Editor’s note: The following Kath.net interview with Auxiliary Bishop Marian Eleganti, O.S.B., about the revelations by Archbishop Viganò, the Pope’s silence, and the alleged homosexual network in the Catholic Church was conducted by Roland Noe and published on the Kath.net site yesterday. Bishop Eleganti is Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Chur, Switzerland.
Chur (kath.net/rn, August 30, 2018). “The attempts to rewrite the traditional doctrine that regards homosexual acts as disordered in themselves, and therefore forbids them, are conspicuous. Pope Francis is surrounded by cardinals and advisors who are headed in this direction.” So says the Auxiliary Bishop of Chur and former Jugendbischof of the (Catholic) Episcopal Conference of Switzerland [i.e. the bishop delegated to oversee programs for the pastoral care of young people] in this interview with kath.net.
Kath.net: The World Meeting of Families in Dublin was completely overshadowed by the topic of sexual abuse, and not just because of the revelations by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Nuncio in Washington, D.C. Well, the Pope himself would like to say nothing about the accusations. What do you say about this?
Bp. Eleganti: The fact that Pope Francis does not want to say a single word about them is a classic non-denial. Lying, of course, is completely out of the question.
Kath.net: In Dublin in an EWTN interview you demanded an unsparing and independent investigation [Aufklärung = in this context "reconnaissance mission”] into the causes of the sexual abuse crisis and the cover-up, also with respect to the question about a “homosexual subculture” in the Church. One Swiss diocese attacked you in an incredible way in this connection. What do you say about this?
Bp. Eleganti: Anyone familiar with the ecclesiastical structures is not surprised by it. Concerning this matter I have several posts on my FaceBook page that respond to it. James Martin, speaking at the World Meeting of Families, called for the Church to equate homosexuality with heterosexuality to the fullest extent and to admit homosexuals to all ecclesiastical ministries and offices without further ado, although Pope Francis advises against accepting candidates with homosexual inclinations into the seminaries. The scandals and their hidden difficulties show that homosexual clerics, their friends and networks exist and are represented in the structures of the Church even at the highest level, among them certainly many clerics with homosexual inclinations who are living chaste and holy lives. But we hear about the others every day through the coverage of the sexual abuse cases.
Kath.net: In another interview with kath.ch [a[an online news service affiliated with the Episcopal Conference of Switzerland]ou said that framing this issue merely as an issue of the abuse of authority or clericalism is another cover-up. Doesn’t Pope Francis, or at least one part of his entourage, advocate this view?
Bp. Eleganti: The issue is certainly complex. But one element of political correctness is what they consider the absolute dogma that sexual abuse and homosexuality must not be correlated; similarly, the possibility of changing a homosexual orientation must not even be considered or investigated. In contrast to this, paradoxically, gender theory claims that one’s sexual orientation can be chosen freely. Judith Butler, one of the most important pioneers of gender theory, is lesbian. To maintain that clericalism is the sole root of sexual abuse, and not to take into consideration sexual and emotional needs as well, and probably vices too, is from my perspective reductive reasoning and a classic case of denying reality, that is: purely ideological and interest-driven.
Pope Francis stirred up this wasp’s nest with an indiscreet but honest statement on the airplane from Dublin to Rome when he remarked that children with homosexual inclinations can be helped psychiatrically until the age of twenty. His spin doctors therefore immediately censored his statements in the written version of the interview and removed the obsolete word “psychiatry” and explained on Twitter that he was talking here about the general psychological counseling [l[literally: "accompaniment”]f those children. But obviously Francis was thinking about something else.
Kath.net: Should bishops who demonstrably have covered up cases of sexual abuse resign?
Bp. Eleganti: It is difficult to imagine that they will remain in office.
Kath.net: Is there currently a heated debate, not only in the United States, about a homosexual network in the Catholic Church? Do you consider it real, and are there indications that it is active in German-speaking countries (Switzerland, Germany, Austria)?
Bp. Eleganti: The attempts to rewrite the traditional doctrine that regards homosexual acts as disordered in themselves, and therefore forbids them, are conspicuous. Pope Francis is surrounded by cardinals and advisors who are headed in this direction and openly support James Martin, the most prominent champion for a change in the teaching to date about homosexuality. Some of them were appointed by Pope Francis himself, such as Cupich, Tobin, Farrell. The last-mentioned invited James Martin to Dublin. What happens at the head of the Church is multiplied in her body, and of course in our German-speaking countries, too. Indeed, Cardinal Marx and other German bishops have already speculated in public about blessing homosexual unions.
Kath.net: Thank you for the interview.
(Translated by Michael J. Miller.)