Is it possible to agree with a secularist point of view, which clearly contradicts Church teaching, while still maintaining ones support for the teaching of the Church? This is the question I have been pondering this week. The reason for this consideration was because of a statement, which was made by Gunther Simmermacher, the editor of The Southern Cross, in last week’s editorial.
Simmermacher writes: “Let us be clear, however, about this: . . . Those who are tolerant of the legalisation of same-sex unions do not, specifically, propagate a reform of the Church’s teachings on sexuality.”[i]
What I understand Simmermacher to be saying is that I can, as a Catholic, accept the legislation of same-sex unions, even though my conscience, which is formed by the teaching of the Church, clearly informs me that such a union is in fact contrary to the will of God. In other words it is okay to ignore my conscience.
Alternatively, what Simmermacher may be suggesting is that a Catholic can hold differing opinions for different areas of his or her life. The Catholic can accept the Church’s teaching on same-sex unions as a valid teaching, while also accepting the contradictory secular view that claims that same sex unions are, contrary to what the Church believes, acceptable.
I believe that this statement by Simmermacher is just silly. It reflects exactly what is wrong with our South African Catholic newspaper – The Southern Cross.
To be Catholic is to follow our Lord Jesus. It is an acceptance of the way of life that our Lord wants for us. It is turning our back on all those worldly matters that are so appealing, yet so completely opposed to the will of God. It is not easy. It often sets us apart from the world and earns us ridicule. Yet, if we claim to love our Lord, we must follow him completely, without reserve, in all areas of our life.
Catholics believe that homosexual acts are contrary to the will of God. Therefore Catholics cannot condone same-sex unions because, in doing so, we condone, by implication, the homosexual acts that may accompany such a same-sex union. (What else is the purpose of such a union?)
It simply is inconceivable that a Catholic could be “tolerant” of an act, like same-sex unions, that offends God and still, at the same time, claim to be truly Catholic and completely accepting of the Church’s teaching. That’s hypocrisy. That’s just complete and utter nonsense.
It is, sadly, the politically correct approach that many adopt today because they simply do not have the moral backbone to stand up for what they believe in. Instead they morph continuously so that they are all things to all men.
Every week Simmermacher is presenting, to Catholics readers in South Africa, a lukewarm approach to Catholicism. The newspaper is disguising dissent as mature and constructive debate, an error that Pope Benedict XVI specifically warned us against.