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Cardinal Sarah: priests ‘demean’ gay people by not calling them to chastity

Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (PA)

Cardinal Robert Sarah has said that gay people are called to chastity, and that “we demean them if we think they cannot attain this virtue.”

Describing chastity as “a virtue for all disciples”, the Vatican liturgy chief argued that clergy deprive gay people of the fullness of the Gospel if they do not call them to live chastely.

In a foreword to the book Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay by Daniel Mattson, the cardinal writes: “To omit the “hard sayings” of Christ and His Church is not charity. Indeed, it is a disservice to the Lord and to those created in His image and likeness and redeemed by the Precious Blood.

“We cannot be more compassionate or merciful than Jesus, who told the woman caught in adultery two equally important messages: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again” (Jn 8:11).”

The cardinal said he was deeply moved by the testimonies of gay Catholics at a conference at the Pontifical University of St Thomas in Rome two days before the opening of the family synod.

“I came to learn how these four souls suffered, sometimes because of circumstances beyond their control, and sometimes because of their own choices.

“I sensed the loneliness, pain, and unhappiness they endured as a result of pursuing a life contrary to the true identity of God’s children,” he wrote.

“Only when they lived in keeping with Christ’s teaching were they able to find the peace and joy for which they had been searching.”

He called on bishops and priests to read Mattson’s book so they can “deepen their conviction that the wisdom of the Church in the difficult and sensitive area expresses genuine love and compassion”.

“Only the Church has the answers to man’s deepest questions and deepest needs for love and friendship,” the cardinal concludes.