Mr. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Inc., announced recently that his homosexuality was one of his greatest gifts from God. In my previous post I commented about how Mr. Cook’s assertion did not seem to reconcile or comport with what the God of the Bible, the same God of Mr. Cook, has revealed to us. This is simply an observation, not my opinion, that there seems to be a disconnect, at least in the mind of a believer, between what Mr. Cook claims to be his treasured gift, and what God, through Divine Revelation, has said about, and acted upon, Mr. Cook’s claimed gift.
The second thing that struck me, as I’m sure it must have struck others, as odd and strange is that this is the first time we’ve heard in a public “outing” of a gay male, that what foremost validates their gayness, their homosexuality, is the claim that it is a “gift from God.” Some might even consider this profane.
To me, upon reading Mr. Cook’s claim, this jumped out as being very conveniently juxtaposed to the recent global media attention surrounding an interim report or summary presented at the end of the first week of the recent Synod on the Family held this month (Oct.) in Rome. The Synod was a convened meeting of Catholic bishops from around the world to ferret out, clarify, and expound on the Catholic Church’s teachings on the challenges being faced in modern times by the family, specifically with a view towards the pastoral approach to whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion, along with the exploring the pastoral approach to homosexuals and homosexuality.
The American and global media of course has focused on the homosexuality, with homosexual activists being interested in some kind of acknowledgement from the Church of acceptance of their homosexuality and homosexual acts. The paragraph and sentences in the draft document, called the relatio, that caused such an upheaval, mystery, confusion, and uproar, in and outside of the Vatican and amongst observers, were three of 67 paragraphs, the first sentence of paragraph 50 reading, Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are our communities capable of … accepting and valuing their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
This draft was basically, in print, a ‘thinking out loud’ document, an attempt to get thoughts out on the table for discussion and preparation for a final document that will serve as particular discussion points for the General Synod next year that in turn will result in an Apostolic Exhortation (papal teaching) from Pope Francis.
The global media, especially here in America, focused laser-like on the homosexual issue and pointed out the not-so-happy conservative and traditionalist Cardinals and others opposing the carte blanche acceptance of homosexual acts as righteous and somehow religious.
But no one knows, to this day, how these controversial paragraphs (50-52) got into the relatio, or who put them there. Insiders have claimed two unnamed Cardinals, allegedly close to the pope, were responsible. There was a sharp and firm backlash by many Cardinals. Nevertheless, at the press conference panel consisting of four Cardinals, carefully worded questions for clarification regarding these statements were asked by journalists of the Cardinals, the gist of which was “What about homosexuality especially equips a homosexual to have gifts to offer to the Church?” to which none of the Cardinals including, with all due respect, one who has progressive leanings, could give an answer, any answer. To this day this question has not been answered by those inside the Church who favor a “change” or those seeking and pondering what this strange formula means, including any pundits, as far as I’m aware.
Following on the heels of this “gift” controversy and the consternation it created among Catholic observers, global media, and homosexual activists/proponents, now comes Mr. Tim Cook, only ten days hence, expressive in word, announcing his homosexuality as a “gift from God.” Some may say this is coincidental. But what gay celebrity or homosexual in a public outing has ever claimed such a thing? This is a first.
The subtle attempt by Mr. Cook to lure the unsuspecting reader of his “outing” essay into accepting his assertion without another thought is clever indeed. I mean, who would argue with or doubt anyone believing anything about themselves is a “gift from God”? If they believe it, it must be so. But a closer examination of what the Synod draft connotes, referencing “gifts” with respect to homosexuals, is a far cry different from what Mr. Cook is co-opting. The Synod document stated that homosexuals have, not their sexuality, but gifts to offer that are external and apart from their sexuality. It does not claim that the condition of homosexuality is in itself a gift. And the Church, nor Sacred Scripture, has ever taught this.
Everyone is capable of bringing gifts, their skill set, their talents, their abilities, to share with others and the community at large, including those whose sexual orientation might be different than Mr. Cook’s. Like for example, pedophiles, pederasts, polygamists, or pornographers. Or for that matter, in the words of St. Paul, “fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, robbers, kidnappers, and murderers.” Everyone, regardless of station, class, or demographic have gifts to offer the community at large. For what makes homosexuality, with respect to gift-sharing, exclusive among those who express their sexuality in various ways? With all due respect I must remember to ask my Church this question.
Mr. Cook says he wants to “pave the sunlit path toward justice…brick by brick.” And that “this is my brick.” Is this the same brick path toward justice he hopes to pave on behalf of the various sexually oriented minorities? Or will other high-profile polygamist, bisexual, and pedophile CEOs of large corporations have to pave their own way?
The project in which the Church is singling out homosexuals and homosexual acts for special attention or treatment is going to be, it seems, a very tricky thing. However, the pope has assured the congregation, in surprisingly only a few words, that Catholic doctrine will be adhered to. But he added, and said to those who wish to follow the letter of the law, that we should allow ourselves to be “surprised by God.” In all of this, the proceedings of the higher churchmen, we believe, as Catholics, is and will be led by the Holy Spirit and will trust that whatever proclamations come forth from the General Synod next year will be in the interest of furthering and clarifying God’s revelation to man, modern man at that.
With respect to the controversial statement above the final document read: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Nevertheless, men and women with a homosexual tendency ought to be received with respect and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”
With respect to Mr. Cook’s attempt to co-opt the Synod’s “gift” statement, the Church has never held, believed, nor ever taught this. And if 2000 years of the handing on of the faith mean anything, along with Sacred Scripture, I doubt it ever will. But then again, I’ve been wrong before. For as one Cardinal pointed out “We are part of a church that binds and loosens, not solely binds.”
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