Full International Text
Aug 15, 2019 —
We present you with full English translation of our appeal.
Appeal of the lay faithful and people of good will to bishops, priests, deacons and consecrated persons regarding the escalation of the conflict with LGBTQ+ communities in Poland
(Please pay special attention to item 3 - Commandment of Love and propedeutics of God's love)
The Eighth Commandment still exists
With a growing concern we are observing a narrative directed against the LGBTQ+ community, that has been carried out for past several months by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Poland, which seems to echo some of the extremist journalistic and political circles. This narrative seems to have intensified since the presentation of the report created by the foundation Do not be afraid on the crimes of sexual abuse of minors by the clergy, as well as after the premiere of the documentary by Sekielski brothers "Just don't tell anyone", which casts a shadow of dobut on the purity of intentions with which the fight against LGBTQ+ community is supposedly carried. It appears to be a form of diverting attention from the Church's internal problems, rather than the genuine care for the moral and social issues. This is particularly important from the perspective of a much larger ethical and doctrinal problems that are taking place in our country, which are not given a fraction of attention paid to the allegedly huge problem related to the LGBTQ+ community. A disturbing element of this enimity is very often telling half-truths, using understatements or even outright lies and similar measures that seem to violate the eighth commandment of the Decalogue.
1. Persecution in ancient Rome and the reversal of roles.
The central focus of the narrative appears to be labeling LGBTQ+ community as unparalleled godless people, depravators, deviants and destroyers of the social order, for whom there are no things sacred and who want to destroy the Church. While these words may sound absurd, one can feel that this rhetoric has found a fertile ground and is slowly beginning to take root. This disturbing phenomenon may seem like the historical irony, as it looks very much like the anti-Christian propaganda of the Ancient Rome. Christians were accused of many crimes against public order. The persecution of emperors such as Nero and Domitian has strengthened the belief among Roman pagans that Christians are deeply immoral, wicked and committing abominable crimes. The Eucharist and Old Christian agapae (feasts of love) were taken as ritual orgies combined with acts of cannibalism - after all, Christians consumed the Body and Blood of some Jesus. Other rumors that persisted amongst the Roman citizens were that the Christians baked the babies in bread to make everyone who ate it complicit and draw them into their sect. Numerous other charges were added, such as practicing magic, praying to the sun, and worshiping the head of a donkey. Christians were also accused of atheism because they did not participate in public worship of the pagans. Hostile moods have been fueled especially at every possible catastrophe that haunted the Empire's society. Intellectual polemics with Christianity were raised by eminent Roman and Greek philosophers and rhetoricians, including Celsus, or to a lesser extent Lucian from Samosata. Celsus emphasized that Christians were recruited from the dregs of society and were unable to possess true wisdom, therefore threatning the state. Celsus' works aimed at reasserting the educated part of the society in contempt for Christianity and pointed to the need for the Empire's might to stand against this - from his point of view -subversive group. Lucian attacked Christians to a lesser extent, seeing them as madmen, but some accuse him of spreading less refined rumors about Christian communities (see Banaszak M. Historia Catholic Church, volume 1 Antiquity, pp. 45-46; 62-63) .
Narrative which is exactly the same is currently held by the broadly understood rightwing in relation to LGBTQ+ people, accusing them of various deviations, shameful and vile deeds, making them at least as bad as ancient Christians were in the eyes of the average Roman citizen and calling political powers to take active stance in fighting them. This is accompanied by numerous distortions of reality. The focal point of the LGBTQ+ Scare seems to be calling them a threat to the children. This tactic is effective because it hits the primary instincts of most people, which is child protection. That there is no threat is another matter. Other distortions include accusation of attempting to destroy society and killing LGBTQ+ opponents, spreading diseases, attacking the Church, destroying values, etc. Here are some of the many examples of said narrative we face daily in the media:
Another slip-up of TVP Info website. "Death penalty for homophobia" [online] https://www.wprost.pl/kraj/10229890/kolejna-wpadka-portalu-tvp-info-kara-smierci-za-homofobie.html
The editors of Planeta.pl, Godek considers gays as pedophiles. "Move them away from children" [online] https://www.planeta.pl/Wiadomosci/Polska/godek-kontra-geje-ostry-wywiad-uwaza-ze-to-pedofile-i-patologia
Nowak F. SexEd destroys children and the whole society. See how! [online] https://stoppedofilii.pl/seksedukacja-niszczy-dzieci-i-cale-spoleczenstwo-zobacz-jak/
PRO Right to Life Foundation, Homosexuality and pedophilia - see reliable information [online] https://stopaborcji.pl/homoseksualizm-a-pedofilia-zobacz-rzetelne-informacje/
In a recent interview, Archbishop Gądecki, when asked about the relationship between pedophilia and homosexuality, states that "Many people deny this kind of dependence. However, the results of the current query we have done speak about almost 60% homosexual pedophilia" (see Kwartalnik Więź Abp Gądecki: Pretty attacks on the Church! [online] http://wiez.com.pl/2019/07/18/abp-gadecki-dosc-atakow-na-kosciol/). We do not know who prepared the query for the bishop, but it must have been the person himself who suggested to Archbishop Jędraszewski the idea of using the April fool's joke about Kpinomir (Kpiny is the term for jokes in Polish, while the suffix -mir is typical for Slavic names, meaning peace) as as a true description of Mieszko I's confessor in a scientific publication (see Archbishop Jędraszewski's slip. He wrote a scientific text based on joke for April Fool's Day [online] https://www.wprost.pl/kraj/10220054/wpadka-abp-jedraszewskiego-napisal-tekst-naukowy-w-oparciu-o-zart-na-prima-aprilis.html) or also to the bishop Jeż, a that a fake text about the Jewish congress is an evidence of a great conspiracy against Christianity (similar to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) (see Radzik Z. Protocols of Bishop Jeż, [online] https://www.tygodnikpowszechny.pl/protokoly-biskupa-jeza-158620). Meanwhile, all serious research points to the opposite phenomenon - homosexuals are one of the least frequent of child molesters. We quote only a fragment of an extensive article related to this phenomenon, which shows us a completely different picture to what the Archbishop stated:
"Other researchers have taken different approaches, but have similarly failed to find a connection between homosexuality and child molestation. Dr. Carole Jenny and her colleagues reviewed 352 medical charts, representing all of the sexually abused children seen in the emergency room or child abuse clinic of a Denver children's hospital during a one-year period (from July 1, 1991 to June 30, 1992). The molester was a gay or lesbian adult in fewer than 1% of cases in which an adult molester could be identified – only 2 of the 269 cases" (Jenny et al., 1994). (Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation; [online] https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html).
Bishops, as well as many other people, are misled by thinking that child abuse is somehow related to gender or that this harassment is a direct result of the same type of drive as the sexual drive between two consenting adults. This is an erroneous concept, because the rape-related mechanism is typically a violent one, aimed at humiliating the victim, as well as compensating for one's fears and deficiencies, and a sense of one's own causative force. Often molesters are men with very low self-esteem, very frustrated, often pushovers of their own community. Often they are fathers, stepfathers, older brothers or uncles.
Studies about this question suggest that men who have sexually abused a boy most often identify as heterosexual and often are involved in adult heterosexual relationships at the time of abusive interaction. There is no indication that a gay man is more likely to engage in sexually abusive behavior than a straight man and some studies even suggest it is less likely. But sexual abuse is not a sexual “relationship,” – it’s an assault. The sexual orientation of the abusive person is not really relevant to the abusive interaction. A man who sexually abuses or exploits boys is not engaging in a homosexual interaction – any more than men who sexually abuse or exploit girls are engaging in heterosexual behavior. He is a deeply confused individual who, for various reasons, desires to sexually use or abuse a child, and has acted on that desire.
(Myths and Facts About Male Sexual Abuse and Assault 4. The myth that most men who sexually abuse boys are gay. [online] https://1in6.org/get-information/myths)
Other articles on this issue include:
Krawczyk S. Sexual abuse of children and sexual orientation: three myths (online http://wiez.com.pl/2018/10/17/wykorzystywanie-seksualne-dzieci-a-orientacja-seksualna-trzy-mity))
The stance of the Main Board of the Polish Sexological Society regarding the distinction of two separate but commonly confused concepts: homosexuality and pedophilia of 29.06.2017 ([online] http://pts-seksuologia.pl/sites/strona/85/stanowisko-pts-w-sprawie-rozroznienia-dwoch-pojec-homoseksualizm-i-pedofilia)
2. Profanation, attacks on the Church and Her defenders
The narrative against LGBTQ+ people (under the guise of fighting the "ideology") is connected with the narrative of the so-called "attack on the Church." It is a set of (often unspecified) actions aimed at shaking the Body of Christ (although the gates of the underworld can never overpower it). It seems though that Christ did not say anything about the rainbow flags, so some decided to play it safe. This "attack" meets with the response of numerous defenders, amongst them the clergy, the right wing politicians, journalists and the laity, who, like Henry VIII rebuking Luther, deserve through their brave struggles the title of Defensor Fidei. The perpetrators of this attack are unspecified political and social forces using the leftists and LGBTQ+ for their purposes.
According to the hierarchs, the focal point of the attack on the Church is the attempt to destroy its authority. Archbishop Gądecki claims in his June letter that:
"3. Today's way of questioning the authority of the Church is not intellectual, but ideological. In the trial against the Church, one tries to prove that there are no righteous people in it, and faith is only hypocrisy. It seeks to discredit God and disgust the whole Church." [online] https://episkopat.pl/przewodniczacy-episkopatu-o-probie-zohydzenia-chrzescijanstwa-i-kosciola/
This letter was a response to various events of the past few months. One can get the impression that Archbishop Gądecki draws a vision of persecution at least to the extent of mass murders of the Christian community in the so-called Islamic State. We learn from it that Catholics, and especially the clergy in Poland, are being persecuted (we must remind you that Catholics are, according to public census over 90% of the population, and the government from Law and Order party is pro Church Hierarchy, although some of their actions can hardly be considered Catholic). The archbishop mentions the attack on Fr. Ireneusz Bakalarczyk, who has been assaulted by a homeless person wanting to rob him, suggesting that it was the fault of the smear campaign against the Church. Part of the Catholic community, including the publicist Tomasz Terlikowski, known for his uncompromising approach on sexual abuse matter, disagreed with the bishop's text (see Terlikowski T., Misdiagnosis of Archbishop Gądecki [online] https://www.rp.pl/Plus-Minus/306199930-Tomasz-P-Terlikowski-Bledna-diagnoza-abp-Gadeckiego.html)
In his letter, Archbishop Gądecki tried to emphasize the dishonesty of showing priests as child molesters. And rightly so - it is unfair. However, this rule, as you can see, does not apply to the LGBTQ+ community, because Archbishop Jędraszewski, who holds the second most important function after Archbishop Gądecki in Polish Bishops' Conference, has no major problems with accusing specialists from the World Health Organization and LGBTQ+ activists of wanting to deprave and corrupt children and youth, even though it's not true. (see Archbishop Jędraszewski: LGBTQ+ card and WHO instructions for child depravation programs [online] https://www.rp.pl/Kosciol/190629980-Abp-Jedraszewski-Karta-LGBTQ+-i-instrukcje-WHO-programami-deprawacji-dzieci.html). Archbishop Jędraszewski also seems to be fantasizing when convicted for the crime of molesting minors - cardinal Georg Pell in Australia is called by the archbishop as a violation of human rights (see Archbishop Jędraszewski on Cardinal Pell: basic human rights are violated in the name of certain legal rules [online] https://www.tvn24.pl/wiadomosci-z-kraju,3/abp-jedraszewski-o-kardynale-pellu-lamie-sie-podstawowe-prawa-czlowieka,925718.html). All these statements are clearly visible in his former modus operandi "for the good of the Church" known from the time of the defense of his then bishop Juliusz Paetz (see Terlikowski T. The scandal of mischief of the little ones continues? [Online] http://www.kosciol.pl/article.php?story=20030508125315770). The sources of Gazeta Wyborcza said at the time that Bishop Jędraszewski had the priests and deans sign a statement that the accusations against Bishop Paetz were false. He was to tell them to "sign it for the good of the Church" when someone was not sure about the contents of the statement.
The apparent dissatisfaction of a large chunk of the Catholic community materialized after the recent synod on sexual harassment, where the Church did not, for a change, make scapegoats out of the LGBTQ+ people. Therefore, the later publication of the Retired Holy Father Benedict XVI caused a great commotion of said chunk. The text did not appear as a part of synodal documents. Faithful to his former narrative, the Pope Emeritus wanted to remind the world that homosexuals and the sexual revolution are guilty of sexual abuse of the minors by priests (see Ex-Pope Benedict XVI blames 1960s revolution for sex abuse [online] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47898562). Unfortunately, the Holy Father forgot that back in the eleventh century St. Peter Damian in his work Liber Gomorrhianus condemns priests committing lustful acts with boys and a culture reminiscent of Greek pederastia, which was a form of mentoring combined with sexual contact. It is hard to say that the phenomenon of sexual harassment of children, and especially -boys by clergy -is a new phenomenon.
So is the criticism of the church hierarchy, as Archbishop Gądecki claims, only ideological, without any factual ground? The axis of this criticism is not, after all, that there were various crimes committed by priests, not hierarchs, but that there were literally no repercussions for these crimes and that there is still no transparency is punishing those guilty of children abuse. Unfortunately, some bishops chose the path of searching for guilty and substitute subjects, as well as not responding to various bizarre and dangerous accusations flowing towards LGBTQ+ circles, or even joining the choir of those.
The culmination of all this seems to be the case of so-called Mr. Tomasz (we don't know his real name), an IKEA employee who was dismissed after a controversial entry on his company's internal web. His comment contained out-of-context quotes from the Old and New Testaments embellished with his own opinion about the "deviation" of LGBTQ+ people. However, according to the report presented by the IKEA, the employee was not fired immediately after this entry, but after the interviews with the managers. IKEA clearly emphasized that it was not Tomasz's Catholicism that caused his dismissal, but the way he communicated his views and the threats directed to other employees:
Openness to other views cannot become consent to verbal aggression towards others, expressed in electronic media, as well as in direct conversations with other employees. (...). I emphasize that views were not a problem but a way of expressing opinions that excludes other people. We would take similar actions in case of violation of the dignity of any other group (e.g. Catholics) (IKEA. Employee dismissed after words about LGBTQ+. We know the content of his post on the company's forum [online] http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/wiadomosci/7,114883,24945822,ordo-iuris-kontra-ikea-tomasz-k-w-wiadomosciach-ziobro.html)
It appears that during the conversation with the management some vital information surfaced, casting shadow of doubt on the narrative of the allegedly only metaphorical message of this commentary. However, we will probably get the full information during the court trial. (see A new IKEA statement after dismissal of an employee. "We will not comment on the case" [online] http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/wiadomosci/7,114883,24966340,jest-kolejne-oswiadczenie-ikea-po-zwolnieniu-pracownika-nie.html)
Mr. Tomasz also forgot that the fragments of the Bible he quoted out of context, were part of a long litany of sins of adultery - mainly heterosexual adultery- for which the punishment was also death. Does Mr. Tomasz tell his friends living in cohabitation that they should be stoned to death? Do his supporters living in such relationships already given themselves into the hands of the Sanhedrin? Do those who thoughtlessly chant "Boy - girl - normal family" know that the sin against the nature of marriage is also harlotry in which they probably indulge?
Meanwhile, all this did not prevent Bishop Dec from publishing the Statement of the Council of the Polish Bishops' Conference for the Apostolate of the Laity on the imposition of LGBTQ+ ideology (see [online] https://episkopat.pl/oswiadczenie-rady-konferencji-episkopatu-polski-ds-apostolstwa-swieckich-w-sprawie-narzucania-ideologii-LGBTQ+/) in which Mr. Thomas is called a lay apostle and example to others, and even a martyr: "[...] it must be considered unacceptable from a legal standpoint, and above all - in accordance to common decency and sense, an attack on an IKEA employee who did not want LGBTQ+ indoctrination in the workplace. It is worrying that those statements are full of aggression and contempt. " What the bishop has shown here, is a typical ignorance of the subject combined with the issuing of very judgmental opinions. As part of this "LGBTQ+ indoctrination", IKEA employees were reminded to address their associates in accordance with the pronouns they wish, and not to exclude homosexuals when talking about families. It is hard to call these guidelines indoctrination. Rather, they match what we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in point 2358:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Similarly in the exhortation Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis says:
250. The Church makes her own the attitude of the Lord Jesus, who offers his bound-less love to each person without exception. During the Synod, we discussed the situation of families whose members include persons who experience same-sex attraction, a situation not easy either for parents or for children. We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence. Such families should be given respectful pastoral guidance, so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives.
The whole statement published by Bishop Dec, in both stylistic and substantive terms, leaves much to be desired and strongly deviates from the style used by the Church in official documents. We will leave gem in the text such as "Your children are nobody's - they are yours" without a comment.
Just as puzzling is the lack of self-sacrifice of Mr. Tomasz, who seems not to be able to suffer this terrible relinquishment, which is a loss of a job in which the employer does not allow him to insult his colleagues. If he is put as an example of secular radicalism, he should be ready to even give his life for Christ. What we see is that he could not quit his job on his own accord when the company's policy did not suit him and, what made matters worse, he engaged the Church's authority in skirmishes with a private furniture company, harming Her image in the eyes of the laity. Can such a strong stigmatizing of the IKEA comapny, while there are so many ambiguities, be considered a truly good solution, or is it rather naive action of the elders willing to stone Susanna accused by two judges? We propose to Bishop Dec to follow his own words: "He who antagonizes and inflames emotions, does not serve God's cause. We ask for balanced actions born in hearts full of peace and love. We ask for reflection. We pride ourselves that when the persecution and war raged religious, Poland - as the only one in Europe - was a state without stakes. Let it continue this way".
The LGBTQ+ community is also accused of numerous profanations. (See, among others, Editors of the quarterly Więź Archbishop Gądecki: Enough with attacks on the Church! [online] http://wiez.com.pl/2019/07/18/abp-gadecki-dosc-atakow-na-kosciol/) . However, it is difficult to agree with this thesis from a canonical perspective, because the LGBTQ+ community, so far, in all cases publicized in the media did not do so. The crime of profanation requires acts directed at sacred objects.
In her extensive work, Edyta Nafalska describes exact definition of a sacred object that can be profaned:
"A thing is only a material object, having an independent character [Szreniawski 2000; Jankowska 1998, 664]. It is a part of nature separated in a natural or artificial way, remaining in its original or processed state, constituting an intrinsic good in economic turnover [Witczak and Kawałko 2012, 3 ; Ignatowicz and Stefaniuk 2012, 18-19] Therefore, things are only such material objects that are subject to rights in rem [Gniewek 2014, 25] According to the church legislator, sacred things are "intended by an act of consecration or blessing to the worship of God" (can. 1171) It should be recognized that "a holy thing is any immovable (sacred place) or movable thing, which by the competent church authorities was intended for the exclusive worship of God - whether by divine institution, e.g. the Holy Bible, or as a result of an act consecration (cf. can. 847 and 880 § 2), dedication (cf. can. 1205) or blessings according to provisions of Church law "[Lempa 1987, 245; Gajda 2008, 129]. From can. 1171 it follows that there are two ways to give things the status of a sacred object - the first is dedicatio, and the second is benedictio. Sacred things, created by blessing are, for example, churches, chapels, cemeteries, altars, crosses, paintings and statues, vestments and liturgical vessels, relics [Lempa 1987, 245]. Both consecration and blessing is a solemn and public rite with specific legal effects [Krukowski 2011, 429]. Therefore, they are an act that can be made by a competent person, i.e. a minister. "(Nafalska E. The crime of profanation of a sacred thing in the Code of Canon Law of 1983 [online] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303852660_Przestepstwo_profanacji_rzeczy_swietej_w_Kodeksie_Prawa_Kanonicznego_z_1983_roku pp. 267-268)
According to that definition there can be no profanation of a digitally processed reproduction of the icon of the Mother of God of Częstochowa. While some people may think that we are dealing with blasphemy in this case, talking about profanation seems to be a deliberate procedure and manipulation to arouse in people much stronger feelings, giving a mandate to attack the creator of this image alteration. It is also an excellent argument for the narrative about the persecution of the Church in Poland.
Similarly, the allegations about the Mass celebrated by the Protestant clergyman, Bishop Szymon Niemiec, which he celebrates every year for many years and has never thus far caused any scandals. It is hard to see the signs of profanation according to the Code of Canon Law (see Zaleski R., The crime against Eucharistic figures in Canonical Law [online] https://www.kul.pl/files/1374/public/rnp_2016/nr_4/s_163_182_art_zaleski.pdf)
Meanwhile, the true attack continues, but on the LGBTQ+ people. Emboldened extremist environments are slowly beginning to use the methods of Nazi politics. One of the right-wing newspapers prepared stickers with the inscription LGBTQ+-FREE Zone, so similar to the Nazi Judenfrei. The case received wide coverage and has been negatively commented by the American ambassador in Poland and by the BBC (see "LGBTQ+ Free Zone." BBC News on the controversial stickers of "Gazeta Polska" [online] https://wiadomosci.wp.pl/strefa-wolna-od-LGBTQ+-bbc-news-o-kontrowersyjnych-naklejkach-gazety-polskiej-6404137253619329a).Normally that kind of actions would be met with immediate reprobation, but there was none. To makes matters worse, some defended the newspaper, amongst them Małopolska Voivodeship Superintendent of Education, who stated that:
"You are concerned that in Poland the LGBTQ+ ideology that destroys families, nations is not accepted by Poles. Mrs. Ambassador, Poles stand on the side of values, we are tolerant, we cultivate tradition, in the vast majority we believe in God. We deserve respect"
(See Mosbacher criticizes the "LGBTQ+ Free Zone" sticker. Internet users answer: We do not accept ideology that destroys families and nations [online] https://wpolityce.pl/polityka/455621-internauci-odpowiadaja-mosbacher-pietnujacej-naklejki-o-LGBTQ+)
The Church (at the time of writing) did not yet speak on this matter and did not condemn the action, despite an explicit attack on human dignity. One can only wonder how swift the reaction would be and how much outrage would've been caused by the stickers with the inscription "Church free zone"?
The term sodomites is often thrown in the direction of LGBTQ+ people during the debate. Many call upon the term sins that cry to heaven, forgetting, that the sin of Sodom was to breaking the holy law of hospitality by murdering and raping outsiders, which is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, and reminded by contemporary exegetes - and not homosexuality as some believe. In both the synoptic Gospels of Luke and Matthew, Christ, speaking on a punishment for the cities that do not accept His disciples, invokes Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of a place that will be treated far more leniently for their sins. We can conclude from the rest of his speech that he recalls them because of the type of sin commited.
10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say,11 "We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near."12 I tell you, on the great Day it will be more bearable for Sodom than for that town. Luke 10: 10-12
Similarly, the Book of Wisdom speaks of an award for Egypt for welcoming Israel and punishment for the inhospitable Sodom and Gomorrah.
Sodom and Gomorrah
13 On the sinners, however, punishments rained down not without violent thunder as early warning; and they suffered what their own crimes had justly deserved since they had shown such bitter hatred to foreigners.
14 Others, indeed, had failed to welcome strangers who came to them, but the Egyptians had enslaved their own guests and benefactors.
15 The sinners, moreover, will certainly be punished for it, since they gave the foreigners a hostile welcome;
16 but the latter, having given a festive reception to people who already shared the same rights as themselves, later overwhelmed them with terrible labours.
17 Hence they were struck with blindness, like the sinners at the gate of the upright, when, yawning darkness all around them, each had to grope his way through his own door.
Book of Wisdom 19: 13-17
The prophet Ezekiel also quite clearly indicates what Sodom's sin was:
49 The crime of your sister Sodom was pride, gluttony, calm complacency; such were hers and her daughters' crimes. They never helped the poor and needy;
50 they were proud, and engaged in loathsome practices before me, and so I swept them away as you have seen.
Ezekiel 16: 49-50
In the Middle East, one of the most sacred laws was the law of hospitality, and the community of Sodom and Gomorrah broke it in an extreme way - by rape and murder of the outsiders. It is also worth mentioning that rape was a popular form of humiliation in those days, including treatment of opponents after losing a battle (see Cheng S. Patrick, What Was the Real Sin of Sodom? [online] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-was-the-real-sin-of_b_543996)
And when Jesus is not accepted in the Samaritan settlement during his journey to Jerusalem, John and Jacob want to punish its people with the rain of fire, the same kind of punishment that happened to Sodom and Gomorrah:
51 Now it happened that as the time drew near for him to be taken up, he resolutely turned his face towards Jerusalem 52 and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, 53 but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. 54 Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, 'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up? 55 But he turned and rebuked them, 56 and they went on to another village.
Luke 9: 51-56
It is therefore very clear that the use of this term in the context of an attack on LGBTQ+ persons is a mistake.
3. Commandment of Love and propedeutics of God's love
Throughout this dispute, one can see how much the commandment of Love has been neglected in the debate.
43 'You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbour and hate your enemy.
44 But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;
45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much?
47 And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional?
48 Do not even the gentiles do as much? You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.'
Matthew 5: 43-48
In these words, Christ contained for us a teaching that seems to have been forgotten in our homeland recently. Citing alleged depravity and attacks from the LGBTQ+ community, people are trying to justify their anger and hatred towards them. More or less veiled threats, numerous lies, misrepresentations and curses are intertwined with God and His Law, all while expressing great devotion to Him and staying true to His commandments. Although this is a violation of the II, V and VIII Commandments, this is not met with criticism or condemnation. Perhaps this is due to the fact that in the ongoing Polish-Polish war we have forgotten that every man is our brother and that they deserves respect.
Christ comes with yet another example to us. On the fifteenth Sunday of the year C we heard a fragment of the Gospel according to Luke:
25 And now a lawyer stood up and, to test him, asked, 'Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' 26 He said to him, 'What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?' 27 He replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.' 28 Jesus said to him, 'You have answered right, do this and life is yours.' 29 But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbour?' 30 In answer Jesus said, 'A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of bandits; they stripped him, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. 31 Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan traveller who came on him was moved with compassion when he saw him. 34 He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him. 35 Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper and said, "Look after him, and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have." 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the bandits' hands?' 37 He replied, 'The one who showed pity towards him.' Jesus said to him, 'Go, and do the same yourself.'
Luke 10: 25-37
The parable of the Good Samaritan has many contexts of which the average person may not be aware. During the homily, most priests explain why the priest and Levite did not try to help the beaten man - because of the fear of engaging in ritual uncleanness. Sometimes they remind the story of the animosities of the Samaritans and Judah resulting from their conflict over the rightful place of worship of God.
However, a certain context escapes most, if not all priests. After all, Christ could choose any nation among those surrounding the land of Isreal, and with which Israel was in conflict. He could recall the Greeks who, due to the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes IV and his forced imposition of pagan worship, was associated with ideological invasion or the Romans, occupiers who oppressed the people and destroyed their social order, to emphasize that it does not matter what nation do you hail from. However, he chose the Samaritan. Why? The answer is probably that the Samaritans, like the Jews, were worshipers of the One God who obeyed the Mosaic Law. Moreover, the Samaritans paid (and to this day they still pay) much more attention to the issue of ritual purity than the Judeans. The beaten wanderer was not helped by someone who did not care about the Law, who did not care about the matter of ritual purity or was a pagan, and all that could bar him from helping was his dislike of Jews. No - this man helped him despite the fact that he contracted ritual uncleanness, as did Tobias burying the dead in the Babylonian Exile.
The teaching that we as a church should draw from this parable is that there is no such law, let alone God's Law, which would be above the Commandment of Love and which would give us a mandate for hatred and contempt of others. There is no law that allows us, as Catholics, to seek revenge, to distort the truth, to use Machiavellian tricks or to turn a blind eye to the evil that is being done to other people, even if we hold grudge against them (which we should not) or dislike them or for whatever reason disagree with them.
St. John the Apostle also clearly teaches in his letter that:
19 Let us love, then, because he first loved us.
20 Anyone who says 'I love God' and hates his brother, is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen.
21 Indeed this is the commandment we have received from him, that whoever loves God, must also love his brother.
1st John: 4, 19-21
Many also forget that Christ did not come to call the just but the sinners. It would seem that many of our contemporaries would stand in a chorus reproaching Christ for his actions:
9 As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him.
10 Now while he was at table in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples.
11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?'
12 When he heard this he replied, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick.
13 Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice. And indeed I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'
Matthew 9: 9-13
Of course, many will say that Christ condemned sin - and it's true. However, is the current debate really about saving people from sin, or is it about distracting people from uncomfortable issues, consolidating political capital, or dealing with their own demons?
This last point reminds of the case of the late Cardinal Keith O'Brien. He was one of the main postulators of Catholic morality in public debate in Scotland. Over the years, he took part in many actions against what he called "moral rot." All these activities, however, were only a manifestation of the phenomenon of a reaction formation, a known psychological mechanism. In 2013, cardinal sexual harassment scandal came to light, and before his death it turned out that O'Brien probably had a male lover for many years. From this perspective, it turns out that his behavior was really the result of self-hatred. This is a common occurrence when our expectations of ourselves do not coincide with reality, and bitterness is projected outwardly to avoid a complete breakdown of personality (see Marshall C. Priest: Keith O'Brien 'a predator since 1985' [online] https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/priest-keith-o-brien-a-predator-since-1985-1-3731824; Robinson M. Fallen Scottish Cardinal who called homosexuality 'grotesque' had 'priest boyfriend for years who told the Vatican they were lovers' [online] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2297547/Cardinal-Keith-OBrien-priest-boyfriend-years-told-Vatican-lovers.html)
In this light, we see a very important issue from a Christian perspective - also people who present a hate attitude often suffer for various reasons, and this hate itself can be a plea for help. Christ teaches us that we must not close ourselves to anyone.
What is not talked about in the Church is the fact that many LGBTQ+ people living in the so-called the closet, live very close to the Church, often being its most active members. Many of them have excellent spiritual and intellectual formation, extensive theological and liturgical knowledge. Unfortunately, due to the mood prevailing in the Church's community, they are afraid to reveal their identity out of fear of social ostracism. Some of these people take a self hatred attitude towards themselves, others accept themselves only partially, others have a partial rebellion against the Church, others take the attitude of Cardinal O'Brien and attack other LGBTQ+ people.
The anger observed amongst some members of the LGBTQ+ community, which also appears in public space towards the Church, is the result of a sense of being neglected and rejected by the Church. However, it is not some methodical attempt to destroy, but rather a manifestation of powerlessness. Of course, as in any environment, there will be individuals with bad intentions, but it is not the fault of a community as a whole.
4. Straining out gnats and swallowing camels
Mmeanwhile in Poland, we are seeing a far more pressing problems for the Church. We can see numerous dangerous movements of the doctrinal nature. We see the belief already condemned by the Polish Bishop's Conference in the existence and functioning of magic, which is incompatible with the Catholic vision of reality, and in which faith is proclaimed more and more often by many priests with a feeble formation, who are in this way causing a decent of the faithful into gnosticism. The faithful instead of avoiding Satan as the one who tempts them to sin, are afraid of superstitions that cannot hurt them, and at the same time they sin by believing in the existence of causative power operating mechanistically, assured, outside God's jurisdiction and having a positive source of being in Satan . Satan appears to these people as a kind of Antigod (see KEP decision on the so-called wicket confession, item 11 [online] https://episkopat.pl/decyzja-kep-w-sprawie-tzw-spowiedzi-furtkowej/). However, this is perhaps the answer to why people agree to such deep hatred towards others - their popculture-like vision of reality means that they perceive the world in terms of a dualistic battle between good and evil, a clash between armies of light and darkness, and against the opposite forces one can use all tricks as many works of fiction teach. However, this is not a Christian or Catholic vision.
The similarities to this trend are also the subsequent perversions of simple piety, which is approaching in its practices and understanding the functioning of God's Grace to theurgical magic. Saints appear in it as guardian deities, sacramentals become amulets and prayers become spells. In the history of searching for the recently missing boy, the shocking thing was that the Police used the clairvoyant's services. In the 21st century, in a supposedly Catholic country.
In the debate, the church and the right wing constantly raise the argument about LGBTQ+ as a danger to a traditional family, belaboring it in all possible ways. However, the real threats to the family are not the LGBTQ+ community, but all forms of social pathologies that occur within families themselves. The lack of emotional bond between the partners, which in turn leads to the breakup of the family, is not caused by the rainbow logo of a well-known brand during the June's LGBTQ+ month celebrations. Sexual promiscuity of heterosexual persons, mutual objectification or betrayal are not caused by sex education, which is negligible in Poland, and the scale of these phenomena is huge. In the current narrative, however, it seems that these problems have been forgotten and their true source has been left out.
Pope Francis himself quite clearly diagnosed what is one of the main threats to the family, which unfortunately does not reach Polish bishops:
2. Marriage and the family are in crisis today. We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people reject marriage as a public obligation. This revolution of customs and morals has often waved “the flag of freedom”, but it has, in reality, brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. It is ever more evident that the decline of the culture of marriage is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills that disproportionately affect women, children and the elderly. It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.The crisis of the family has produced a human ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. Although humanity has come to understand the need to address the conditions that threaten our natural environment, we have been slow — we have been slow in our culture, even in our Catholic culture — we have been slow to recognize that even our social environments are at risk. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology and make it move forward. (ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL COLLOQUIUM
ON THE COMPLEMENTARITY BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN
SPONSORED BY THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH [online] http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2014/november/documents/papa-francesco_20141117_congregazione-dottrina-fede.html)
5. The final word
Therefore, we address you, Brothers Bishops, with public admonition, because private admonitions had no effect. Christ the Lord has called you as shepherds of all sheep, not just those you like. You brothers, Priests and Deacons, as well as Consecrated Persons who follow a similar narrative, we also remind you. We are also worried about the lack of reaction of the Apostolic Nuncio to all these erratic behaviors and actions of members of the Polish Bishops' Conference so contrary to the directions set by the Catechism and direct words of the Holy Father, which is why we address our appeal to him. We would like to end with a fragment of the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, as a warning and reminder:
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
2 'Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them, "Shepherds, the Lord Yahweh says this: Disaster is in store for the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Are not shepherds meant to feed a flock?
3 Yet you have fed on milk, you have dressed yourselves in wool, you have sacrificed the fattest sheep, but failed to feed the flock.
4 You have failed to make weak sheep strong, or to care for the sick ones, or bandage the injured ones. You have failed to bring back strays or look for the lost. On the contrary, you have ruled them cruelly and harshly.
5 For lack of a shepherd they have been scattered, to become the prey of all the wild animals; they have been scattered.
6 My flock is astray on every mountain and on every high hill; my flock has been scattered all over the world; no one bothers about them and no one looks for them.
7 "Very well, shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh:
8 As I live, I swear it -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- since my flock has been pillaged and for lack of a shepherd is now the prey of every wild animal, since my shepherds have ceased to bother about my flock, since my shepherds feed themselves rather than my flock,
9 very well, shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh:
10 The Lord Yahweh says this: Look, I am against the shepherds. I shall take my flock out of their charge and henceforth not allow them to feed my flock. And the shepherds will stop feeding themselves, because I shall rescue my sheep from their mouths to stop them from being food for them.
11 "For the Lord Yahweh says this: Look, I myself shall take care of my flock and look after it.
Ezekiel 34: 1-11
And to those of the faithful who feel that contempt for others is the way to salvation, we remind:
17 "As for you, my sheep, the Lord Yahweh says this: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.
18 Not content to drink the clearest of the water, you foul the rest with your feet.
19 And my sheep must graze on what your feet have trampled and drink what your feet have fouled.
20 Very well, the Lord Yahweh says this: I myself shall judge between the fat sheep and the thin sheep.
21 Since you have jostled with flank and shoulder and butted all the ailing sheep with your horns, until you have scattered them outside,
22 I shall come and save my sheep and stop them from being victimised. I shall judge between sheep and sheep.
Ezekiel 31: 17-22
We also appeal to all representatives of the LGBTQ+ community, especially those who do not profess the Catholic faith, to show respect for our values and not allow ambiguous and provocative materials to appear in public space, because this is not conducive to the culture of dialogue, but becomes an excuse to further escalation of the conflict.
Keep fighting for people power!
Politicians and rich CEOs shouldn't make all the decisions. Today we ask you to help keep Change.org free and independent. Our job as a public benefit company is to help petitions like this one fight back and get heard. If everyone who saw this chipped in monthly we'd secure Change.org's future today. Help us hold the powerful to account. Can you spare a minute to become a member today?I'll power Change with $5 monthly