Catholics Concerned for Parramatta Call on Bishop Long to Affirm His Support for Catholic Doctrine
Catholics concerned for Parramatta...
Call on the Most Reverend Vincent Long ofm conv, Bishop of Parramatta, to provide clarification on recent comments made during his Ann D Clarke lecture on August 18, 2016.
When a Bishop within the Catholic Church is ordained to the Episcopate he is asked a series of questions that he is to affirm. The particular questions that are asked by the Principal consecrator that we wish to draw attention to include:
1. Are you resolved to be faithful and constant in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ?
2. Are you resolved to maintain the deposit of faith, entire and incorrupt, as handed down by the apostles and professed by the Church everywhere and at all times?
On June 23, 2011, Bishop Long responded to these questions in the affirmative at his Episcopal Ordination as an Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne.
On August 18, 2016, Bishop Long delivered the Ann D Clarke lecture where his statements were either ambiguous, or in contradiction to Catholic teaching.
Bishop Long commented the following:
'We cannot talk about the integrity of creation, the universal and inclusive love of God, while at the same time colluding with the forces of oppression in the ill-treatment of racial minorities, women and homosexual persons. It won’t wash with young people, especially when we purport to treat gay people with love and compassion and yet define their sexuality as “intrinsically disordered”.’
We as members of the Catholic Church in Parramatta and broader metropolitan Sydney are signing this petition to ask, with the greatest respect for Bishop Long, for him please to affirm his complete loyalty to the magisterium of the Catholic Church, and to explain how his published statements can be reconciled with the Church’s teaching.
As Bishop Long states in his lecture “If one can detect the direction of Pope Francis’ pontificate, it has something to do with the movement from security to boldness.” The media and political class appear to be supportive of same-sex marriage and do not believe homosexuality or its desire to be wrong. Conversely, the catechism states:
“2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 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.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”
The traditional understanding is thus, that the act is intrinsically disordered but we are to, like with all sinners, show compassion and help them repent towards God so that they may enjoy the far more joyful and fulfilling life to be shared with Christ and the Saints in heaven.
As such, we ask Bishop Long to please clarify that he believes:
- Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and;
- Under no circumstances can they be approved.
Bishop Long made is clear in his lecture that he was a strong supporter of Pope Francis and the need for boldness from the Church’s leaders. We therefore implore His Lordship to be bold and clarify his belief in the Catholic faith, even if it may be a ‘movement from security’ at this current time.
Bishop Long raised a beautiful point in his lecture that “from where I stand, the arrival of Pope Francis and his emphasis on servant leadership have unambiguously signaled this new era.” We please ask Bishop Long to continue this pastoral work in serving God and His people by proclaiming the teaching’s of the gospel and magisterium, a proclamation he made at his Episcopal Ordination.
We wholeheartedly agree with Bishop Long that “we cannot be a strong moral force and an effective prophetic voice in society if we are simply defensive, inconsistent and divisive with regards to certain social issues.” It is time for us to be outward looking, consistent and united in our dedication to God and His Church’s unambiguous teachings.
Catholics are looking to their leaders to provide them with the teachings of the Church. No doubt, the elevation to Bishop calls the recipient to humility. With this awareness, the successor of the apostles relinquishes any personal beliefs that may contradict Catholic teaching. He is guided solely by the teaching of Christ and the apostles.
As such we welcome Bishop Long’s true service to the Church in presenting to his flock the teachings of the Catholic Faith with clarity.