Sunday, February 17, 2013 by Ariadne Massa
Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli
The Auxiliary Bishop has stepped in to censure an incendiary letter – that stated there could only be lust, not love between homosexuals – and make the Church’s teachings clear.
“Joe Zammit has managed to do a great disservice to the Catholic ethos by presenting a caricature of the Church’s teaching on gay relationships,” Mgr Charles Scicluna told The Sunday Times.
He felt he had to step in and reply to the letters Mr Zammit, an ardent churchgoer from Paola, wrote in The Times sparking a furore with their provocative statements distinguishing between love and lust in gay relationships.
Mr Zammit wrote: “Love comes from God, unites the couple and draws them to him; lust comes from the devil, separates the couple from God and draws them to hell.”
In his latest letter, published on Valentine’s Day, Mr Zammit continued to stoke the fire when he said: “On the spiritual level, homosexual acts are against God’s loving law for us. On the natural level, they go against nature’s intrinsic purpose of all its sexual organs.”
To quell the debate, championed by a person who armed himself by quoting the commandments, Mgr Scicluna insisted Mr Zammit’s opinion “does not represent the teachings of the Church”.
“The fact is that gay people are called to chaste love as any other person, whether married or single,” he said.
“Gay people are not called to marriage which is the permanent union between one man and one woman open to the gift of parenthood. But they are indeed called to chaste friendship and chaste friendship is chaste love.”
Placing emphasis on the word “chaste”, Mgr Scicluna said there could be chaste love between gay people.
“To say ‘there can never be love but only lust between homosexuals’ is to sin against the virtue of hope which teaches us to rely solely on the Lord’s mercy rather than on our own misguided self-righteousness.
“To say, as Mr Zammit keeps harping, that ‘there can never be love but only lust between homosexuals’ is to deny the truth of what the Church teaches,” he added.
Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2359), Mgr Scicluna said: “Homosexuals are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”