For a while now, Catholics have been fair game for prejudice and assault. Even the so-called ‘mainstream media’ have run articles admitting that ‘Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice’. In an address before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi asserted that the Catholic perspective has merit and value on the world stage and demanded that our opinions be accorded the same respect as any other.
As a Catholic apologist…well, perhaps Catholic pugilist might be more appropriate… the Citizen is accustomed to arguing against the double-standard of the secular humanist. I never cease to be amazed at how people can be so tolerant of any position – except ours. Homosexuals are perfectly justified in disrupting the Catholic Mass; Catholics are condemned for arguing against gay marriage – even if it is simply a doctrine in accordance with our faith. It’s perfectly acceptable for taxpayer dollars to be spent on abortion, but when Catholics argue against the practice, we are hatemongers. Catholic theologians, philosophers, artists, scientists, and writers have been responsible for practically every great social, political, and intellectual movement for the past two millennia. Yet Catholics are vilified as narrow-minded, reactionary, and misogynistic. Archbishop Tomasi swung the bat for Catholics at a UN.
The archbishop argued that the United Nations has created a policy that mandates homosexual activity is a fundamental human right. He stated that these attempts to silence Catholics, and other critics of homosexual practice, were themselves human rights violation according to the council’s own standards. This is germane in the United States where criticism of homosexual activity or behavior can be considered a ‘hate crime’ by the United States government. Tomasi strongly condemned “all violence that is targeted against people because of their sexual feelings and thoughts, or sexual behaviors.” He stated that articulating moral opposition to homosexual practices does not fall into this category. He argued that there is a growing trend to stigmatize, harass, and – in the United States – possibly prosecute people for expressing a tenet of their faith.
The Catholic Church draws a distinction between homosexual urges and homosexual activity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church articulates the Church’s stance on this issue in paragraphs 2357-2359. Paragraph 2358 is the core of this article:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
In paragraph 2359, the Catechism states that homosexuals are called to lead chaste lives. At no time does the Catechism call for the punishment or exclusion of homosexuals – if they live chaste lives. As a point of order, the Church calls upon ALL members of the Catholic community to live chaste and moral lives. Heterosexual activities outside the boundaries of sacramental marriage are considered as sin as well…a fact that critics of the Church tend to gloss over in their ad hominen attacks.
Archbishop Tomasi is calling for an end of attacks on Catholics for expressing our values in a legal and appropriate manner in national and international arenas. Catholic criticism of gay marriage has resulted in government actions against Catholic adoption agencies in Great Britain and in several states in the United States. Catholic criticism of gay marriage led to legislative attacks against the Catholic church. In Connecticut, two gay legislators launched a crusade against the Catholic church in the state for our opposition to gay marriage legislation. They sponsored Connecticut Raised Bill 1098 – a bill that specifically targeted the Roman Catholic Church in Connecticut and would have destroyed the legal hierarchy of the diocese, placing financial and management authority in specially constituted lay boards. Their blatant attack on a group that disagreed with them was too much for even a famously liberal state to tolerate and the bill died.
The Citizen has been called hateful, mean, spiteful, vicious, and worse over the years. Why? Because I exercise my rights as a citizen to seek to have my positions, beliefs, and ideals represented? Because I dare to say that something is wrong according to my religion? Because I dare to apply my Catholic values to public life? Yep.
For those reasons, I am fair game for every sanctimonious humanist, every ‘anything goes’ Christian, and everyone in between. Their personal opinions have merit while I am fair game for their harassment and stigmatizing.
But that’s OK…I’m only Catholic, right?