexual unions, made while he was the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 2003, and also seems to contradict the French bishops' own statements denouncing PACS in the late 1990s, when they were first proposed.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, writing at that time with the authority of the Papal magisterium, declared in 2003 that "There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law.

Quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ratzinger noted that homosexual acts constitute "serious depravity" and "close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."

He added that "all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions."

In 1998, the bishops of France themselves warned that PACS would be "worthless and dangerous" and would create "a new status of relationship that risks the further destruction of the meaning of the couple and of the family."


When it comes to gays, our French Temple Police have now decided it's in the best interest of gay Catholics to ban them from even the 'near occasion' of sin, therefor even chaste gay relationships can not be legally approved.  After all, those 'chaste' relationships can never be proven to be chaste. One would have to take the word of those chaste gay Catholics seriously and being already disordered in an intrinsic way, that is apparently too big a leap for any self respecting self proclaimed Faithful Catholic.  Just as an aside, I sometimes wish I was a self proclaimed True Catholic because I find it much easier to mind everyone else's morality than to adequately deal with my own, but unfortunately, I've moved past that trap.

This articles does point out that not all French bishops are on the same Vatican page. This might have prompted this rebuttal from French Cardinal Poupard.  In this interview with Vatican Insider he states:
 “We cannot bow down in the face of society’s destruction, caused by a new conception of sexuality that is sparking an anthropological revolution based on gender ideology. In this way, the Pope once clarified, humans deny their own nature and decide that not only is this nature a preconceived fact but they create it themselves. It is the Church’s task to defend non negotiable values so that these translate into political action.”
Cardinal Poupard also drags out the old tired Vatican canard that gay unions threaten civilization. But again does not explain just what that threat is, unless it's Pope Benedict's words on the evils of gender bending. This is so not easy take since every time I see another photo of Cardinal Burke in his ever so expensive clerical drag, I get my gender bent all out of shape.  Or hear our male hierarchy wax ever so eloquently about Holy Mother Church, or how they represent the People of God as the Bride of Christ, or propose that mothers of priests are somehow then daughters of their father/sons. And I'm still trying to understand why opting for celibacy or declaring oneself a 'vowed virgin' isn't an intentional denial of human nature to procreate. It's all very head scratching and seems to envelope a number of double standards.  Speaking of which, this story has to take the case for most bizarre clerical gender bending.  The cross dressing mentioned in the article does not refer to dressing an actual cross.



  1. "In this way, the Pope once clarified, humans deny their own nature and decide that not only is this nature a preconceived fact but they create it themselves."

    ## That would apply very well to monasticism and the denial of marriage to the clergy. If we are going to be New Testamental, why the ban on marriage for clergy ?

    1. Exactly Rat, if we're going to go all New Testamental why is there a ban on married clergy and religious?

  2. Colleen, I'm so glad you're highlighting this French discussion. I think you're absolutely right to conclude that the ultimate goal of many right-wing Catholics in France and elsewhere is simply to marginalize and exclude those who are gay: period.

    There's nothing redemptive at all in their intent, and it ultimately derives from the deep and unacknowledged fascist roots of right-wing Catholicism in Europe in the 20th century. The gays are simply the latest in a long line of hapless victims like the Jews, who prove instrumentally useful to mount bogus fascist culture wars against modernity and democracy.

    I love your line at the start of this piece about how reading the comments at the LifeSite news article makes you proud to be a cafeteria Catholic. Indeed.

    1. You're are right Bill, itt would be a herculean task to find any notion of real 'redemption' in their intent. Back in the day the Vatican did it's best to justify anti Semitism and now it is most certainly bending over backwards to justify right wing attacks on gays, and for the same reasons: to foster autocracy and elitism at the expense of a designated class of ritually impure others.

    2. I have to slightly disagree, but only because of French culture. The French are, unfortunately, fairly well known for their discrimination (you'd think the culture with the least amount of work-related stress in the world would be a bit more relaxed about those things!). Anyway, the fact that any French bishops are "speaking out" in favour of anything that even approximates something like a step towards equality is, to me, a pretty nice positive. Is it a big enough step? No, probably not. But you're not about to change French culture overnight either.

      Just remember, this is the country that made it illegal for girls to wear headscarves in school because it was "religious."

    3. Adam, Bill Lyndsey has translated the French bishops statement at his blog and it's a very interesting read. The French position is much more nuanced than either the Vatican's or the USCCB's. And it also minimizes the God talk in favor of reality. It's probably the most cogent piece of writing on the subject of gay marriage any official body in the Church has produced in a very long time.