But there was noting ambiguous about Bishop Soto’s remarks to the group. “Sexual relations between people of the same sex can be alluring for homosexuals, but it deviates from the true meaning of the act and distracts them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all,” Bishop Soto said. “For this reason, it is sinful. Married love is a beautiful, heroic expression of faithful, life-giving, life-creating love. It should not be accommodated and manipulated for those who would believe that they can and have a right to mimic its unique expression."
At least five members of the audience walked out during the bishop’s address. When he finished speaking, there was general silence -- with only a very small number applauding.
The chairman of the conference then announced that the bishop would answer questions at a reception that would be held in another room. That led to widespread expressions of disapproval from members of the audience, who said they wanted to be able to express their responses immediately. It was agreed that those who wanted to speak would line up. The bishop was told twice by the chairman that he was free to leave if he wanted -- or to stay and listen. Bishop Soto stayed and sat quietly listening to every response.
You can read the full text of his speech here. It is definitely well worth the read. It covers far more than the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
There were many eyebrows raised, mine included, when Bishop Soto agreed to address this conference. The participants of this conference openly dissent from the Church’s teaching on sexual chastity. However, I will be the first to say that such skepticism was misguided and unfair. Jesus ate with the sinners. He reached out to the tax collectors and the prostitutes. However, he did not affirm their sins. He called them to repent and sin no more. Bishop Soto is following the model of Jesus.
I scan quite a few blogs and news sites every day. And I will admit that most of them conform to my worldview. I enjoy having my opinions reinforced. I am part of the choir so preach it, brother! It is much harder to walk into the opposing camp and stand firm. Yet that is what we are called to do. Anytime we deal with the secular culture we will face opposition to our Catholic principles. As I have written before, it is tough to be Catholic. Over the next month, much will be written and spoken about religion and politics. Pray that we all have the virtue of fortitude displayed by Bishop Soto and courageously speak the truth.