With the exit of Pope Benedict XVI approaching, it is not surprising that the Catholic Hierarchy is scrambling to protect its backside and try very hard to shore up the very ideas that most Catholics are kind of getting beyond. Thus, it is not surprising that Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols is not only opposed to Parliament passing marriage equality, but admits that the Vatican doesn’t believe that homosexuality exists and is ready to fire anyone on staff who marries someone of the same sex.
Well, not all Catholics are sitting for what this man has said about lesbians and gays, and especially not sitting for the fact that so many Catholic Bishops seem obsessed with social issues at the detriment of helping those in need. A 65-year-old nurse from the North of England wrote, in part:
I do not find it at all easy or even possible to uphold the church’s teaching on homosexuality. Among gay people of my acquaintance are those who have a deep spiritual life, to have one’s sexual orientation, an orientation that one is born with, described as an ‘objective disorder’ and to hear homosexual acts described as ‘intrinsically evil’ surely makes it almost impossible to feel at home or welcome in the church. It is utterly unrealistic to expect homosexual people to live celibate lives (We all know that many priests find this very difficult and sometimes impossible). The revelations of clerical sex abuse have led many of us to look with a very critical eye on the so-called celibate life and to realize that it has all to often lead to warped and destructive behavior.
The world is facing disaster on all levels and this church, when not obsessing about matters sexual, spends an inordinate amount of time on pointless activities such as changing the liturgy back to a correct translation of the original Latin – a language not spoken by Jesus but spoken by the oppressors of his time and country. Do you imagine that this obsession with precisely translated texts will win you a single new adherent? To me, you (particularly but not exclusively the hierarchy) appear to be a frightened group of men preoccupied with titles, clothing and other religious externals. You seem, with some wonderful and brave exceptions, to pay only lip service to ecumenism and matters of social justice. I would love to see the so-called ‘Princes of the Church’ (Where did all these triumphant, utterly anti-Gospel titles you award yourselves come from?) get rid of the silk, the gold, the Gucci shoes, the ridiculous tall hats, croziers, fancy soutanes etc etc and substitute bare heads and a simple pilgrim’s staff on all liturgical occasions and that might be taken as a small outward sign of your inner acceptance of fundamental Gospel values.
Nichols, of course, didn’t really like that, and replied without actually addressing the substance of what this woman said.
The Catholic Church’s upper echelons have a long history of being more concerned about their own wealth and about temporal power than they have been about helping those in need, which is usually left to the monastic orders and the laity.