I might as well arrange a few deck chairs while everyone keeps dancing, eh?
I was recently asked to share my thoughts on a discussion of Cdl. Woelki’s recent promotion to head of the archdiocese of Cologne, particularly in light of his remarks in 2012 about homosexuality:
“If two homosexuals take responsibility for each other, if they are loyal to each other over the long term, then one should see this in the same way as heterosexual relations.”
The key defense of Woelki that I’ve seen is based on the idea that he was merely (ahem!) comparing long-term, loyal homosexual relationships outside of marriage to long-term, loyal heterosexual relationships outside of marriage (à la the clarification offered by Woelki’s spokesman, Stefan Förner, in this KATH.net article).
With a defense like that, who needs critics?
A prince of the Church does not need to be promoting the idea that homosexuality is just another side of human sexuality. There is a qualitative difference between non-marital homosexual and non-marital heterosexual relations. The latter can and should be encouraged to termiante in matrimony, whereas the former can never reach that goal in its own terms. An ‘immature’, or ‘irregular’ heterosexual relationship is objectively ordered towards the proper end of human sexuality, whereas homosexual relationships are poised in the exact opposite direction. The only way irregular heterosexual relations can be sanctioned by the Church is if they cease or become perfected in marriage. By contrast, there is no way the Church can sanction homoseoxual relations. Woelki is far too intelligent to be unaware of this difference, so he’s being reckless with the truth–and not surprisingly his brand of reckless pastoralism is blossoming under Pope Francis.
Moreover, in response to the question of whether the Church must change its stance on homsexuality — asked by a Jesuit, natch, who likened the Church to a driver speeding the wrong way down the Autobahn — Woelki prefaced his key statement with nothing less than a reference to marriage, and provided no qualifiers about which kinds of heterosexual relationships he had in mind. All we’re getting from his spokesman is damage control, a typical maneuver of this papacy, while Woelki himself is elevated without a personal retraction–but again, like papa, like cardinal.
In any case, here is the fullest report of Woelki’s comments that I’ve seen so far:
“Woelki antwortet, was Bischöfe so antworten auf diese Frage: Die Kirche sehe die Ehe von Mann und Frau ,im Schöpferwillen Gottes verankert’. Doch er belässt es nicht dabei – und da wird es spannend. ,Wir müssen uns über diese Frage weiter Gedanken machen’, sagt er. Sinngemäß fügt er an, dass man nicht alle homosexuellen Beziehungen über einen Kamm scheren können. Und wörtlich: ,Wenn zwei Homosexuelle Verantwortung füreinander übernehmen, wenn sie dauerhaft und treu miteinander umgehen, muss man das in ähnlicher Weise sehen wie heterosexuelle Beziehungen.
„,Wow’, raunt es im Saal. Das Lehramt der Katholischen Kirche müsse sich mit solchen Entwicklungen beschäftigen, leider dauere das oft lang und helfe den Menschen nichts, die heute leben, sagt Woelki. Es gibt Bischöfe, für die klingt das nach Revolution.’“
“Woelki replied as bishops always reply to such a question: The Church sees marriage between man and woman as ‘anchored in the creative will of God’. Yet he did not leave the matter there–at which point things got interesting. ‘We must pursue further thinking on this question,’ he said. In the same sense, he added that not all homosexual relationships can be judged in the same way [or assessed by the same standard]. Explicitly: ‘When two [active] homosexuals accept responsibility for each other, [and] treat each other with enduring loyalty, it must be seen in a similar way as heterosexual relationships.
“A ‘wow’ murmured throughout the conference room. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church must engage with such developments, otherwise it will take a long time and [still] not help people living in this age, said Woelki. To some bishops, that sounds like revolution.”
So. Yeah. He’s got mad Francis Mojo in his favor. We live in hopeful times, eh,Dale?
So. Yeah. Woelki’s got mad Francis Mojo in his corner, and we’ll never know how lucky we are to live in such times of hope.
Lastly, keep in mind how little traction talk of “the Creator’s will” has for orthodoxy when coming from a German prelate. Kasper is perfectly able to endorse “official” catechesis on the matter, yet is also promoted for undermining it in the most pastoral of ways. Likewise, Schönborn invoked God’s creative will for men and women in order to commit his most recent scandal in the surging Gay Pride Papal Praxis Parade.
As for this entire dispute, it’s astounding how indefatigable some people’s normalcy bias is, even at this point. Is it really that hard to read the signs of the times? Is it really our Catholic duty to coddle a Modernist enabler at the helm?
P.S. Have we been alerted of a dozen or so things to know and share about Woelki yet?