Gay couples, other unrepentant public sinners, the Catholic Church, and scandal

As most have already surmised, based on the long history of the Church, there is a world of difference between private, personal sin and the type of wanton, blatant, public misbehavior known as scandal, which also serves to induce others to sin.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Respect for the souls of others: scandal

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”86 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.87

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.

Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.”88 This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,89 or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!”90

The lesbian couple in Colorado, were by all objective Catholic standards, living in a state of grave, essentially permanent sin. The same would be true of any unmarried couple in similar circumstances, whether they might be gay, or straight.

The big difference of course, is that heterosexual couples living in sin don’t  tend to stand out in a crowd, while gay couples do. And there’s your public scandal!

Does the Catholic Church teach that homosexual sexual activity is seriously disordered, contrary to the natural law, and (objectively) gravely sinful? Yes.

Does the Catholic Church teach that sexual activity between ANY persons, not married to each other, is (objectively) a grave sin? Yes.

Would the regular presence, in and around a Catholic parish/school, of a heterosexual couple secretly living in sin, be a continuing source of public scandal? No.

Would the regular presence in and around a Catholic parish/school, of a gay or straight couple openly living in sin, be a continuing source of public scandal? Yes.

Would the occasion of either of those couples going up to receive holy communion at Mass, (objectively) constitute the grave sin of sacrilege against the body and blood of Jesus Christ? Yes.

Once the facts about “the Colorado lesbian couple” became public, the parish priest (and his bishop) had no real choice in the matter, since there was little doubt that what was going on constituted grave sins against both God and man: sacrilege and scandal.

What’s really strange is, many of the same people who act so outraged about the Catholic Church’s (essentially homosexual) priestly abuse scandal, seem to think it’s just fine to scandalize others, by their own seriously disordered words and other public actions.

And that’s just a shame!