Is Cardinal Nichols “Queering the Church”?

This is fun. Mark Lambert, referring to the transfer of the old Soho Masses congregation from Warwick Street to Farm Street, writes:

However, it became very obvious, very quickly, that Cardinal Nichols had no intention of stopping the Masses, he simply moved the venue. What about dealing with the Pastoral issue? Surely he did that? Well, the Masses are followed by a “social” organised by LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council. Their lack of fidelity to Christ and His Church is written all over their Facebook Page here. These are people who self-identify as LGBT, who think the Church is wrong in what it teaches, and who want to change the Church to suit their own sexual predilection.

The Catholic Herald cover the story of the Mass here. Of course, the Cardinal’s spokesman is very careful to articulate that the Mass was not specifically “for gay Catholics”, but for all Farm Street parishioners.

Regardless, the most revealing comments are made by the people the Mass was aimed at. Terence Weldon runs the blog Queering the Church, the title of which disturbs me greatly in itself and speaks to its agenda.

via Cardinal Nichols is Queering the Church.

If the title of my blog is “revealing”, then so are the comments made by Mark Lambert, and of the Catholic Herald, which he refers to so enthusiastically. Lambert notes, quite correctly, that

The care of persons with homosexual tendencies is an important part of what the Church teaches. No one, including myself, would for a second, hesitate to criticise a project of outreach and warm welcome. But Christ did not condone sin, He called us to repent and believe the Gospel.

But nowhere in the Gospels is there any condemnation of same – sex relationships! On the contrary, there is a strong message of inclusion for all, and quite possibly, in the story of how Jesus was quite willing to enter the house of the Roman centurion to heal his boy/ slave/ lover, an implied acceptance of such relationships.  Claiming support from the Gospels for homophobia is an example of twisting the plain their clear message in support of a secular “agenda” of exclusion and discrimination.

Similarly, in the Catholic Heralds’ own report on the Mass, the headline chose, quite predictably, to focus on the Cardinal’s claim that the commandments are part of God’s mercy. Quite so. But just as the Gospels have no condemnation of loving same – sex relationships, nor do the commandments. The popular assumption that they do, is based on the simple words, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”.

Now, the direction of the Pontifical Biblical Commission on the interpretation of scripture should be important for Catholics. Part of their guidelines, is the recommendation that the interpretation of biblical texts must pay attention to the cultural contexts of the times. For the Jews of biblical times, “adultery” was seen as a crime of property, against the husband of an adulterous woman. (“Adultery” was not defined for sexual relations by a married man with an unmarried woman). It is difficult to see how read in this context, “adultery” can be read to include any monogamous, faithful relationship between to two otherwise unmarried people in a loving and committed same – sex relationship. Once again, those who choose to condemn queer relationships on the basis of this commandment, are twisting the clear words of scripture to conform to their own prejudices.

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