A Tale of Two Bishops

Bishop Georg Bätzing, head of the German Catholic bishops’ conference, has declared that the Church should change her moral teaching, to allow for same-sex unions and sex outside of marriage. As he puts it, we have to somewhat change the Catechism on this matter. Sexuality is a gift from God. And not a sin.

Of course, ‘sexuality’ is not a sin, but the deliberate misuse of it is, as in sex outside of marriage. About same-sex unions, the bishop says, Yes, it’s OK if it’s done in fidelity and responsibility. It doesn’t affect the relationship with God

To put this mildly, this is not what Christ says, nor Saint Paul, nor two thousand years of Church teaching. Rather the opposite: Without repentance, deliberate and grave misuse of one’s sexuality blocks one from inheriting the kingdom of heaven.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, in Puerto Rico, a conservative and apparently fully orthodox bishop, Daniel Fernández Torres, has been relieved of his duties by the Pope, no reason given. Torres did support resistance to coercive vaccine mandates, and also refused to send his candidates for the priesthood to a new Interdiocesan seminary, recently founded in 2020 and fully approved by the Vatican. Bishop Torres has responded with equanimity and grace, thanking God for the time he was given:

how much we have been able to do together in the Diocese of Arecibo, in these almost twelve years, in youth and vocational ministry, in the fight for the dignity of human love, family and respect for life...

As well, he expressed gratitude for the work done for the freedom of the Church against political interference, in the formation of holy priests and in having given a ‘House’ to the Virgin in our diocesan Shrine

We may wonder why one bishop, propounding what seems material heresy, is tolerated, even feted, in our new synodalized Church, while the other, a bastion against secularism and devoted to forming holy priests, is cast out. As the saying goes, if there is any justice to this, we should, as laity, be given to see it.

We are in strange and unsettling times. But God will soon vindicate His own, and in that, while we pray and suffer, we may also hope. +