A leading Vatican cardinal has given an interview in which he says parents should not allow their children to have contact with gay people who engage in ‘wrong, evil’ and ‘intrinsically disordered’ relationships.
Cardinal Raymond Burke’s comments come during Pope Francis’ Synod of the Family in Rome, in which senior catholic figures have gathered from around the world to discuss family issues, including same-sex marriage.
Despite Pope Francis saying last year that he didn’t consider himself to be in a position to judge gay people, others in the Vatican clearly feel able to do so.
On Thursday, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, one of the highest ranking officials on Church Law, said that not only would the church never recognize same-sex marriage, but he could not foresee it ever issuing blessings to same-sex unions.
‘To bless this type of union … to say that they are like (heterosexual) marriages, never … To bless them is not part of the way we see Christian doctrine.’
Now, Burke – the former Archbishop of St Louis who now has the title of Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – has indicated that he feels children should be kept away from gay couples.
Playing the role of ecclesiastical agony uncle, Burke was asked by the website LifeSiteNews, ‘How should Catholic parents deal with a difficult situation like this? When planning a Christmas family gathering with grandchildren present, parents are asked by their son, who is in a homosexual relationship, if he can come and bring home with him his homosexual partner.’
‘This is a very delicate question, made more delicate by the aggressiveness of the homosexual agenda,’ replied Burke.
‘If homosexual relationships are intrinsically disordered, which indeed they are … then what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?
‘If it were another kind of relationship – something that was profoundly disordered and harmful – we wouldn’t expose our children to that relationship, to the direct experience of it.
‘And neither should we do it in the context of a family member who not only suffers from same-sex attraction, but who has chosen to live out that attraction, to act upon it, committing acts which are always and everywhere wrong, evil.’
‘Families have to find a way … to try to draw the person away from a relationship which is disordered.’
The Cardinal says ‘we know’ same-sex relationships and marriages make people ‘profoundly unhappy,’ adding that gay relationships should not be ‘imposed on family members, especially impressionable children.’
Michael Sean Winters, a writer with the National Catholic Reporter, was one commentator shocked by Burke’s comments: ‘This man’s inability to speak with even a whiff of human compassion is intrinsically disordered if you ask me.’
Reuters reported on Thursday that Father Tom Rosica, one of the Vatican officials briefing reporters on the closed-door Family Synod meetings, said a number of bishops said Church officials should stop using phrases such as ‘intrinsically disordered’ when speaking of gay people.