Andrew Goddard writes about Pastoral Accommodation
The indefatigable Andrew Goddard has just published at Fulcrum a long paper explaining why it is not possible to engage in pastoral accommodation over blessing same-sex unions: Blessing Same-Sex Unions – A Legitimate Pastoral Accommodation?
In addition to the main article, he has also published a large number of supplementary papers which are linked to it, either in the text, or in footnotes.
What is the church’s current official teaching and discipline?
What is the current ecclesial reality in relation to this teaching and discipline?
How did we get here and where might we go next?
Can we both uphold current teaching and offer greater “pastoral accommodation”?
Divorce and Remarriage
Prayer after abortion
Andrew Goddard is, indeed, a doughty warrior for what he sees as moral righteousness. What he seems to close his eyes to is the fact that the modern world does not see other-than-heterosexual relationships as wicked and against God’s provision for the exercise (or not) of one’s innate sexual orientation.
Dogmatic mediaeval understanding of human sexuality is no longer acceptable in a world that has a more mature outlook on the nature of sexual differentiation than that of the Bible.
Even Jesus recognised that heterosexual procreation and marriage was not the norm for everybody. In fact, Jesus Himself never married but had at least one ‘special friendship’ – a phenomenon forbidden in mediaeval monastic communities – with John, the ‘Beloved Disciple’.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 19: 3-12, Jesus first speaks about the need for faithfulness in heterosexual marriage. He then, in the same conversation, explained that there was another, distinctive, class of people – eunuchs – (looked down on in that culture, too) whom he recognised as not to be expected, able or willing, to marry in the ‘normal way’ to enable procreation. (Not all human beings expected to ‘go out and multiply’).
Delineating 3 possibilities, Jesus spoke of eunuchs, firstly; as “born that way from their mother’s womb”. Secondly, there were eunuchs “made so by men”. Thirdly; “eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”.
The third category, of their own volition, offer their virginity for Christ.
The second category, through the determination of others (papal castrati or Nubian slaves), who become so by force of circumstance; voluntarily or not.
The first category, however, may just be people incapable of, or disinclined by their given nature, to procreate.
These were categories of procreative and non-procreative humans recognised by Jesus. Why do we have a problem in identifying such today?
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand