Support Archbishop Broglio!
(Left–Archbishop Timothy Broglio, U.S. Air Force photo/SSgt Anthony Nelson Jr)
On the Feast of our beloved patron, St. Robert Bellarmine, His Excellency Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese of Military Services, USA issued the following to Catholic Military Chaplains and also included some words to Catholic Commanders. Catholics in the military are very near and dear to the Bellarmine Forum–not only do we have supporters who are Active Duty and retired military, but several of our board members are veterans. Pray for Archbishop Broglio and the chaplains in the miltary. Offer an extra rosary for their perseverance amidst an ever encroahing and anti-Christian federal government. Perhaps even write a note of support! –John M. DeJak, President, The Bellarmine Forum
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio Issues Guidance to Catholic Military Chaplains on Same-Gender Relationships
Statement reiterates Church teaching on homosexuality
WASHINGTON, D.C. – His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, has sent to all priests and deacons in the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) a statement entitled “Renewed Fidelity in favor of Evangelization.” Signed on September 17, the memorial of St. Robert Bellarmine, the document provides guidance for Catholic chaplains and contract priests and deacons who may encounter ministry situations involving Catholic or non-Catholic parties in same gender “marital” relationships.
Here follows the text of the statement from Archbishop Broglio:
Renewed Fidelity in favor of Evangelization
As members of the Church founded by Jesus Christ to meet the needs of the baptized and to proclaim that good news about the salvation given by Him, we are also aware of His clear teaching about the danger of scandal (Mt. 18:6). This world is a pilgrimage to life without end. At the conclusion of our walk through life we must stand before the Throne of Grace to give an accounting of our fidelity.
St. Paul reminds priests to be all things to all people (1Cor. 9:22). A clear disservice is rendered if the truth of the Gospel is confused by the actions of those ordained to disseminate that truth. The current situation makes it necessary to reiterate with clarity the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuality. However, it must never be forgotten that the human condition occasions many failings. St. Paul continually reminds us of that fact in his letters to the communities of believers.
Priests ordained to minister Word and Sacrament and endorsed to serve Catholics in the Armed Forces, the Veterans Administration Medical Centers, and those who serve the US Federal Government outside the borders of the United States of America know that theirs is a twenty-four-seven vocation. By speech, action, and example they witness to the truth revealed by the Lord in all that they do (see Eph. 4:14).
Recent changes in interpretations of the laws of the Federal Government oblige me to recall what is clearly held by the Catholic Church. At the same time I am grateful to the Congress of the United States for its passage of renewed conscience-protection language, specifically for chaplains in the Armed Forces.
No Catholic priest or deacon may be forced by any authority to witness or bless the union of couples of the same gender. No Catholic priest or deacon can be obliged to assist at a “Strong Bonds” or other “Marriage Retreat”, if that gathering is also open to couples of the same gender. A priest who is asked to counsel non-Catholic parties in a same-gendered relationship will direct them to a chaplain who is able to assist. Catholic parties will, of course, be encouraged by the priest to strive to live by the teaching of the Gospel.
Participation in retirements, changes of command, and promotion ceremonies is possible, as long as the priest is not required to acknowledge or approve of a “spouse” of the same gender.
While the tradition of the Catholic Church always tries to find reasons to bury the dead, a priest may not be placed in a situation where his assistance at a funeral for a Catholic would give the impression that the Church approves of same sex “marital” relationships (see CIC, c. 1184, §1,3º). In the case of doubt, the Archbishop for the Military Services, USA must be consulted (see CIC, c. 1184, §2).
Obviously, anyone who is known to be in a sinful relationship is excluded from ministries in the Catholic community. While this list is not intended to cover every situation, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, altar servers, catechists, and members of the Catholic Council immediately come to mind.
We are also mindful of the Lord’s words, “Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone…” (Jn. 8:7b). The Church must minister to all regardless of their sexual inclination. While the invitation to conversion cannot be diluted, the door to the mercy of Christ, obtained through His Cross, must be kept open. Priests and deacons will be guided by the principles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (cf. nos. 2358-2359) and never forget that it is the sin that is hated and never the sinner.
In the quest for continued fidelity to the truth of the Gospel, it must not be forgotten that estimates indicate that same-gender couples represent less than half of one percent of those in the Armed Forces. While every individual is important, such a small group cannot be allowed to mandate policy for all.
Guidance for Catholics in Command Positions
I am not unaware that the faithful entrusted to my pastoral care also include those Catholics who exercise command positions. They can be faced with additional questions as they fulfill their responsibilities to those above and below them in the chain of command. Consequently in response to a doubt raised by the AMS regarding the question of a person’s possible cooperation with evil, the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) stated:
“Commanders of United States military installations/veterans’ facilities (hereafter, ‘commanders’) would not be engaging in morally illicit cooperation, but rather tolerable remote mediate material cooperation with evil by implementing federal employee benefits accruing pursuant to same-sex marriage, as required by United States v. Windsor. Our determination is contingent on the situations in which commanders are unable to avoid such cooperation without jeopardizing their own just right to their employment security for themselves and/or their families. This is also contingent on the commander making known his/her objection to being required to so participate, as well as on attempting through legal channels to continue to accomplish changes in policy consistent with the historic understanding of marriage and family as based on natural moral law. Also, if without incurring a demotion of loss or downgrade of position/rank/grade or other serious harm, there is a mechanism to have others more senior in the chain of command to carry out the implementation of such policy, this should be pursued.”
Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services
Washington, DC, 17 September 2013, Memorial of St. Robert Bellarmine
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This sure is a balanced and thoughtful standard, and could not be either released or followed without a costly measure of moral courage. I ache for the Archbishop, those in command, and those Catholics in the military who have all been hung out to dry by Pope Francis’ imprudent remarks quoted today that we Catholics are putting too much attention on these matters of human sexuality, without any regard on his part (and in fact, combined with other remarks regarding conscience, with much misunderstanding on his part) for the possibility of lost souls. We’ve most of us had the misfortune to have a boss like that–but this betrayal of principle is so much bigger and so much worse.
I cannot help but think that we, especially those of us in love with the traditional liturgy but inclined to overlook those pesky matters SSPX is so picky about, will now be schooled, and most painfully, in the importance of sound doctrine, and more willing than ever to call most forcefully for a ‘clarification’ of Vatican II on the very matters IN THE TEXT of ecumenism and religious freedom that platform Pope Francis’ obvious and disgraceful liberalism expressed today. And may I add that Benedict, I say this with all due respect for the office, was not one whit better, just wordier. He adored Obama and our ‘vibrant democracy’ and said so on many occasions while those of us manning the sidewalks outside abortuaries gasped in disbelief.
See John Manos’s article. I think it may answer some of your concerns! If you read the Pope’s interview, you’ll note that there is nothing unorthodox about his response.
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