Cardinal Advocates Shunning Gay Family Members so Adults Don’t “Scandalize Their Children or Grandchildren”

Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke (below), Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, recently spoke with anti-abortion website LifeSiteNews.

While LSN focuses largely on attacking abortion rights, it devotes a fair amount of time to disparaging the LGBT community and their rights as well. Cardinal Burke’s interview was an exclusive conversation about a presentation given during the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, in which

… the Priolas [the presenters] asked and answered a question about what parents should do in the case where their son wants to bring his homosexual partner to a Christmas dinner where their grandchildren will be present.

The Pirolas’ response, which they held up as a model for the manner in which the Catholic Church should deal with same-sex relationships, was that parents should accept the participation of the son and his homosexual partner knowing “their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family.

While many of the bishops and cardinals in attendance approved of the presentation, it didn’t sit well with the shun-and-shame crowd. LSN interviewers asked Cardinal Burke how he would deal with that “difficult situation,” particularly with the potential for — brace yourself — children to witness the existence of gay couples:

How should Catholic parents deal with a difficult situation like this:

when planning a Christmas family gathering with grandchildren present, parents are asked by their son, who is in a homosexual relationship, if he can come and bring with him his homosexual partner?

Cardinal Burke responded:

This is a very delicate question, and it’s made even more delicate by the aggressiveness of the homosexual agenda

By which, it seems, he means the outrageous suggestion that shunning gay family members isn’t loving or kind. (You know, all the stuff that Christianity claims to be about…)

However, he declares, since “reason… and also our faith” teach that “homosexual relations are intrinsically disordered,” the answer is, of course, no. Those gay couples would not be welcome at the Christmas gathering.

We wouldn’t, if it were another kind of relationship — something that was profoundly disordered and harmful — we wouldn’t expose our children to that relationship, to the direct experience of it. And neither should we do it in the context of a family member who not only suffers from same-sex attraction, but who has chosen to live out that attraction, to act upon it, committing acts which are always and everywhere wrong, evil.

Cardinal Burke doesn’t think that families should cut all ties, however. For good reason:

And so, families have to find a way to stay close to a child in this situation — to a son or grandson, or whatever it may be — in order to try to draw the person away from a relationship which is disordered.

And we know that with time, these relationships leave the person profoundly unhappy. And so it’s important to stay [as] close as one can. But, that particular form of relationship should not be imposed upon family members, and especially upon impressionable children. And I urge parents or grandparents — whoever it may be — to be very, very prudent in this matter and not to scandalize their children or grandchildren.

Burke doesn’t seem to see the irony that his own life’s work has been to tell people, including “impressionable children,” all about supernatural beings and hordes of vengeful demons…

As for any suffering that might arise from these demonstrably harmful shunning practices? Burke has an answer for that as well. A typically pious, religious answer.

It certainly is a source of great suffering, but striving to do what is right and good always involves suffering. And in this case, it surely will. But that suffering will indeed be redemptive in the end.

In other words: what we’re doing might be terrible, and it might cause measurable harm… but it’s all for the best because it’s what God wants.

(Image via Wikipedia)

About Rachel Ford

Rachel Ford is a programmer, and since 8:00 to 5:00 doesn't provide enough opportunity to bask in screen glare, she writes in her spare time. She was raised a very fundamentalist Christian, but eventually "saw the light." Rachel's personal blog is Rachel's Hobbit Hole, where she discusses everything from Tolkien to state politics.