From my friend, Tim Ferguson, a canon lawyer from the Archdiocese of Detroit. What a wonderful perspective!!!!
Without further adieu, Tim:
I will not win friends with this post (not that that’s ever stopped me before).
I was reading an article earlier today which highlighted a call by
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, titular of Rusuca, for an “open dialogue on
everything having to do with human sexuality” in the Church. +Rusucensis
makes a plea that the Church needs to revisit the traditional teaching
on every aspect of human sexuality in order to “move forward.” He
questions the natural law argument and the supposition that genital
expressions of sexuality are only licit within the bonds of heterosexual
marriage. He – and his supporters – claim the moral high ground as they
call for “openness” and “dialogue,” and castigate the mean old men of
the Vatican who resist “dialogue” as reactionary and close-minded
I call “merde de taureau” (pardon my French)!
Dialogue is only truly possible when both parties are willing to admit
that the other might be right. I will not enter into dialogue about
objective, demonstrable reality. My couch is black. If someone wants to
dialogue with me about what color my couch is, it will be fruitless for
me to enter into such dialogue. At the end of the day, my couch will
Similarly, I will not enter into dialogue about
subjective opinions – e.g. : whether I should like shoes. I do not like
them, I am perfectly comfortable not liking them, and I sincerely doubt
that anyone could say anything to me that would make me like them. I
would consider entering into a dialogue about the relative value of
shoes. You may have something to say. We may end up disagreeing, but we
may be enriched by our mutual exchange of ideas. I am open to the
possibility that shoes (despite my dislike of them) have some value.
Your opinions may influence mine and mine, yours.
someone were to suggest “dialogue” about something of which I am
convinced but he is not, it might make for an interesting conversation,
but it would hardly be considered dialogue. If someone wanted to argue
that my car’s tires are square, he would be wrong. I could not admit his
position to be equal to mine. Therefore, no dialogue is possible.
Robinson and his ilk, despite their claims, do not want to enter into
“dialogue.” Their writings and their speeches make it clear that they in
no way are open to the possibility that they might be wrong. They do
not want to dialogue, they want to push their beliefs and want an open
forum in which to do so. They are not being intellectually honest.
The “mean old men of the Vatican” are the ones who are being
intellectually honest here: they do not want to enter into dialogue on a
topic they consider to be self-evident, objective, demonstrable
reality. They cannot and are not willing to admit that the antithesis of
the Church’s teaching on human sexuality, which excludes the liceity of
all genital sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage (and which
defines marriage as a covenant by which a man and a woman, by an act of
consent, establish a partnership of the whole of life) could possibly be
true. It is not a subject open for dialogue.
But, but, but –
the naysayers say – at least Robinson et al. are calling for dialogue!
See how open and tolerant they are! The Senes Vaticani are close-minded,
they won’t tolerate dialogue.
No, my friend, that’s not the
reality. Neither party is willing to tolerate dialogue. Robinson is
already convinced that the “Vatican party line” is wrong. He does not
want dialogue, because he is not willing to admit that there is any
equality between the positions. Dialogue, for Robinson, on this issue
means talking and talking (preferably louder than the opponent) until
the other side is willing to admit that it is wrong. That’s not
dialogue. That demagogy.
That’s why those upholding the
traditional Christian teaching are more intellectually honest. It’s not
merely that they do not wish to dialogue on the topic of human
sexuality, it’s that they recognize entering into a dialogue with
Robinson, et al. is not dialogue. The Church is not going to change Her
teaching. The matter is settled. You’re free to disagree, and to go
elsewhere. You’re not free to pretend that an opposing viewpoint is
legitimately Catholic and worthy of an equal status in a Catholic
context. To admit that would be intellectual dishonesty.