Recently, Archbishop Blase Cupich used the term “internal forum” to describe a possible scenario by which divorced Catholics who have remarried could return to the Sacraments: “We expressed an aspiration that people who are stuck in a system who need to be reconciled to the Church…might have another opportunity to have their case considered through what we would call an internal forum rather than the external forum of the annulment process.” When asked if the same “internal forum” could be used to secure Communion for sexually active homosexuals, he said that it could. “When people who are in good conscience working with a spiritual director come to a decision, then they need to follow that conscience. That’s the teaching of the Church. So in the case of people receiving Communion in situations that are irregular that also applies. The question then was: Does that apply to gay people? My answer was: they’re human beings too. They have a conscience. Thy have to follow their conscience.” He continued: “They have to be able to have a formed conscience, understand the teaching of the Church, and work with a spiritual director and come to those decisions. And we have to respect that.”
Back in the early 1990s, at the semi-urging of my parents, I spoke with a good friend of theirs – a Catholic priest; I knew him tolerably well, but I hadn’t seen him in a few years; while my parents had no idea what I had been up to, they were still rightly concerned about the direction my life was taking. I met with the priest – told him that I was “gay” and gave him a brief and rough sketch of my life so far; he was unphased, he suggested that I should try to curtail things a little. We talked a few more times, his major bit of spiritual advice: “…try to settle down with one guy.” We parted company and I didn’t see him until 1999; then, I was a near casualty of “gay” excess and AIDS. At the time, I looked like a monster and I was wearing an adult diaper because my anus has prolapsed. The good Father saw me at Mass; his advice hadn’t changed: “…you really need to meet the right man?”
I was ignorant, but I knew that I needed to get away from this man and his infinitely insane advice. I remembered a priest who had been at this same parish at the beginning of the decade; back then, no one liked him: he was too conservative. In the intervening years, he had been transferred to another town and another parish. I tracked him down and made an appointment to see him; he remembered me and treated me liked a bloodied and wounded war-victim. Over the next few months, we met on a weekly basis: he heard my Confession, I attended Mass, and, afterwards, we talked. Everything he said was memorable, but one of the most incredible things that he spoke about was this: that no one separated me from God, and no one had that power to do so – except me; when I chose to be “gay,” when I chose to life that life; when I chose to leave Christ – I did all of that on my own; and, consequently, I had made the decision to come back. Now, it was my job to stay as close to the Lord as possible. In order to do this, I had to receive the Sacraments – which of course necessitated that I remain in the state of Grace – I knew exactly what that meant.
Archbishop’s Cupich’s theory of “gay” Communion is contingent upon the constant availability of properly formed and informed priests who are in complete agreement with the Church’s stance on homosexuality; as my own recollections show, this is not the reality. Even the highest-ranking prelates of the Church exhibit oftentimes widely divergent opinions on this subject; (see: https://josephsciambra.com/2015/05/in-out-of-church-from-ex-gay.html) Another point of anecdotal evidence: during my numerous outreach ventures into the “gay” community of San Francisco, I have spoken with literally hundreds of men – those that are still clinging to their Catholicism while still holding onto “gay,” know each and every “gay” affirming Catholic priest in the City; therefore, when I suggest another path, one that emphasizes a cessation of all sexual activity, they retort with – “…that is not what Father said.” Therefore, once you hand over the power to determine the worthiness of active homosexuals to return to the Sacraments – you immediately create a balkanization of the Church on a very local level; where in San Francisco, for example, you can talk to one priest at a parish who will remain completely faithful to the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, and, then, walk over the hill to a neighboring parish and find another priest who will “bless” your homosexual union. This is not “…one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”