.- Former U.S. bishop's conference employee Daniel Avila said his swift resignation after writing a column linking homosexuality with the devil is not evidence of the bishops shying away from the issue.
âThe bishops have been and will continue to be strong,â said Avila, former bishops' conference policy adviser for marriage and family. âI resigned because of my desire to see the bishops continue their effective and courageous witness without distraction.â
âUnfortunately,â he added in his Nov. 7 statement to the National Catholic Register, âsome will take away from this the opposite and erroneous lesson that the Church and people of faith should refrain altogether from speaking out to influence policymakers and recede entirely from the arena of debate.â
Avila offered his resignation to the bishopsâ conference after an Oct. 28 piece of his in the Boston Pilot sparked a media firestorm.
In his piece on the meaning and importance of marriage, Avila said that the âultimate responsibilityâ of biologically innate same-sex attraction should be attributed âto the evil one, not God.â
He said that applying âthis aspect of Catholic belief to interpret the scientific data makes more sense
because it does not place God in the awkward position of blessing two mutually incompatible realitiesâsexual difference and same-sex attraction.â
Although Avila was quick to issue an apology after the article ranââbased on my own conscience and assessmentsââ he pointed out that his piece has been âexploited to divert attention from the core public-policy issues.â
âMy resignation was not offered nor do I believe that it was accepted because anyone involved thinks that the Churchâs role in the definition-of-marriage debate should be reduced,â he underscored.
Rather, he said his quitting was based âon my own realization that my continued employment was fueling public circumstances that could obstruct the mission of the Catholic Church and the bishops in the public-policy arena.â
Avila stressed that the U.S. bishops âmust advance the Churchâs policy positions recognizing the inviolable dignity of every human being and the inalterable nature of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.â
He also expressed âdeep sorrowâ for âany hurt caused by my column among those who especially need to be affirmed in their individual human dignity.â
âI do not take personally but I do take seriously the anger and ridicule expressed toward me on the Internet, by those who do not know me, as a further sign that people with same-sex attraction have suffered greatly and wrongly,â he said.
âGod loves especially those who bear great trials, such as persons struggling with same-sex attraction,â Avila added. âThough none of my reflections was intended to hurt anyone, your pain is a tragedy, and I am heartbroken.â