Basel, Switzerland, September 13, 2019
The Diocese of Basel is one of the largest Catholic dioceses in Switzerland, and according to the Catholic news site Church Militant, its bishop, director of communications, and one of its prominent deacons have all issued support or approval of same-sex “marriages.”
This was revealed, when Hansruedi Huber, the director of communications for the diocese reportedly expressed support on the part of the diocese for proposed regulations that would legalize so-called same-sex “marriage.” The issue is being framed as being for the good of children raised by homosexuals.
The site Church Militant quotes him as saying:
“We welcome the proposed regulations that give homosexual partnerships a stable and reliable legal coverage. It is important to us that children who grow up in same-sex partnerships receive a legal framework that serves the best interests of the child."
According to Huber, the diocese's willingness to bless such unions must be based on a distinction between a wedding and a blessing: “These must differ in content and form from the church wedding,” he said. As the Union of Orthodox Journalists notes, Huber did not elaborate concretely on what these differences would be.
Regardless of the major differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, a basic understanding of dogmatic theology, Scripture, Patristics, common sense, or any combination of those things would raise a major red flag, as regardless of whether you call it a “blessing” as distinct from the Sacrament of marriage between a man and a woman, homosexuality itself is intrinsically a sinful state.
As opposed to the diocesan officials’ stance, the catechism of the Catholic church says: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’”
Markus Burri, a “deacon” of the Basel Diocese and member of the Conference of Pastoral Managers, spoke to the effect that one must follow the guidelines of the diocese, which he does not believe rule out blessing homosexual couples: “Basically, I am convinced that there is nothing wrong with blessing people on their own life path. However, I do not know what the practice looks like with individual pastors,” he said.
Even more jarring is the position of their “bishop”, Felix Gmür, who reportedly thinks the Catholic church needs to accept a broader understanding of family. In a 2015 statement, he accepted homosexual persons without reservation: “As a bishop, I feel responsible for all people―regardless of their background, education or sexual orientation. For me that means that I—like everyone else—accept homosexual people unreservedly.”
Prior to the Second Vatican Council, the position of the Catholic church on homosexuality was very clear, making such liberal changes very noticeable.
In light of this, a New York Times report in which gay Catholic priests openly tell their stories is even more alarming. According to the report, gay men possibly make between at least 30-40% of the American Catholic clergy, according to dozens of estimates from gay priests themselves and researchers. Some priests say the number is closer to 75%.
One priest in Wisconsin even said he “assumed every priest was gay unless he knows for a fact he is not.”
While that is most certainly an exaggeration, this statement, coupled together with support for homosexuality among bishops, reveals that homosexuality is a serious problem in the Roman church, and this taken together with hundreds of criminal cases of pedophilia and sex abuse paints a horrifying picture.
Concerns over homosexual matters have also been raised in the Orthodox world after a major conference held in England in which a group of academic Orthodox theologians met and discussed certain issues with LGBT people. Within Orthodoxy, it seems to be a very specific crowd of Western-leaning liberals promoting this position.
The conference in England featured many of the same participants who had gathered at a similar conference in Amsterdam in June 2017, including Drs. George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou of Fordham and Dr. Brendan Gallaher of Exeter University.
Also participating, among others, was Sister Vassa Larin, who gave advice to a mother that could lead her to believe that her son's interest in a homosexual relationship is acceptable.
It is extremely valuable to always trace such complicated issues to a source. The conference in England was co-hosted by the “Orthodox Christian Studies Center” of Fordham University, a Jesuit university. Michael Huffington an openly bisexual media tycoon and supporter of gay marriage, also supports ecumenism and union with the Catholic church via his foundation at another Jesuit university—Loyola Marymount University.
One need only take a look at Ukrainian history to understand the deep trouble the Jesuits caused in Orthodox history.