Mary McAleese has given her backing to a report by over 60 Christian theologians and academics that says it disproves Christian objections to same-sex relationships.
The Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research report was released on Tuesday and says that some of the most cited passages in the bible traditionally interpreted as evidence that homosexuality is a sin have been based on a mistranslation.
“We are calling for an urgent change in Roman Catholic teaching based on these academic findings which should serve as the final nail in the coffin of biblical and other arguments justifying homophobia,” the authors of the report said in a statement.
Professor Mary McAleese, said: “The People of God have needed this to help convince a blinkered magisterium to open its eyes and ears, to see and hear the damage inflicted on good people young and old by teachings that run counter to science and counter to the love of the Creator. The scholarly work of the Wijngaards Institute brings hope where it is needed”
The report argues that current papal teachings condemning homosexuality are based on appeals to selected biblical passages and the ‘natural law’ argument that homosexual acts are unnatural because they cannot lead to procreation. They counter this by pointing out that selected biblical “verses only refer to specific kinds of male same-sex sexual activity and none of them condemns male same-sex relationships in general” and “nowhere in the Bible is female same-sex behaviour explicitly condemned.”
For the ‘natural law’ argument the authors say that the Church is fine with sexual acts taking place in marriage without the aim of procreation and that “individual sexual acts in particular, and marriage in general, include moral ends other than procreation. Non-heterosexual acts and relationships, too, can include the same non-conceptive moral ends. It is therefore incorrect to condemn them as intrinsically evil for being incapable of biological procreation.”
The new report follows a statement from the Vatican in March, which said the Catholic Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions despite their “positive elements”, saying it was impossible for God to “bless sin”.
Mary McAleese and the other authors of the report recommend that the Church should consult with other theologians and experts on the ethics of same-sex relationships in an independent way that represents the majority view of the relevant academics. They say that if that consultation process leads to similar conclusions as their report, then “an official magisterial document should revoke the absolute condemnation of free, faithful, and lifelong nonheterosexual relationships.”
“No kind words or “pastoral” gestures can heal that wound: only a change in teaching will,” The Wijngaards Institute said. “And in light of the deeply flawed arguments behind that stance, such a change is long overdue.”
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