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Is Vatican Blessing Decision Anti-Gay?

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CNN host Don Lemon took on the Vatican in a conversation with the women of The View. He explained that he doesn’t think God approves of the Catholic refusal to bless same-sex unions. We asked apologist Karlo Broussard to respond to Mr. Lemon’s take.


Cy Kellett:
Don Lemon lectures the Catholic Church. Karlo Broussard responds next. Hello and welcome to Focus, the Catholic answers podcast for living, understanding, and defending your Catholic faith. I’m Cy Kellett, your host. And the Vatican said recently Catholics are not going to bless same-sex unions. And you might be surprised at this, but a lot of celebrities disagreed in various ways, in various modes. One of the most articulate disagreements came from Don Lemon, a host from CNN, and so we chose to listen to it with Karlo Broussard and ask him to give us his response to what Don Lemon had to say. So here’s our conversation with Karlo.

Karlo Broussard, thanks for being here with us.

Karlo Broussard:
Hey, thanks for having me, Cy.

Cy Kellett:
I actually thought immediately of you when I saw a little clip on TV of Don Lemon, who is a CNN host, on The View. Don’t ask me why I was watching Don Lemon on The View. That’s none of your business. And he was giving his response to, and this is going to get confusing, to the Vatican’s response to a question about blessing same-sex unions. So I thought it would be fun to talk with you about it because he provides a lot of opportunity for reflecting on how you respond to these things.

So the response. So basically how it seems to have worked is some bishop somewhere in the world asked the Vatican, “Are we supposed to be or can we be blessing same-sex unions?” And the responsum, as the official word from the Congregation of Doctrine of the Faith, said no and then gave an explanatory note about that. I did not feel surprised that the answer was no. Did you have any sense of surprise at that?

Karlo Broussard:
No, not at all. Pope Francis has been very consistent in his stance in defending and explaining the church’s teaching on the appropriate moral use of our sexual powers in rejecting and condemning same-sex sexual activity as well as the unions that would be ordered toward that activity and celebrating it. And so what you have here is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith simply reaffirming what the church teaches. For example, paragraph 2357, the catechism, when it’s talking about the immorality of same-sex sexual activity, it states in paragraph 2357, “Under no circumstances can they,” that is homosexual acts, “be approved.”

And then the church, the CDF, is simply reaffirming what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in 2003 in its document, Consideration Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons. And in that document, it denied the giving of legal status to such unions. And so here, we just have the church being consistent with its prior teaching.

Cy Kellett:
But it’s teaching that goes all the way back to Jesus. Certainly in Matthew’s gospel, I think the 19th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, where he quotes the book of Genesis to the people who ask him about marriage. And so I guess we could say not even just back to Jesus, all the way back to the writing of the book of Genesis.

Karlo Broussard:
And it’s not just by way of supernatural revelation, but also what is revealed to us within the very nature of our bodies and the sexual powers that we have as human beings.

Cy Kellett:
So I listened on the way home after the show the day that this happened to National Public Radio to see how National Public Radio, NPR, would report it. And they reported it with a good deal of disappointment, and they ended with a sad note that said, “Well, the Catholic Church, as we all know, is very slow to change.” And I thought, “That is not the correct ending to this report,” because some things never change.

Karlo Broussard:
Amen.

Cy Kellett:
Jesus is God. It’s not going to be a slow, gradual giving up of that. What Jesus taught us about sexual unions is definitive.

Karlo Broussard:
And it’s good.

Cy Kellett:
Yeah, right.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s one thing we need to emphasize in our conversation is that what the church teaches about human sexuality as given to us by God through natural revelation, what we can know by reason, by looking at our bodies and our powers and what they’re for, and also through supernatural revelation, that this is good. It’s meant for us as human beings, what’s good and perfective for us as human beings, which is ultimately constitutive, that is to say, it constitutes our human happiness.

And this is one of the fundamental flaws of modern culture in thinking that our opposition to same-sex sexual unions are bad. They think it’s bad, and therefore, they’re disappointed. They think our opposition to such unions is bad, and therefore, they’re disappointed that we’re not affirming it. But that assumes, they think that assumes that same-sex sexual unions and the activities involved are good. And so what we’re calling bad, they’re calling good. What they call good, we’re calling bad. And that’s going to be at the heart of what we’re going to focus on today.

Cy Kellett:
The only other thing I’ll say about the reporting before we listen to the clip from Don Lemon on The View is the Christian community and its pastors, this is part of the Vatican’s response, are called to welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations and will know how to find the most appropriate ways consistent with church teaching to proclaim to them the gospel in its fullness. That is, the gospel is for all of us. Everybody is welcome, but what I noted in the reporting was a kind of, “Yeah, they say that, but that’s out of the other side of their mouth because they’re not blessing same-sex unions.” But these are not inconsistent things, and it’s not just an add-on to say that every person is welcome. Every single person is welcome in the church.

Karlo Broussard:
Yeah, and that’s coming from the catechism, paragraph 2358, where it recognizes there are some people who have these deep-seated tendencies or same-sex attractions, and it constitutes a trial for them, but they must be respected, accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and the catechism rejects every form of unjust discrimination and says that must be avoided.

And it is not ad hoc to draw this distinction because there is a reality that the distinction is based upon, namely a particular type of behavior and how we’re going to treat the person, and that’s a legitimate distinction that we can draw. Are there some people who will just talk out the side of their mouth and treat these individuals with these sorts of tendencies and even those who engage in what we would say immoral behavior, are there people who treat them in uncharitable ways? Yes.

Cy Kellett:
Yes. Right.

Karlo Broussard:
But that means they’re failing to live up to what the church teaches about how we ought to be treating them as persons, while at the same recognizing we can make judgments about the behavior as to whether it’s moral or immoral, in this particular behavior, immoral.

Cy Kellett:
Okay. So let’s listen to Don. Let’s listen to the whole thing, and then I’ll pull out some quotes from it and just ask you to-

Karlo Broussard:
Yeah, we’ll work our way through it.

Cy Kellett:
… as a philosopher and theologian, give us an account.

Karlo Broussard:
Sounds like fun. Let’s do it.

Cy Kellett:
Okay. All right. Here is Don Lemon on The View.

Female:
Well, Don, to pivot, you got engaged to your fiance, Tim, in 2019, and this morning, you guys are so cute, we learned that the Vatican has said that the Catholic Church won’t bless same-sex unions, quote, since God cannot bless sin. They go on to say that this does not imply a judgment on persons, but I want to know, do you think this sends a damaging message? And how do you feel about that, given that obviously you are now engaged and going to get married?

Don Lemon:
Well, I think there are … Listen, I respect people’s right to believe in whatever they want to believe in their God. But if you believe in something that hurts another person or that does not give someone the same rights or freedoms, not necessarily under the Constitution because this is under God, I think that that’s wrong. And I think that the Catholic Church and many other churches really need to reexamine themselves and their teachings because that is not what God is about. God is not about hindering people or even judging people.

And to put it in the context of race, I find that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said the most segregated place on earth, time on earth, was 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning. So I think that religion and the pew keeps us from actually, they’re barriers from people actually getting to know each other.

So I would say to the Pope and the Vatican and all the Christians or Catholics or whomever, whatever religion you happen to belong to out there, go out and meet people and try to understand people and do what the Bible and what Jesus actually said, if you believe in Jesus, and that is to love your fellow man and judge not lest ye be not judged.

So instead of having the pew hinder you, having the church hinder you, instead of being segregated in the church or among yourselves, go out and have a barbecue and meet people and start breaking bread with people and getting to know them, much as I do at Joy’s house, mostly Sunny coming to my house, Sara coming to my house, me going to Whoopi’s house for barbecues. I’m telling the truth. And then hopefully I will be celebrating some sort of meal with Meghan and Liberty at her house or at my house.

Cy Kellett:
Thank you, Darin. Okay. So that’s what Don had to say. I have to just wholeheartedly agree with the ending part about barbecues. I think we should. But I mean that not just in a flippant sense, but really getting to know people is fundamental to the gospel. You can’t love people you don’t know.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s correct.

Cy Kellett:
And if there’s a gay couple in your neighborhood and you’re turning the cold shoulder to them, that’s not what Christ called us to do. So I’m just throwing that in as my little thing, because I’m in favor of barbecue.

Karlo Broussard:
Amen to that.

Cy Kellett:
Okay. So let me give you some quotes, and you-

Karlo Broussard:
Sure. We’ll think through it.

Cy Kellett:
So at the beginning he says, “I respect people’s right to believe in whatever they want to believe in in their God.”

Karlo Broussard:
Yeah, that’s fair, right? Kudos to him for that. At least he’s acknowledging that hey, we’re all rational beings with freedom, and we need to be able to pursue and inquire as to what is true without the threat of physical coercion. So he’s not throwing around the tolerance label or intolerance sort of thing. He’s respecting, hey, we need to all pursue the truth, and whatever conclusion we come to, that’s what we come to, and we’re in agreement there. And of course, he would disagree with whatever conclusion we’re coming to. So at least that statement, as it stands, that’s fair. That’s fair game, and we agree. So we want to respect everyone’s freedom to pursue the truth and come to whatever conclusions they come to.

Cy Kellett:
Right. We wouldn’t want Don Lemon coercing us, and we don’t want to coerce Don Lemon. And God bless him.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right. And notice he’s not implying that we need to accept everyone’s conclusions as equal and valid, as many people often do. He’s making the claim that our conclusion here as Catholics and as Christians who oppose same-sex sexual activity, the implication is that we’re wrong. And that’s okay.

Cy Kellett:
Yeah, sure. Right.

Karlo Broussard:
You can make those judgments.

Cy Kellett:
Those are the kind of conversations we can have. It’s people who say there is no such thing as right and wrong it’s harder to have a conversation with.

Karlo Broussard:
Right. Indeed. Indeed.

Cy Kellett:
So he goes on to say, “If you believe in something that hurts another person, that does not give someone the same rights or freedoms, not necessarily something under the Constitution because this is under God, I think that that’s wrong.”

Karlo Broussard:
Okay. So there is your judgment. He’s making a moral judgment there, that is wrong. So we’re fair game here. We’re playing ball about analyzing and thinking about what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad. Okay. So there are two things here, Cy, in this particular quote that I want to target that I think are worthy of reflection.

First of all, he’s talking about hurting another person. So what is the action that hurts other people? Well, for Don here, it’s making a negative evaluation about some behavior and saying we can’t celebrate it, because that’s what he’s attacking from the perspective of the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church is saying, “No, God can’t approve of sin. We can’t approve of sin.” And that’s what he’s attacking.

So we’re basically saying, “Hey, that particular behavior, same-sex sexual activity, that’s immoral, that’s bad, that’s a sin. We can’t celebrate it.” In Don’s mind, that is what the-

Cy Kellett:
That’s hurtful.

Karlo Broussard:
… action is that’s hurtful. That’s what hurtful.

Cy Kellett:
Our judgment is hurtful to him.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right. Okay. So now this raises a question. Well, wait a minute, are we forbidden to make any negative moral evaluation? Must we celebrate all types of human behavior?

Cy Kellett:
No.

Karlo Broussard:
Of course not.

Cy Kellett:
Even Don Lemon, he’s not arguing that.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right. Yeah. If making a negative moral evaluation of a behavior were hurtful, in and of itself, well then, of course, Don would be hurting us for making a negative moral evaluation of our behavior and our judgments that we’re making concerning same-sex sexual activity and saying that we can’t celebrate it.

Now furthermore, we don’t want to go so far as to say that we can’t make any negative moral evaluations of human behavior because in that case, we’d have to say, “Well, we can’t make any sort of negative moral evaluation of racism or rape.” But of course, Don was on The View to talk about a book-

Cy Kellett:
About racism.

Karlo Broussard:
… that he came out with about racism. So surely we can make negative moral evaluations of human behavior, right?

Cy Kellett:
Yeah. Just not this one apparently.

Karlo Broussard:
Just not this one apparently. Right. And so that’s a flaw in his thinking. He’s thinking that our judgment that same-sex sexual activity is immoral and that we can’t celebrate it is hurtful. But if we apply his line of reasoning that he’s using for that human behavior in critiquing us, well then we’re going to have to use the same line of reasoning and critique his negative judgments about racism which, of course, is absurd, and we don’t want to do that.

Cy Kellett:
But even closer to home, just to keep it in the sexual realm, we’d have to do the same thing for, say, adultery.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right. Or as I mentioned, rape.

Cy Kellett:
Because the adultering person would say, “Well, that’s hurtful to me for you to judge me.”

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right. You can’t make a negative judgment about my behavior. That hurts me. That’s hurtful. But that’s absurd, right?

Cy Kellett:
That is absurd.

Karlo Broussard:
And so what we’re doing here is we’re trying to tease out the reasoning that Don’s using to try and attack or critique, we can use that word, critique the Catholic position [crosstalk 00:15:45]-

Cy Kellett:
Right, because he had the option of just saying, “I disagree with the Catholic church.”

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right. And if he would have left it right there-

Cy Kellett:
He could have said that, and we’d have been-

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right.

Cy Kellett:
… we don’t need you-

Karlo Broussard:
But he goes forward and gives reasons for that judgment, and so what we’re doing here is looking at those reasons and showing that they do not justify his disagreement with the church’s position in saying that we’re wrong.

Now, there’s a second thing in this quote that I would like to think through with you, Cy. He talks about the act of not giving someone the same rights or freedoms under God. So what is he talking about there? Well, he’s talking about the Catholic Church not blessing same-sex unions and not considering them as marriage. Now, think about this. Surely it’s not always hurtful to forbid people from doing something, right?

Cy Kellett:
No, of course not.

Karlo Broussard:
We forbid criminals from walking the streets. We lock them up in jail because we stop them from causing unnecessary harm to others and stealing things. We forbid blind people from driving. So it’s not always hurtful to forbid people from doing something. And also, too, it’s not always bad to not consider something in the way that someone else demands we consider it.

So think of my 10-year-old. If he comes and says, “Dad, I demand that you consider me eligible to have access to your vehicles and drive every day wherever I want to go to,” I can say, “No, son,” and I’m not a bad person for that.

So there are some things that we can say no to when they’re demanding that we consider it the way they are considering it. And we can say, “No, we disagree with that, and we’re not going to consider it the way you consider it.” So in this context, Don and others are demanding the Catholic Church consider same-sex sexual unions as marriage, and we’re saying no to that. We’re not going to consider it that way.

Cy Kellett:
But they’re not accepting the no.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right.

Cy Kellett:
They’re saying, “You don’t have the right to say that no.”

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right. And so what I’m saying is that you can’t simply respond and say, “Oh, well, that’s hurtful to me,” or “You’re not giving me the same right or the freedom under God.” Well, hold on for a moment. Think about our forbidding of criminals. The reason why we forbid criminals from doing those things is based upon the reality of the type of behaviors they’re doing. The reason why I forbid my son from having full access to my vehicles is based on the reality of his youth and his immaturity. He’s not ready for that yet.

So Don’s claim here really is that it’s wrong or unjust to not give someone the right or freedom to quote, unquote marry a member of the same sex assumes that quote, unquote marrying a member of the same sex is a legitimate good for us as human beings, and of course the sexual activity involved in that is good for us as human beings as ordained by God. That’s the assumption that’s driving his claim, hey, Catholic Church, you can’t be forbidding someone the right and the freedom that comes to them from God. That assumes that pursuing a same-sex sexual union is a legitimate good for us as human beings. But that’s what we would debate and say, “No, it is not.”

Cy Kellett:
But I think that it sounds to me like Don Lemon and the women on The View are of the view that pop culture has decided this, the federal courts have decided this, CNN has decided this. You are somehow not on the bandwagon. We’ve all figured this out. You just haven’t figured it out yet. So there’s a refusal to go, “No, they probably thought about it just as much as I’ve thought about it, and they’ve come to a different conclusion.” No, the only way you could come to that conclusion is that you just don’t like gay people.

Karlo Broussard:
And that becomes manifest and evident in some of the other remarks that Don makes.

Cy Kellett:
Shall I give you some more?

Karlo Broussard:
Yeah, sure.

Cy Kellett:
Okay. At another point he says, “I think that the Catholic Church and many other churches really need to reexamine theirselves and their teachings because that is not what God is about. God is not about hindering people, even judging people.”

Karlo Broussard:
All right. So first of all, God is not about hindering people. Well, that’s a little bit vague because if he means by hindering people, God does not hinder people in general, well, surely God hinders people from committing sinful behaviors by way of inviting them to repent, repent and believe in the gospel and stop engaging in sin. So that’s a form of hindrance, at least in Don’s mind. God gives us grace to move us to repent to get out of sin. That’s a form of hindrance, at least in Don’s mind.

So if Don means by hindrance, hindrance in general, well, God does hinder people in that way by telling us, “Don’t do that.” It’s the 10 commandments. Thou shalt not, thou shalt not, and saying do this, which is in accord with human happiness and holiness, et cetera.

Now, if Don means God’s not going to hinder people from same-sex sexual behavior or activity, if that’s what he means, God doesn’t hinder people from that sort of behavior, well, of course, once again, that assumes that same-sex sexual activity is a good type of human behavior and thus God would not hinder us from it. But that’s where the debate lies.

So once again, we’re back to that question, “Is this sort of behavior good human behavior or bad human behavior?” And that’s where the conversation has to go before we can begin making all of these other judgments that Don is making. Secondly-

Cy Kellett:
Can I?

Karlo Broussard:
You go ahead.

Cy Kellett:
As a Christian, I just want to say this before we go on to the next thing. My assumption, and I think it’s based on good scriptural evidence, is that when I die, God will judge me. I’m expecting that. If that does not happen, that’s going to be a shocker to me.

Karlo Broussard:
And that gets to the next thing that he says, “God does not judge people.” And I don’t know how he might parse that in his mind to come to the conclusion God does not judge.

Cy Kellett:
Well, he does use Christ’s own words, “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

Karlo Broussard:
But notice he says, “God does not judge people.” If he were to say, “You Catholics need to stop judging people,” well then, we could analyze what he means by judgment.

Cy Kellett:
I see, but he’s-

Karlo Broussard:
But he’s saying God does not judge. So that raises the question, what do you mean by judge? Well, if he means God doesn’t judge people’s culpability, well yeah, that’s what God does. In fact, he’s the only who can judge an individual’s culpability in truth and fact of the matter because only he has access to the inner movements of the heart and the mind. So he’s just flat out wrong there, at least from the Christian perspective. If he’s saying God does not judge, he must be thinking of some other God, but yet-

Cy Kellett:
Right, because the Christian God tells us he judges.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right. But he appeals to Jesus. He appeals to the Christian understanding of God, so it’s legitimate for us as Christians to say, “No, Don, God does judge people’s culpability.”

Cy Kellett:
Right. It’s not just a matter of we have a disagreement about God. You’re misrepresenting the gospel.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s correct.

Cy Kellett:
Because the gospels are very clear. Just go to, is it the fifth chapter of Matthew with the sheep and the goats? Am I in the wrong chapter?

Karlo Broussard:
Matthew 25.

Cy Kellett:
Matthew 25, yes. So it’s very clear.

Karlo Broussard:
There will be judgment.

Cy Kellett:
If you feed the hungry, you’re on one side. If you refuse to feed the hungry, you’re on the other side.

Karlo Broussard:
You’re on the other side.

Cy Kellett:
That’s a judgment.

Karlo Broussard:
That is correct. And the other possible meaning there is well, God doesn’t judge the immorality of behaviors. Well, that’s not true because God does judge certain behaviors to be immoral. Thou shalt not. The 10 commandments. Now if Don means, once again, God does not judge the immorality of same-sex sexual activity, well then, once again, we’re back to that fundamental question.

Cy Kellett:
We can’t get away from that.

Karlo Broussard:
Is that behavior appropriate human behavior or not? And that’s where we’re going to have to have the conversation.

Cy Kellett:
Don continued, “And to put it into the context of race that you know, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that the most sacred place on earth is 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning.” I feel like I read that wrong, but maybe I got it. I apologize to Don Lemon if I just read that wrong, but it’s 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning. And especially coming from a Baptist perspective, that was quite true. As a Catholic maybe Martin Luther King should have been in more Catholic churches because it’s much less true there, but I’m not going to deny racism in the church. Of course not.

Karlo Broussard:
Sure, sure, sure. Yeah. So the first thing is he’s saying the most segregated place on earth is in church on a Sunday morning. But notice the implication here, Cy. The implication is belief about the immorality of same-sex sexual activity is bad. Why? Because it separates us from people who believe it’s okay. That seems to me to be the implication because what’s the target? The church says, “This sort of behavior is wrong and immoral, therefore, we can’t celebrate it.”

And in response to that Catholic belief, Don is saying, “Well, the most segregated place on earth is on a Sunday morning in church.” Why? Because we say this behavior is immoral, and we’re not going to celebrate it. Okay. Well, if that’s the case, well then, what about someone’s belief of the immorality of racism? That segregates us and separates us from those who think racism is okay. So should we cast a negative light on that belief as well?

Cy Kellett:
Yeah. What if the Catholic Church said, “We can’t bless racist rallies,” for example. Would you say, “Well, that’s wrong for you to judge-”

Karlo Broussard:
Would you say that’s hurtful toward the people who are racist? Of course not.

Cy Kellett:
And by the way, we don’t bless racist rallies.

Karlo Broussard:
Of course not. Here’s the point. If we were to follow Don’s logic, then we would have to cast a negative light on Christians’ belief that racism is immoral, if we follow his logic. Of course, he’s not going to want to go there because he rejects racism. He views it as immoral. But what we’re trying to show here is that if we follow his logic, it’s going to lead to these absurd conclusions, so he can’t be using this segregation reason for rejecting the church’s position against same-sex sexual behavior. It just falls flat on its face. It doesn’t work.

Cy Kellett:
At this point I have to say I get the feeling that what is happening actually is that it’s a little bit platitudinous what Don Lemon is doing. He’s throwing a bunch of ideas at us saying, “Well, this is mean, and you guys are going to get over this meanness sometime in the future. And Martin Luther King was against meanness.” It seems like a collection of half-thought-out platitudes that are meant to make the point, you guys are mean for not accepting what I do.

Karlo Broussard:
But once again, that raises the question, well, is it mean to make a negative moral evaluation of some human behavior in and of itself? Of course not. So once again, we’re back to the question, is that type of-

Cy Kellett:
Is this a good or not a good behavior?

Karlo Broussard:
And speaking of behavior, it’s important that we emphasize the behavioral aspect of what we’re making judgments on because notice Don here is now, and put into the context of race-

Cy Kellett:
Yeah, he did that. Right.

Karlo Broussard:
He did that. So he seems to be drawing a parallel between a Christian’s refusal to celebrate same-sex sexual activity with the refusal to recognize the equality of people of different races. But that’s a false comparison because one deals with race, the other deals with behavior. They’re two totally different things.

Cy Kellett:
Can I tell you what would be a good analogy? If he said, “Racism is like discriminating against the person who has homosexual inclinations.” Now it’s not a perfect analogy, but that’s closer because race is not in any way a problem. So it’s not-

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right. The analogy falls apart there because the church does affirm in paragraph 2357 of the catechism that the same-sex attraction within this context is an objective disorder, so the inclination or propensity itself is a disorder, but race is not. So that’s where the analogy would fall apart.

Cy Kellett:
But what I’m saying is there’s a difference between behavior and person. So a person who is a black person, for example, if you discriminate on the basis of their being black, they didn’t do anything to deserve that. That’s wrong. The person who’s just walking around with homosexual inclinations, you say, “We don’t want you in the Catholic Church,” that would be wrong. They didn’t do anything.

Karlo Broussard:
That is correct. So there the analogy works.

Cy Kellett:
That’s a closer analogy than this idea of-

Karlo Broussard:
Race and behavior.

Cy Kellett:
… race and behavior, exactly.

Karlo Broussard:
Listen, we don’t evaluate the morality of race, and whoever does, if you say, “Well, you’re immoral because you’re of a certain ethnic group,” well, that’s absurd because morality has to do with human behavior. It doesn’t have to do with race. It’s a category mistake. And so to draw a parallel between race, the refusal to accept the equality of human beings based upon their ethnicity and compare that with refusal to celebrate same-sex sexual activity, it’s two totally essential different things. And so this comparison just simply falls apart and does not work.

Cy Kellett:
Can I give you another quote?

Karlo Broussard:
Sure, let’s do it.

Cy Kellett:
Okay. This one’s a bit longer, but you can make of it what you will. “So I think that religion and the pew keeps us from … Actually there are barriers that keep us from actually getting to know each other. I would say that the Pope and the Vatican or all Christians or Catholics or whomever, whatever religion you happen to belong to out there, go out and meet people and try to understand people instead of having the pew hinder you, having the church hinder you. Instead of being segregated in your church or among yourselves, go out and have a barbecue and meet people and start breaking bread with people and getting to know them.”

I feel very judged by that. I do. I have to say. It’s like you think that because I sit in a pew on Sunday I don’t visit with my neighbors? I don’t have the same family issues that you have? Because I’m sitting in a pew, somehow that’s putting blinders on? That’s just rude to talk that way.

Karlo Broussard:
Yeah. And if you were to use his logic, you could turn the tables and apply the same language toward him and say, “Hey, that’s hurtful to me. You’re wrong. You need to stop doing that.”

Cy Kellett:
And so assuming that I’m some kind of rube who never goes out of church is rude. That’s rude.

Karlo Broussard:
Yes, it is. It is. Now notice the implication here of Don’s statement. If I know him and understand him, or anybody like him-

Cy Kellett:
Oh yeah, that’s right.

Karlo Broussard:
… notice the reasoning behind what he’s saying here. If I know him and understand him, well then, I’ll come to see that same-sex sexual activity is morally okay. That’s his argument.

Cy Kellett:
That’s the implication of it, of what he’s saying anyway.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s the implication. Hey, all you Christians out there, you oppose homosexual behavior, same-sex sexual activity-

Cy Kellett:
Invite me to a barbecue.

Karlo Broussard:
… invite me to a barbecue and have table fellowship with me. What’s the implication? Well, I’ll come to see that that sort of behavior is okay. Well, why would getting to know someone make me think that same-sex sexual behavior is morally okay? Maybe because I’ll see that they’re nice people?

Cy Kellett:
Yeah, sentimental. It’s sentimental.

Karlo Broussard:
Right? But I don’t think same-sex sexual behavior or same-sex sexual activity is immoral because the people who engage in it are mean or evil or not nice. So that can’t be the issue. Maybe I’ll see that they have good intentions. If I go to the barbecue and have some dinner with Don here, I’ll see that he has good intentions, and so therefore, the implication being, I’ll come to see his behavior is okay.

Cy Kellett:
I don’t know Don Lemon. I already assume he has good intentions. I’m sure he’s a great person.

Karlo Broussard:
And I think this is really what’s going on here. I think this is what’s driving his statements, “Come, get to know me, you’ll see I’m a nice guy, I have good intentions.” But here’s the problem, Cy. Our judgment that same-sex sexual activity is immoral is not based on one’s intentions, such that if I figured out that the person really has good intentions, well then, all of a sudden the behavior becomes okay.

Our judgment that same-sex sexual behavior is immoral is based on the fact that it is a voluntary thwarting or violation of the design that God has bestowed in our sexual powers, that our sexual powers are made for procreation, and to voluntarily use those powers while actively thwarting what they’re naturally designed for, namely procreation, that becomes a perverted activity. It’s contrary to the order of good that God has inscribed in these sexual powers, and thus is not good for us as human beings, and therefore, we ought not to pursue it.

Cy Kellett:
But it’s the same argument we make about contraception, by the way.

Karlo Broussard:
Exactly the same. That’s correct.

Cy Kellett:
Just so Don Lemon doesn’t feel like-

Karlo Broussard:
We’re attacking.

Cy Kellett:
… we’re picking on him, it’s the exact same argument about contraception.

Karlo Broussard:
Amen. It’s based upon the natural moral law. So are there some behaviors that might be morally neutral that could be deemed evil or bad based upon one’s intentions? Yes. But this is not one of those behaviors. So regardless of how good a person’s intentions are when they’re entering into these same-sex sexual unions, it does not take away from the fact that the same-sex sexual behavior is intrinsically disordered, is intrinsically evil, it’s contrary to our human good.

So a person could have the best of intentions, desiring that love and friendship and emotional satisfaction and emotional connection and physical pleasure, all of those desires are good. In this particular case some of those desires might be disordered in certain ways, but the behavior itself is still immoral and contrary to our good.

And so it’s just simply a manifestation that the principle that Don and others are operating on and saying, “Hey, I’m a nice guy. Come and get to know me,” their morality is based upon intentions alone. As long as I have good intentions, regardless of what the behavior is, then the behavior is okay. But that’s something that we’re going to challenge as Christians and say, “No, that’s not right because there are some things, regardless of the person’s intention …” Listen, if I have the good intention to support my family, but that doesn’t justify me to go and rob the bank down the street. That’s a simple example.

So too, just because I have good intentions in entering into this union or relationship, that doesn’t justify the same-sex sexual behavior that an individual is going to be engaging in. Now, they might respond and say, “Ah, but it is okay to engage in that behavior,” and that’s where the question is going to lie.

Cy Kellett:
And that’s the conversation we have to have.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s the conversation we have to have and answer that question. Is the behavior moral or immoral? Is it right, or is it wrong? And so that’s the fundamental question that has to be answered first before we begin talking about whether we’re loving the person or being mean to the person and all of this other stuff that gets thrown at us.

Cy Kellett:
Fundamentally, is that act right or wrong? Well, a place where I experience this a lot when people ask us questions on the radio program is the mother and father who are having trouble conceiving a child who want to use in vitro fertilization. So as Catholics, they want to know, “I just want to make a baby. God loves babies. We’re supposed to be pro-baby. Why can’t I use in vitro fertilization?” And I’m just saying this because this is the analogy that works for me. It’s painful to say, “But your intention to make a baby does not overcome the-”

Karlo Broussard:
Evil of the act itself.

Cy Kellett:
And I can list the various things, including the destruction of embryos and the separation of the procreation from the love of the parents and all of that. But the point is, and I say this in part because I do want Don Lemon and anybody who might be listening who shares his view, to understand this is not picking on gay people. The church can never give a blessing to, say, a in vitro fertilization clinic. It can never give a blessing to people who are engaged in adultery. It can’t give a blessing to gay marriage because it doesn’t matter what your intention is. Those things in themselves are wrong.

Karlo Broussard:
Right. And the last thought that occurs to me is that in no way … You’re talking about they shouldn’t be thinking that we’re picking on them, in no way should they think that we’re being mean-spirited toward them. In fact, it’s the opposite. The only reason why we say no to this sort of behavior and to Don and others and say, “You ought not to engage in that sort of behavior,” is because we love these people. What is love? To will the good of another. So I desire the good for all people, and I desire that all people stay away from what’s not good for them.

Cy Kellett:
That’s all.

Karlo Broussard:
We judge this particular behavior to not be good.

Cy Kellett:
Look at that. Look at that. Very professional.

Karlo Broussard:
We judge this particular behavior to not be good for us as human beings, and so because of love, we say, “Avoid it.” And that’s simply what the church is saying because the church is looking out for our happiness and only in living in a way that harmonizes with God’s design, that’s consistent with God’s design, in particular, our sexual powers, only then will we be happy.

And so because these sorts of behaviors are going to lead us away from our happiness, away from God in whom we have our happiness, the church says, “Don’t do it. Avoid it. Avoid it with a 10-foot pole. Stay away from it. And exercise the virtue of chastity.” Why? Because only in living in a way that’s consistent with God’s design will you be happy. So that’s the fundamental answer there.

Cy Kellett:
To all sin.

Karlo Broussard:
That’s right.

Cy Kellett:
That’s the fundamental answer to all of our sin. Karlo, thanks. Thanks very much. I appreciate you breaking it down with us.

Karlo Broussard:
Thanks for having me, brother.

Cy Kellett:
I’d like to go to a barbecue with Don Lemon. I’d probably prefer to go to a barbecue with Whoopi Goldberg. Just saying. But I wouldn’t mind going to a barbecue with Don Lemon. I’m always up for a barbecue, especially when it is free. But I have to say Don Lemon gives us a bit of a dilemma here. Are our beliefs as Christians about blessing same-sex unions rooted in a prejudice that comes from maybe, as Don implied, us not knowing enough gay people? Or are they rooted in something other than prejudice? Is there a reason to believe as we do about sex, about contraception, about homosexual relationships, about any kind of relationship about marriage? Is that all passe? Are we over that, or is it something solid and actually something really good given to us as a gift by our Lord, Jesus Christ, a teaching that will persist until the end of time because it’s rooted in the truth, and he himself is that truth? I think it’s the latter. You have to make up your mind.

You can always send us an email if you’d like to disagree, agree or suggest a future episode. Our email is [email protected], [email protected] Also, don’t forget if you’re watching on YouTube to like and subscribe. That help to grow the podcast, and it is growing, and we’re grateful for your help. If you listen to the podcast maybe on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or something like and you want to give us that five-star review, maybe say a few nice words about us, that also helps to grow the podcast.

And if you would consider please financially supporting us, it really does cost us some money to do this. And we need some money to support it if we’re going to keep doing it. Your support is welcome at givecatholic.com. Just go to givecatholic.com, write a little note that says this is for Focus, and it’ll get to us and keep us in funds to be able to do this.

I want to thank Karlo again. It’s always great to get to do these more pop culture things with Karlo, who has always got his face in a book. If we could just get him to just look at a video for a minute, Karlo. All right. That’ll do it for us. I’m Cy Kellett, your host. We’ll see you next time God-willing right here on [inaudible 00:41:35] Focus.

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