On Fr Timothy Radcliffe's Article for The Tablet
|St Dominic: Founder of the Order of Preachers|
My intention was to make comment on the remarks made by Fr Timothy Radcliffe in his article for The Tablet, an article which I thought was open to wide misinterpretation.
As a Catholic priest in good standing, I do not think that, at this time, when the issue of same-sex relationships is part of a highly charged debate, both within and outside the Church, Fr Timothy's remarks about the issue of should be so nuanced, ambiguous and open to misinterpretation.
I do not doubt for a second that in Stephen Hough, there is at least one person who believes that Fr Timothy offers a 'revisionist' approach to the subject which gives him hope that the Chuch's teaching on homosexuality may one day change. This is as a result of Mr Hough's having read the article by Fr Radcliffe in The Tablet.
I also questioned whether it is wise for Fr Timothy to state that 'Church leaders' are in some way revisiting and reconsidering the issue of same-sex unions, when the CDF has explicitly made the Church's position on them categorically clear. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church, as expressed through the Catechism, also makes the Church's position clear.
I do think that if Fr Timothy holds an orthodox position on this matter, then as a Priest so esteemed, especially in liberal circles, many of which hold views which counter the Church's position, then not only should his words not be open to misinterpretation, but, more than that, as a Catholic Priest, his words should be categorically clear in emphasising the Church's teaching on chastity for homosexual persons, and, indeed, all those who are not bonded by holy matrimony.
It is quite obvious to me that The Tablet consistently undermines the Church's position on sexual matters, including articifical contraception, divorce and remarriage, female ordination and homosexual partnerships and civil partnerships in general.
It is my honest opinion that, given that this is the case, Fr Timothy has even more duty not only to uphold Christian marriage (as he did, something that I acknowledged in the blogpost), but also to encourage those with a same-sex attraction to chastity, prayer and self-sacrificial love flowing from a relationship with Christ. At no point in his article did I sense that he was doing that. Instead, he was praising homosexual relationships in language which was, in my opinion, ambiguous.
As far as I am concerned, what I have written is fair comment, since what I have written is based solely on his own words which he has published in the public domain. I understand that many believe that, with the Church's pastoral care for homosexual persons having to be one which treats homosexuals with 'compassion and sensitivity', that this may be a factor in the increasingly 'nuanced' language which many Bishops, Priests and lay people use when discussing the issue. However, I considered that Fr Radcliffe's language had moved beyond the realm of 'nuance' and into the realm of ambiguity. I am quite certain that the His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI himself has, in the past, said that the Church requires all in teaching authority to use language which leaves Catholics with no doubt or confusion as to the Church's teaching in its entirety, and in particular, that:
“It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate."