Some conservative Catholics are aghast at remarks made by (retired) Bishop Francis A Quinn to “Inside Sacramento” magazine. To judge from the CCD report, you’d think the man was a rabid gay activist, getting an award for advancing the “gay agenda”. The CCD was especially hysterical that he had once conducted a retreat at a centre which is also used on occasion by gay groups. This was particularly highlighted and emphasised – as if the activities of others using the retreat at entirely different times were anything to do with him. It is also true, that at the awards ceremony which prompted the interview, he was serenaded by the Gay Men’s Chorus, and his words on gay relationships were refreshingly sane – but that is not what the award was about.
To learn that, I had to go to the original source of the information, the interview in “Inside Sacramento”. In fact, the award was to honour his long career working with young people, as a teacher and later as a bishop taking special interest in providing services for the homeless, or helping to created affordable housing – and a retirement spent working equally hard on just the same things, as a volunteer. In other words, a lifetime doing precisely what any priest (or other Catholic) is called to do: devoting himself to service to others.
So what were the words that so offended the self-righteous readers at California Catholic Daily?
“Pointing to the dramatic changes made within the Catholic Church by Vatican II, Quinn asserts that it is time for a new council, this one dedicated to looking at human sexuality and its intersection with religion,” said Inside East Sacramento. “The new council, he says, should involve the entire Catholic community as well as people of other faiths.”
“So many of the issues that Catholics deal with — divorce, homosexuality, premarital sex — center around sexuality and affect how they connect with the church,” Bishop Quinn told the publication. “We need to move beyond this circular logic and look at what is really happening in people’s lives.”
Bishop Quinn doesn’t simply join Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna and Portuguese military ordinary, Bishop – he goes a great deal further than they have done, calling for Vatican III, to be devoted primarily to consideration of sexual ethics. The “Catholic Caveman” is horrified (are you surprised, with that self-description?) . I am thrilled. It will not surprise my regular readers that I am right behind him on this.
Whatever you do, don’t rely on the panicked, selective reports at the usual places. Go to the original interview at Inside Sacramento, and read what he actually said – he’s a far more orthodox Catholic than his detractors would like you to believe.
- “The Sexual Person”: Bishops, Theologians Clash on Sexual Ethics (queertheology.blogspot.com)
- The Minnesota Bishops’ Unholy War (thewildreed.blogspot.com)
- Daniel Maguire on Catholicism’s “Long History of Demeaning Sexuality” (thewildreed.blogspot.com)
- Cardinal Shonborn & Church Reform: 3 month update. (my-queer-spirituality.blogspot.com)
- LGBT Inclusion in Church: A Study in Contrasts (queertheology.blogspot.com)
- Bishops “Protecting Marriage” and the ‘had it’ Catholics (queeringthechurch.wordpress.com)