Bishop Jamie Soto of Sacramento pulled a bait-and-switch at the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries’ conference last weekend.
The organization, which celebrates homosexuality and urges other Catholic group to do the same, had invited Soto to speak to congregants and spread the good word. Soto agreed, a move that surprised many of his faithful flock. “How could such a pious man endorse those sinful queers?” Answer: he doesn’t.
Rather than praising the Association’s commitment to maintaining their Catholic ways, Soto used his pulpit to admonish attendees and decried their “deviation:” “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. For this reason, it is sinful.”
Soto then went on to cite the Biblical character Paul, who urged his followers not to conform to cultural and social changes. Rather than embracing gay acceptance, said Soto, true Catholics will eschew the so-called “distortion” of love:
“If you cannot have sex then you cannot love. This is the message. Even more destructive is the prevailing notion that sex is not an expression of love. Sex is love.” This view, says the bishop, “robs the human person of the possibility of ever knowing real love.
“Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman in the covenant of Marriage is one expression of love to which the human person can aspire, but we are all called to love. … The human desire to love must lead us to the divine.” The path to the highest love, said the bishop, “is the path of chastity.”
Soto also used his speech to urge voters to support Proposition 8, a California ballot measure that would revoke that state’s gay marriages. A number of the Association’s associates reportedly got up and walked out on Soto. And, really, who can blame them?