For quite some time many Catholic bloggers have become quite used to criticizing our Bishops for timidity or worse. Not these days. I enjoyed reading and writing about so many Bishops rising to take on heterodox politicians such as Biden and Pelosi. As much as that was, I think this is even better.
Some people were concerned when Sacramento Coadjutor Bishop Jaime Soto accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries held last week. If I knew about it, I would have been concerned too. It was too easy to imagine a Bishop showing up at such a conference to tell them that God love’s them just the way He made them and that they should never be discriminated against. Too easy to imagine technically true platitudes that are completely besides the point but designed to send the message, “Don’t worry about what the Church teaches, you are just fine.”
I suppose that is what the attendee’s at this conference expected too. That is emphatically not what they got!
[Cal Catholic Daily] But there was noting ambiguous about Bishop Soto’s remarks to the group. “Sexual relations between people of the same sex can be alluring for homosexuals, but it deviates from the true meaning of the act and distracts them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all,” Bishop Soto said. “For this reason, it is sinful. Married love is a beautiful, heroic expression of faithful, life-giving, life-creating love. It should not be accommodated and manipulated for those who would believe that they can and have a right to mimic its unique expression.”
At least five members of the audience walked out during the bishop’s address. When he finished speaking, there was general silence — with only a very small number applauding.
The chairman of the conference then announced that the bishop would answer questions at a reception that would be held in another room. That led to widespread expressions of disapproval from members of the audience, who said they wanted to be able to express their responses immediately. It was agreed that those who wanted to speak would line up. The bishop was told twice by the chairman that he was free to leave if he wanted — or to stay and listen. Bishop Soto stayed and sat quietly listening to every response.
A series of about eight speakers came to the microphone to express their unhappiness with what the bishop had said — and what they felt he had not said. One woman said, in essence, “We know what the Church says. What we wanted you to talk about is the value of our lived experience as lesbian women and gay men.”
Two speakers — one man and one woman — thanked the bishop for his address and voiced their agreement with what he had to say.
While the audience members were responding to the bishop’s remarks, a board member of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries came up to one of the tables in the room and said, “On behalf of the board, I apologize. We had no idea Bishop Soto was going to say what he said.”
Wow! Wow! Wow! My hat is off to Bishop Soto for the courage and conviction displayed by preaching such an unpopular but needed message in such a hostile setting.
I am particularly struck by the board member apologizing because he had no idea what the Bishop would say. I imagine not. This gives me hope that perhaps in the not too distant future we will once again expect Bishops to teach what the Church teaches, no matter who the audience is.
I have one lingering question though. I can’t help but wonder if the attendees enjoyed their spanking?