Moia comments glowingly about Radaelli's response: "...the Archbishop of Gorizia, Carlo Roberto Maria Redaelli, threw everyone off. He refused the role of the judge, he didn't absolve but neither did he condemn. He invited the community to reflect together to understand if, even from such a divisive occurrence, one can receive aspects of grace. An intervention in search of moderation and of that invitation to welcome, discern and integrate that impregnates the magisterium of Pope Francis."
As emerges clearly from the Archbishop of Gorizia's letter-masterpiece," writes Moia "no one has preconceived prescriptions, no one is able to reveal, with the stroke of a magic wand, solutions capable of overcoming centuries of fears, prejudices and closures certainly far from the spirit of the Gospel."
For his part, Fr. Fragiacomo has questioned the wisdom of the archbishop praised by Moia, especially because he informed the archbishop about De Just's situation four years before the controversial civil ceremony: "Marco Di Just has been the group leader and AGESCI group leader for some time, he leads a group of twenty-five teenagers ranging from 16 to 18 years old. He has been living with his partner for nine years and last February he 'came out,'" he said in 2017.
"Four years ago I reported the situation to the Archbishop of Gorizia, Archbishop Carlo Maria Redaelli, to find out if this boy could count on a spiritual accompaniment given the delicate role he plays as an educator. Nobody answered me. The educational message that passes to kids is that joining up with a man is normal. As an educator he is a good leader, from the point of view of the faith, the whole scout group has many shortcomings because, in fact, there is no real path of (formation in) faith. I know because my nephew is part of it."
After holding up Radealli as a model of pastoral leadership, Moia turns to the largest study to date on the genetic basis of homosexuality, published Aug. 29 in Science magazine and based on the genomes of nearly 500,000 people in the US and the UK. The study, he claims, proves a biological disposition to homosexuality.
"No one in substance 'chooses' whether to become homosexual or heterosexual," he writes.
But his conclusion is the opposite of what the study actually concludes, according to the magazine Nature: "'There is no gay gene', says lead study author Andrea Ganna, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ganna and his colleagues estimate that up to 25% of sexual behavior can be explained by genetics, with the rest influenced by environmental and cultural factors - a figure similar to the findings of smaller studies."
Moia closes his chapter with hope that his reflections have provided a model of pastoral care.
"If, thanks to these reflections, it will be a little less difficult to offer a more serene and more efficacious pastoral proposal for people who live a 'different' sexuality and who until now, in many situations, have felt left in the margins of the community, we will have brought our little seed, of useless servants, to the construction of a more welcoming and more authentically evangelical Church."
Before presenting the 12 interviews, the book offers a series of "quotes" from Pope Francis related to homosexuality. The collection includes several uncorroborated statements, including the claim from Chilean abuse survivor Juan Cruz that Pope Francis "accepted" his homosexuality, and an America Magazine account from Fr. James Martin of his meeting Pope Francis on Sept. 30th, 2019; an account that has been contested by some U.S. bishops.
"It should also be said that the pope's words were frequently misunderstood, manipulated, very often read out of context, to attribute different interpretations to them based on the opinion of those who reported them. Just to offer the opportunity to get an objective idea, not 'oriented,' we have put together, without comments, a short collection of the sentences of Francis on homosexuality," Moia wrote to explain the book's use of those quotes.
"The difference in depth and credibility between what the Pope pronounced during official travel and reported on the Vatican website and what, instead, told by the various interlocutors who report the words of Francis pronounced during private meetings is evident. We have chosen to give space to these testimonies, at least to the most credible ones, because they still represent a useful contribution to 'get an idea'."
Among those who offer personal testimony in the book is Gianni Geraci, who joined the group Il Guado – an Italian version of the U.S. organization "Dignity"- founded by Fr. Dominco Pezzini, a priest of the diocese of Lodi, who in 2010 was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the serial sexual abuse of an immigrant minor from Bangladesh.
"The problem is that we are still too few: there should be thousands of homosexual believers who, finally, find the courage to say in the parishes and communities where they work: 'Here. We who are the catechists of your children; we who sing and direct the choirs at our parishes; we who play the role of readers, acolytes, priests, educators and animators in the church. Here, we are homosexuals,'" Geraci, who opposes the need for a celibate life, said in a 2010 interview with Queerblog.it:
"There is a wrong idea of Catholicism that can be summarized in this statement: 'Being Catholic means obeying the pope and the bishops, especially when they talk about faith and morals.' I do not deny that many observant Catholics would endorse this statement, but this does not take away from its structural inaccuracy," Geraci added in that interview.
The book closes with some questions from Jesuit priest Fr. Giuseppe Piva, national coordinator of the apostolate of spiritual exercises and of the "Spirituality of the Frontiers," for the Jesuits.
"Let's ask ourselves: are we in favor of an integration of homosexual persons into our ecclesial contexts that doesn't hide but promotes respect for their orientation as something that - as the magisterium affirms - in itself has nothing of morally imputable?" Piva asks.
Asking next whether the Church can accept those who identify as gay in positions of pastoral leadership, Piva says his are "questions that do not implicate any revolution or revisitation of the doctrine; but rather they support the accents of the most recent pontifical magisterium that, in taking up points of the Catechism, very strongly underscore the refusal of any discrimination."
"A still more direct and no less urgent question: what should be the attitude of pastoral operators towards Christian homosexual persons who instead live as a couple and ask to be welcomed into the community? Can we agree that the criteria of welcome, accompaniment, discernment and integration offered in Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia for 'irregular' matrimonial situations also apply to these situations of cohabitation?"
Piva's next questions, however, do suggest a shift from Catholic anthropology, asking:
"And then, beginning from what is affirmed in Amoris Laetitia on the theme of integration, we arrive to the most delicate and problematic question of today, both for 'irregular' matrimonial situations (cohabiting; divorced and in a new union,) and - to this point - also for homosexual unions: the necessary and opportune ecclesial integration of these 'irregular' couples, heterosexual and homosexual, after an attentive path of discernment that authentically evaluates in the internal forum the subjective and personal responsibility in these objectively disordered situations, could this arrive even to a sacramental integration? Or, more simply, could an opportune integration allow a person, despite living in situations of this kind, to receive an ecclesial educational responsibility (educator, catechist, animator, head, etc.)? This also considering other, no less essential aspects of his Christian testimony."
CNA asked the Italian bishops' conference whether the book represents the organization. A spokesperson declined to go on record, arguing that the book had "nothing to do with the conference," and that all questions should be addressed to the director of L'Avvenire, Marco Tarquinio, who has made his opinion known within the book.