No, don’t laugh!
“They have been told by their bishops not to assume that every churchgoer is a heterosexual and to reflect this ‘in language and conversation’,” the paper says, and continues:
Priests are also encouraged to put up posters advertising “support services” for homosexuals, a move bound to infuriate many Catholics who believe gay sexual activity to be sinful.
The advice was welcomed by gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell as a “positive initiative which will bring great comfort to gay Catholics and their families”.
He said: “Its sympathetic, understanding message is a big improvement on the past homophobia of some Catholic pronouncements on homosexuality.”
However, he said the “laudable change of tone” was undermined by the “homophobic content of the Catholic Catechism” and by Pope Benedict XVI’s opposition to gay marriage.
Well, yes, there is just that tiny consideration.
And there is some dissent, of course.
“The advice was criticised by Lynette Burrows, a Catholic commentator [whatever one of those is], as ‘pitiful’,” says the paper.
She said it was ridiculous that Church leaders appeared to be “grovelling” to a secular agenda.
“It is things like this that are enfeebling the Church at the moment – the concentration on things that don’t matter and missing the things that do,” she said.
“What is pitiful as well as demeaning is that the Church is running after homosexual opinion but nothing is going to make homosexuals like the Catholic Church.
“This is because the Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is a disorder and whatever the bishops say will not change that.”
Well, yes. She has a point, of course. The only way to make gays like the Catholic Church is for the Catholic Church to get used to the idea that God (if you wish to see it this way) made some people gay. Well, lots of people gay, actually.
And what does she mean by grovelling to a secular agenda? Why is being nice to gays and lesbians just a secular thing, if there are Catholic gays and lesbians and said gays and lesbians are part of the “flock”? Is wanting to be nice to the Catholic Ladies’ Guild or the recipients of Catholic charities or pregnant women or the church cricket team “grovelling” to a secular agenda?