The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring open homosexuals from serving in the military should not be changed, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said on Tuesday. Noting the need for strong rules against immoral activity, he said moral beliefs should not be sacrificed for “merely political considerations.”
Archbishop Timothy Broglio, writing in a June 1 statement, reported that “a number” of chaplains and commanding officers have expressed concerns about the effects of a policy change. He said he also responded to a request from the Chiefs of Chaplains of the Armed Forces, voicing his “considerations and concerns” about proposed changes to legislation regarding servicemen and women with a homosexual orientation.
“Catholic chaplains must show compassion for persons with a homosexual orientation, but can never condone—even silently—homosexual behavior,” he wrote, voicing concern that a change in policy might negatively affect the role of the chaplain in the pulpit, the classroom, the barracks and the office.
He noted that Catholic chaplains cannot accept or bless same-sex unions and no restrictions on the teaching of Catholic morality can be accepted.
The archbishop questioned whether the change would mean that homosexuals are authorized to engage in activities considered immoral by the Catholic Church and many other religious groups. He pointed out that morality has an effect on unit cohesion and overall morale.
“This Archdiocese exists to serve those who serve and it assists them by advocating moral behavior. The military must find ways to promote that behavior and develop strong prohibitions against any immoral activity that would jeopardize morale, good morals, unit cohesion and every other factor that weakens the mission.”
He also advised a “firm effort” to avoid any inadvertent injustices resulting because individuals or groups are “put in living situations that are an affront to good common sense.”
“Those with a homosexual orientation can expect respect and treatment worthy of their human dignity,” Archbishop Broglio wrote. “The prohibitions regarding sexual harassment and intimidation refer just as much to homosexuals as to anyone else.”
The prelate then quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says Sacred Scripture and Catholic tradition recognize homosexual acts to be “of grave depravity,” intrinsically disordered, and under no circumstances to be approved.
His quotation continued, recognizing both the respect, compassion and sensitivity due to those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies and the need to avoid unjust discrimination against them.
Changes to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are potentially “enormous and overwhelming,” he added. “Nothing should be changed until there is certainty that morale will not suffer. Sacrificing the moral beliefs of individuals or their living conditions to respond to merely political considerations is neither just nor prudent especially for the armed forces at a time of war.”
“The Archdiocese for the Military Services… urges the Congress not to repeal the current policy for the Armed Forces,” Archbishop Broglio’s statement concluded.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services ministers to those in the U.S. armed services and their families at hundreds of installations around the globe.