The goal of education: Catholic teaching on homosexual acts
By John Smeaton | 8 February 2023
This is the fourth in a series of articles, rooted in the teaching of Divini Illius Magistri, which seeks to assist parents in preparing their children to live as mature Christians in dangerous times. This series began on 18 January 2023 with The goal of education: A timeless message for parents from the Lion of Münster.
In a sermon at Münster Cathedral on 31 October 1937, Archbishop von Galen informed the congregation that an education official from Berlin had recently given a talk to teachers in Münster in which he poked fun at the Christian faith and declared that heaven and hell were “fairy tales”. Some of the teachers present applauded this.
Fr Daniel Utrecht, in his biography of Archbishop von Galen, records what the archbishop said next:
“God protect your children from such teachers! And if teachers who have lost the faith dare nevertheless to teach so-called Catholic religion classes, woe to the poor children who fall into the hands of such traitors. Better no religion classes in the schools than religion classes that destroy rather than build up, that poison rather than heal! Keep watch, Christian parents, and observe carefully whether your children are learning the true faith in the school and are being directed in the truly Christian way of life!”1
In the matter of education, Archbishop von Galen’s top priority was the faith and eternal salvation of the young people in his diocese. His position was rooted in authentic Catholic teaching, as set out a decade earlier by Pope Pius XI in his great encyclical on Christian education Divini Illius Magistri, in which the holy pontiff, in his turn, cited his predecessor, St Pius X:
“Whatever a Christian does, even in the order of things of earth, he may not overlook the supernatural; indeed he must, according to the teaching of Christian wisdom, direct all things towards the supreme good as to his last end…”2
By way of shocking contrast, one of the books apparently deemed suitable for little children at St Peter’s Primary School in Warrington (also found on the Archdiocese of Liverpool education department website, under the “equality and diversity” section of “helpful resources”), is King and King. The British Library describes the book as follows:
“The Queen is desperate for her son Prince Bertie to marry so she can stop ruling the country and have some time off. She invites all the princesses from far and wide to the palace to meet him but Prince Bertie declares, ‘I’ve never cared much for princesses.’
“Finally Princess Madeleine arrives with her brother Prince Lee. ‘What a wonderful prince!’ both princes declare and they immediately fall in love. A wedding is quickly arranged and the two princes are crowned King and King. The Queen can finally put her feet up and relax by the pool, and everyone lives happily ever after!”
“Same-sex couples do not appear in many traditional fairy tales. This story was written so that all children would understand that same-sex relationships are allowed and valued in our society today. It is particularly important for children with same-sex parents, or who are LGBTQ, to grow up with stories that reflect their own lives.”
LGBTQ propaganda seems almost to be in the very air we breathe in today’s world, including within Catholic institutions. In order for “thousands” to “leap into the breach”, as Archbishop von Galen urged in another context, those responsible for education, in particular parents, must first of all study Catholic doctrine on marriage and God’s purpose for human sexuality.
In 2003, a comprehensive statement explaining Catholic teaching on marriage in the context of the “troubling moral and social phenomenon of homosexuality” was published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the Prefecture of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI:
“The natural truth about marriage was confirmed by the Revelation contained in the biblical accounts of creation, an expression also of the original human wisdom, in which the voice of nature itself is heard. There are three fundamental elements of the Creator’s plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.
“In the first place, man, the image of God, was created ‘male and female’ (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level — the personal level — where nature and spirit are united … God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in his work of creation. Thus, he blessed the man and the woman with the words ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ (Gen 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator’s plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage.”
“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts ‘close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved’.
“Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts ‘as a serious depravity… (cf.Rom 1:24–27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’. This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.
“Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided’. They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however ‘objectively disordered’ and homosexual practices are ‘sins gravely contrary to chastity’.3
It is not easy to give witness to these truths in today’s world, not least because — as Fr Gerald Murray said recently on EWTN — the pope himself:
“ … unfortunately is becoming an advocate of decriminalisation of anti-sodomy laws and it’s hard to believe that he would say that. In the same interview he says he knows African bishops are against changing those laws. He said, ‘they have to undergo a process of conversion,’ and I’m shaking my head. The people who have to undergo conversion are those who commit sodomy, not those who are telling them that this is a sin, that it’s wrong and the State should not decriminalise it …”
Crucially, the Catholic Church teaches:
“… In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognised or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”4
Archbishop von Galen shows faithful Catholics the way forward at this difficult time. In his historic sermon, “We are the anvil, not the hammer”, addressed to parents, amongst others, on 20 July 1941, he urged his congregation to be courageous:
“Take as your example and model that Prussian Justice Minister of old times … of whom King Frederick the Great demanded that he should overturn and annul a lawful judgment in order to satisfy the wishes of the monarch. This genuine nobleman, a Herr von Munchhausen, gave this splendid answer to his king: ‘My head is at your Majesty’s disposal, but not my conscience!’”5
The next part of this series will explore the falsehood of trans ideology currently saturating both the secular world and Catholic educational institutions.
1. Daniel Utrecht, The Lion of Munster: The Bishop Who Roared Against the Nazis (TAN, 2016), page 157.
2. St Pius X, Singulari Quadam (1912). Cited by Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri, 19.
4. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons (2003), 3&4.
5. Ibid., 5.
6. Daniel Utrecht, page 224.