A certain amount of frenzy over Cardinal Dolan’s remarks about homosexuality on ABC News (which were completely in line with the Catholic Faith) prompts me to lay some things out briefly about homosexuality and Catholicism so that there is no confusion. Here is a point by point list of what we Catholics believe on this issue. Please know that these things I list here will not change. We have been dealing with this issue since the Church began. St. Paul spoke of it in the Scriptures. These things below will never change. It has ever been so and ever will be so.
(1.) Homosexual acts are grave sin.
(2.) Committing any grave sin willfully makes it a mortal sin.
(3.) If you die in a state of unconfessed mortal (deliberate) sin, you will go to hell for eternity.
(4.) Because we cannot judge a person’s will (something only God can judge) we do not know who is in hell. If you are openly committing any kind of grave sin, however, we can know that you are in “danger of hell” and it is our duty to inform you of this out of love for your eternal soul.
(5.) We cannot cooperate in grave sin of any kind, including homosexuality. Cooperation, in and of itself, would be grave sin. Cooperation would include condoning it or by participating in any kind of activity that facilitates the sin in any way. Modern-day examples of this would include agreeing to be a photographer at a same-sex wedding, or issuing a marriage license for a same-sex couple, or standing on a political platform and saying that “gay marriage” is not a threat to people.
From the catechism:
1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.
For some reason, people want to focus in on the last sentence of that paragraph and forget the rest of the paragraph. The last sentence means that we cannot judge INDIVIDUALS. We can judge that “gay marriage” is grave sin and we cannot ever, in any way, support it. Ever. If we do, we’re headed to hell. It is not you we judge, but ourselves. We judge ourselves to be unable to support “gay marriage,” for we know that in doing so, we will go to hell.
On cooperation, from the catechism:
1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
- by protecting evil-doers.
For those who believe feigned ignorance will help you, be warned. This is also from the catechism:
1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.
If you are pretending to be ignorant of these things, your soul is in as much, or more, danger than those who commit homosexual acts.
You should also know this, from the catechism:
1865 Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root.
These things will not ever change. Ever. It doesn’t matter what anyone says in an interview on television (and again, nothing Cardinal Dolan said was wrong), these things will always be, for Catholics.
The same above holds true for other grave sins, such as abortion, euthanasia, and all other forms of murder of the innocent.