Saturday, 13 March 2010

Separating Chaff from the Wheat

From: the Archdiocese of Denver, March 08, 2010

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput announced today that children of parents involved in a lesbian relationship will be denied further education in the local Catholic school system. Chaput defended this "painful situation" by stating "The church cannot change these teachings because in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ." The Denver diocese posted the following notice on their website: "Parents living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their action to disqualify their children from enrolment. To allow children in these circumstances to continue in our school would be a cause of confusion for the student in that what they are being taught in school conflicts with what they experience in the home."

It is clear that Bishop Chaput believes that lesbianism is a sin. It is also clear that he wants to separate the Church and its schools from anyone who does not follow strict Catholic teaching. What is not clear is how this is against the teachings of Jesus Christ. When Jesus spoke about 'separating the chaff from the wheat' he was speaking about the need for us to recognize the True-Self from the False-Self. We honour the True-Self when we are truthful about our (sinful) or false nature. We are all Holy creations capable of many un-holy actions. To be truthful about our false-self we must learn how to embrace it with our True-Self. When we deny our false nature we will begin to live out of a false piety. We will also begin to see ourselves as separate from and often as better than others. However, Archbishop Chaput wants to physically separate two aspects of the same body. This is to deny our false-self. History is filled with examples of this 'holier than thou' attitude. This negative attitude will only fuel more excuses for ethnic cleansing and racial hatred. When are we going to learn?

When Bishop Chaput states that "The church cannot change these teachings because in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ" he challenges our understanding of God's incomprehensible compassion and understanding. A church that cannot change is a church that remains stuck in the past and refuses to embrace reality or the present. When a religious community gradually evolves to the point where it encourages laity to read scripture interpretively should it not also bring church teachings into the present? (as Vatican II attempted) The world today has become a global village consisting of many religions, races and beliefs. If we are to get along together can the Catholic Church truly afford to remain an island unto itself?

Archbishop Charles Chaput suggests that children can become easily confused by conflicting teachings. Jesus understood that children are better equipped to handle conflict than most adults when he said that "the Kingdom of God belongs to them." Through their innocence children do not hold grudges, compete or think they are holier then the next person. All education, especially for adults, must teach how we are to live in harmony among conflicting ideas or beliefs. Conflict can then become a means of spiritual growth, understanding and peace.

Finally, why did Archbishop Chaput single out the 'sins' of lesbianism? Surely, not every parent with children in the Denver Catholic school system rigorously follows all Catholic teaching on matters such as birth control, divorce, abortion, church attendance, etc., Is it not time for the Church to teach that God is more interested in our potential then in our sins?

Readers may now wish to read the response from the two lesbian mothers as reported to the National Catholic Reporter at:

1 comment:

redtown said...
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