Friday, November 04, 2011

On Second Thought: Devil Doesn't Make Gays Do It, Catholic Newspaper Decides

The Pilot, which is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, now says "our bad" regarding a column it published October 28th that made the devil responsible for same-sex attraction.

A low-level staffer for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops evidently authored the piece.  He says it was "not authorized for publication"--although one might wonder who authorized him to write it at all.

However, the newspaper's editors and even a spokesperson for the archdiocese have all been quick to say that the devil-theory is a theological error that is not the position of the Catholic Church.  A Jesuit priest chimed in to agree that The Pilot was right to retract the column and apologize for running it.

The following is The Huffington Post's coverage of the faux pas:

A controversial column suggesting same-sex attraction was the work of the devil has been retracted from the country's oldest Catholic newspaper.

The piece by Daniel Avila, an associate director for policy and research for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was published in The Pilot on Oct. 28 and was pulled from the publication's website Wednesday, Nov. 2 accompanied by an apology, The Associated Press reports.

The nearly 900-word column ponders the origin of homosexual attraction from a "born this way" standpoint. It stated:

Disruptive imbalances in nature that thwart encoded processes point to supernatural actors who, unlike God, do not have the good of persons at heart.

In other words, the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil...

...whenever natural causes disturb otherwise typical biological development, leading to the personally unchosen beginnings of same-sex attraction, the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God.

Avila later stated that the commentary was "not authorized for publication" and that he apologized for the "hurt and confusion" the piece caused. In an editor's note, the publication said it was sorry for "having failed to recognize the theological error in the column."

"As we absorbed what was in the paper, we said, 'Whoa, that's a problem' Terrence Donilon, a spokesperson for the archdiocese told the Boston Globe about the column. "That's not the position of the church or the archdiocese."

Avila also acknowledged that he does not support unjust treatment or violence toward anyone.

A printed apology will appear in this week's issue of the publication, the Boston Globe reports.

UPDATE:  12:42 p.m. --

Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, supports The Pilot's decision to retract the column.

"Satan doesn't create homosexuality any more than Satan creates heterosexuality," Martin told The Huffington Post in an email. "God creates gays and lesbians, loves them into being, and love them into eternity.

"Opining that their sexuality comes from satanic forces seems to be in opposition to the Catechism," he added.

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