There’s yet another uproar over Catholics opposing the celebration of same-sex sexual activity. Recently, Fr. Andre Metrejean, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Erath, Louisiana, criticized the New Orleans Saints for their decision to light up their stadium with “Pride” rainbow colors in honor of Pride month. His Facebook post reads:
Come on NOLA Saints. We want to support you. But this kinda of stunt hurts society and souls. Don’t bow down to these pressure groups. Kids have rights. Children deserve to have a dad and a mom. Plz dont support immorality. Cancel the PC Culture.
The post blew up on social media, attracting more than 500 comments, some of which accused the parish of “hatefulness” and “bigotry.” One woman, a native of Erath, has even requested the Diocese of Lafayette to remove Fr. Andre Metrejean as pastor because she views his comments as “homophobic.”
Fr. Metrejean responded to the backlash saying his disapproval was not one of hate, but simply a message about “the truth about sexuality and God’s plan for it.” As his message says, “Plz don’t support immorality.”
What’s interesting is that Fr. Metrejean’s message is nothing more than a reiteration of the Catholic Church’s teaching on same-sex sexual activity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,
Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved (2357; emphasis added).
Fr. Metrejean was simply echoing Catholic teaching and inviting the New Orleans Saints to not celebrate that which the “Pride” movement celebrates: same-sex sexual activity. So, it’s not really Fr. Metrejean that the offended have a problem with. It’s Catholic teaching that they can’t stomach.
Now, it’s one thing to disagree with Catholic teaching on same-sex sexual activity and think it’s wrong. But it’s another to say such a teaching is homophobic, bigoted, or hateful.
Think about what this entails. The Catholic Church, and in this particular case Fr. Metrejean, is viewed as being mean-spirited simply for making a negative moral evaluation about a certain behavior.
But, if to make a negative judgment about the morality of a certain behavior were mean spirited, then it would be mean-spirited to make negative judgments about the morality of any behavior. And I assume that’s not something these folks want to go with.
For starters, it would undermine their criticism of Fr. Metrejean. If it were mean-spirited to make negative judgments about the morality of behaviors, then it would be mean-spirited for them to judge Fr. Metrejean’s behavior as homophobic, hateful, and bigoted. That’s a negative judgment about the morality of someone’s behavior.
Moreover, if we shouldn’t make judgments about the way people behave, then we wouldn’t be able criticize any type of behavior. We wouldn’t be able to criticize the evil of racism. We wouldn’t be able to criticize the evil of physical and sexual abuse of children. The list goes on.
According to the logic of those who opposed Fr. Metrejean, none of these behaviors could be judged as immoral. And if someone did make such a judgment, the same labels of hatred and bigotry could be applied.
But, surely the folks who are opposing Fr. Metrejean wouldn’t label the disapproval of the above morally deviant behaviors as being hateful or bigoted. I assume they would view such disapproval as just right reason.
If they wouldn’t label disapproval of these immoral activities as hateful or bigoted, then they shouldn’t label Fr. Metrejean’s, and the Catholic Church’s, disapproval of same-sex sexual activity as hateful or bigoted.
Fr. Metrejean responded to the harsh criticisms by calling to mind that love is the reason why the Catholic Church teaches what it does when it comes to same-sex sexual activity:
My parish, my Church, my Bible, my Catholic tradition, my Lord, we don’t hate you, we love you. That’s why we preach what we do. This is not about exclusion, this is not about judging others, this is about saving souls and bringing people the power of the blood of Christ.
The motivation of love for Fr. Metrejean expressing his negative views (and the Catholic Church’s views) about same-sex sexual activity reveals the real issue at hand: whether this activity is something morally good or bad.
If same-sex sexual activity were not good for us insofar as we are human beings, then it would be harmful in that it would harm our moral character. And if such behavior were morally harmful, then we shouldn’t accept or celebrate it, even if civil authorities might tolerate it.
And the choice to not accept and celebrate such human behavior wouldn’t be any more mean-spirited or disrespectful than it would be to not accept or celebrate human behavior that involves racism, child abuse, murder, thievery, or rape. On the contrary, such a choice would be an expression of love because love is to will the good of another.
So, the real issue is not whether someone like Fr. Metrejean (or the Catholic Church for that matter) is mean-spirited and disrespectful for not accepting and celebrating same-sex sexual activity. It’s whether such behavior is morally good or bad, and thus worthy of acceptance and celebration or rejection and lamentation.
Moreover, if those who oppose Fr. Metrejean’s views desire to exemplify love, then they might want to stop throwing around labels that demean a person without giving a reasoned argument as to why his views are wrong. For such behavior is the essence of bigotry. There is nothing kind and respectful about being unwilling to give a fair hearing to opposing views and insulting the person rather than reasoned debate.