As a priest engaged for many years in pastoral ministry to people who experience same-sex attractions, I read your recent public comments about Catholic teaching on homosexual acts with serious concern.
You suggested, Cardinal Hollerich, that “the sociological-scientific foundation of” the Catholic doctrine that homosexual acts are immoral “is no longer correct,” and you called for “a fundamental revision of Church teaching” and “a change in doctrine.” You took the same stance on this issue, Cardinal Marx, and justified your position by remarking that “the Catechism is not set in stone” and that “one may also question what it says” on this important moral teaching.
Yet the paragraph of the Catechism to which you refer presents this teaching in a remarkably firm way. That is, it notes that the teaching is clearly based on Sacred Scripture and consistently taught by the tradition of the Church (no. 2357). This invocation of Scripture and Tradition is unusual in the Catechism, but appears often when the Church explains the charism of infallibility. Its use here clearly means that this teaching, which flows from the anthropological fact of the nature of sexed human bodies, is an infallible teaching of the ordinary universal magisterium.
When each of us was preparing for ordination, like all of our brother deacons, priests and bishops, we made a public Profession of Faith and swore an Oath of Fidelity. When we took that oath, we swore in regard to such teachings that we would “hold fast to” the Church’s doctrine, “faithfully hand it on and explain it, and … avoid any teachings contrary to it.” We invoked the Holy Trinity and the holy Gospels to witness to our honesty and sincerity.
Your Eminences, I beg you, please be faithful to your oath.
To violate your oath over this teaching would do great harm to the very people you sincerely want to help. “Neglect of the Church’s teaching prevents” these brothers and sisters of ours “from receiving the help that they need and deserve,” as the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote in 1986. To claim that this definitive teaching can change raises false hopes among our brothers and sisters, and is sure to leave them feeling more overlooked and resentful each time the Church faithfully restates it. By reinforcing this misunderstanding of the divine ordering of sexuality, you encourage them to seek happiness in relationships that ultimately cannot satisfy, rather than to seek fulfillment in chaste friendships.