Q. I have read a number of news stories lately about Catholic schools discriminating against employees who are homosexual, divorced, or cohabiting. Isn’t this wrong? Didn’t Pope Francis say that we should not judge?
A. Pope Francis has reminded Catholics that the “Church is a field hospital for sinners.” He’s right. St. Paul taught that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We’re sinners, each one of us, and only God’s grace can set us free from sin and transform our lives—make us charitable, joyful, and holy.
But the mission of the Church is to proclaim the truth. We’re called to be witnesses to the freedom of the Christian life, and to the enduring truth of the Church’s moral teachings. Anyone who represents the Church, and is appointed to share in her mission, must be a living witness of fidelity to the Gospel. When we speak, or teach, or act in the name of Jesus Christ and the Church, we cannot be public witnesses of lives that are inconsistent with the Church’s teaching. This does not mean that only saints may work for the Church. This does not mean that every priest and religious is a saint. But it does mean that we must be witnesses of integrity.
If we choose to live in a public way that is inconsistent with the Church’s teaching, we cannot expect to represent the Church faithfully. No one who chooses to be a public witness for a lifestyle inconsistent with the Church’s teaching can be effective in forming others as faithful disciples of the Gospel.
It is never just to discriminate against a person because they have same-sex attractions. Attractions are not chosen. But lifestyles, and political advocacy, and public witnesses are choices. And choices inconsistent with the Gospel are detrimental to apostolates of formation, evangelization, or catechesis.
Christ sets each one of us free, to live in accord with who we’re made to be. He sets us free to be the best possible version of ourselves. He does this through sacramental grace, and by revealing to us the moral laws at the heart of our human identity. All people are made for union with Christ, and for true Christian freedom. May each one us be a faithful, joyful, and charitable witness of freedom in the truth revealed by Jesus Christ.
Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.