It numbers a recent U.S. Postmaster General (John Potter), and a current associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (Sonia Sotomayor) as alumni, but that’s not why Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, New York, is making headlines right now.
Rather, it’s because the school’s parent-teacher association had invited a retired Roman Catholic priest to speak about what The New York Times so delicately termed “the issue of same-sex attraction,” in a talk anticipated to — wait for it — defend the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on the matter.
Oh, the humanity! Or perhaps inhumanity, to hear the Times team tell it:
Ever since Pope Francis spoke compassionately about gay people last summer — saying, “Who am I to judge?” — Roman Catholics around the world have debated the meaning of his words.
That debate continued this week at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, where on Monday night the Catholic institution announced that an address by a recently retired priest from the New York Archdiocese about the issue of same-sex attraction, set for Tuesday, had been postponed.
The priest, the Rev. Donald G. Timone, has long been involved with the Courage organization, a spiritual support group formalized in New York in 1980 to encourage men and women with same-sex attractions to remain celibate. It is now based in Norwalk, Conn.
“The issue is one that tends to generate more heat than light,” and Father Timone “will be able to illuminate our thinking along truly Catholic lines,” an announcement listed on the school’s website had stated.
Now, the pope was talking about Catholics working in the public square, urging strategies that focused on pastoral care over open political warfare (although, by stressing “balance” he in no way implied that Catholics should shut down in the political arena). And Pope Francis has not altered a word of Catholic doctrine on sexual morality. So he would oppose Catholic apologetics in a Catholic high school?
Also note what is not promised here: no burning torches, no rack, no Inquisition. Just a talk about what the Roman Catholic Church believes and teaches, including the concept of celibacy for those who are not involved in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage. From what I’ve seen, read and heard, I’m fairly certain that “straight” Roman Catholics who are not marries are supposed to be “celibate,” too — at least that’s the official teaching, right?