The brave Bishop Soto

Rod Dreher, the Crunchy Con likes the bishop:

Bill Cork brings us a real Daniel-in-the-lion’s-den story about a Catholic bishop acting like a Catholic bishop should. The occasion was the annual meeting of the National Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries, an organization whose existence is, shall we say, at cross-purposes with Catholic teaching on sexuality. California Catholic Daily reports that there were concerns among orthodox Catholics that when Sacramento Coadjutor Bishop Jaime Soto agreed to speak to the group, he would somehow legitimate them — but that’s not what happened. Excerpt:

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.”

Surprised by truth! Good for Bishop Soto, not only for having the courage to speak Catholic truth to this group, but for having the grace to stick around and listen. Both were acts of charity and witness. It’s rather telling that a board member of the heterodox organization was shocked and scandalized that a bishop showed up and taught what the Church teaches. As a Catholic priest friend writes this morning, “One has to ask why it is that so many dioceses have gay and lesbian ministers who are dissenters from Church teaching.” Yes, one does.

Go here to comment on his blog: The brave Bishop Soto – Crunchy Con

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