The Catholic Church and Homosexuality. Priests and Faithful Write Open Letter to Archbishop of Florence
Article by Project Gionata, September 7, 2012, translated from the Italian by Peter L.
“… We believe that articles printed in the Diocesan weekly publication (Toscana Oggi) do nothing but repeat existing ecclesiastical positions on homosexuality, without providing any insight on a topic that has been considerably developed and explained in recent years, and which requires more research. Our letter testifies to the fact that there is diversity of positions regarding this issue today, both in secular thought and in our churches themselves.”
This is the beginning of an open letter that was recently sent to the Archbishop of Florence (Italy), Giuseppe Betori. The letter can still be signed by the faithful until Sunday September 16, 2012 in parishes and religious communities headed by Fr. Fabio Masi, pastor of Paterno church in Bagno a Ripoli (Province of Florence), Fr. Alessandro Santoro, a priest from Piagge (Florence), Fr. Giacomo Stinghi, pastor of Madonna della Tosse church (Florence) and Sister Stefania Baldini, a Dominican nun from Prato.
These different people, who are united in their belonging to the Catholic Church and their “frontline” service on social issues, explain that “the times are mature” to at least bring this issue up. As the open letter, which has already been signed by numerous church-goers, says, this is due to the fact that, “We, along with various theologians, bishops and Christian laypeople, do not see our viewpoints represented in Toscana Oggi’s treatment of this issue through its articles. What has brought about a radical shift in the understanding of homosexuality has now signaled a very important journey. […]
In recent years, a radically different way of understanding homosexuality has emerged and homosexuality has become accepted by nearly everyone in various ways and with different nuances. Homosexuality is now spoken of as a pervasive element of an individual, one that characterizes a person’s most profound identity and one that leads them to live their sexuality in a different manner.
It is important for the Church to recognize the progress made in the science of understanding humanity in a positive manner and to refrain from making absolute declarations which she will then have to admit are mistaken, as has happened in the past. These developments lead us to see homosexuality in a new light and to deal with it under a different moral perspective.”
This invitation to reflection and a call for questioning is aimed at the entire local church community, as well as beyond, because, as the letter recalls: “For you love all the things that are, and abhor nothing which you have made: for never would you have made any thing, if you had hated it. And how could anything have endured, if it had not been your will? or been preserved, if not called by you? But you spare all: for they are yours, O Lord, you lover of souls.” (Wisdom 11:24-26).
To learn more: Catholic Church and Homosexuality. Open Letter to the Bishop of Florence. Open letter signed and distributed in some parishes and religious communities in Florence, September 2012