THE ARTICLE IS disturbing, to say the least, not because Christian compassion is advocated for our brothers and sisters struggling with their sexual orientations, but because Father Renckens' arguments and claims are clearly not in line with Catholic moral teaching.

Father Renckens seems to sacrifice objective truth for compassion and political correctness. As a result, everyone I know who has read this article is confused about the diocesan position on this subject.

The analogies used in comparing natural dispositions like height and race to disordered sexual orientations defy common sense and is irrelevant. There is little distinction in this article between homosexual persons and homosexual lifestyles, attitudes and practices. At certain points in this write-up, there are implicit suggestions that support such choices and cohabitations.

Father Renckens implies that homosexuals sometimes leave the Catholic Church for other churches because of the lack of openness and support in traditional Catholic teachings. Should we change doctrine then just to keep different communities happy and comfortable in the church? Reading on, it becomes hard to distinguish between relativism and human compassion. The article blurs moral boundaries for the most part and is a confusing conundrum of thoughts.

The only reference to official church teaching in this long article comes in two short paragraphs at the very end. Even then, he quotes from a privately authored book and not the Catechism of the Catholic Church or some other conciliar document. That's selective reasoning enough, but Father goes even further to question the wisdom and righteousness of church teaching in the second half of his quotation, and ends part one of his discourse with a hope that future churchdocuments will evolve to reflect his personal theology.

In all fairness, this is only part one of a two-part reflection, confined to the safe refuge of a column entitled "Viewpoints". And the author could well clarify his intentions and doctrinal fidelities in the next issue.

Nevertheless, this is the sharing of a Catholic priest published under the banner of the official diocesan newspaper, under the auspices of the archbishop, and with a major circulation. It's safe to say there is no such thing as a personal viewpoint under those conditions; especially when those views are given more than half a page.

What message is being communicated here - that the diocese tacitly endorses such reckless expositions from its priests, or that the editors of CatholicNews don't even check the orthodoxy of its content? I believe that it's neither, but simply that things sometimes slip through.

I hope that this little reminder will improve the journalistic quality of a Catholic newspaper we've all come to appreciate, and which I pray we can still confidently bring home to our families and children.

    Thomas Tan


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