A Tale of 2 Brazilian Bishops
PARAIBA, BRAZIL, February 27, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic Archbishop of Paraiba, Brazil, has suspended a priest for comments endorsing contraceptive use and condemning "discrimination" against homosexuals, as well as the Catholic Church's requirement of celibacy for priests. An Archbishop standing up for what the Church actually teaches.
Father Luiz Couto, who occupies a seat in the Brazilian National Congress in violation of Church law, told the news website Congress in Focus that the Vatican's condemnation of contraceptive use is "a sign of retreat," in the words of the publication. This does raise a question, why did the Archbishop let him even run for office.
"I defend the use of the condom as a matter of public health," Couto told the newspaper, and also stated his support for a proposed "homophobia" law that would prohibit criticism of homosexual behavior and require that all organizations open to the public accept homosexuals as members. "We must struggle day by day against prejudice and intolerance," said Couto.
Archbishop Aldo Pagotto, leader of the diocese to which Couto is attached as a priest, denounced the statements as "intolerable."
"As the head of the Archdiocese of Paraiba, I have the grave obligation of suspending [Couto] from the use his orders in our ecclesiastical jurisdiction, because of his summary statements, which provoke confusion among the Christian faithful as long as they are not retracted explicitly, and are contrary ... to the doctrinal, ethical, and moral orientations held by the Catholic Church," wrote the Archbishop in a formal announcement of the suspension. This should have been done when he ran for office, but better late than never.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual desires are intrinsically disordered and that homosexual sexual acts are serious sins. It also teaches that the use of artificial contraception is unnatural and intrinsically evil.
However, despite their basis in Church teaching, liberal Bishop Emeritus of Goias, Tomas Balduino, publicly condemned Archbishop Pagotto's actions and expressed support for Fr. Couto. Meanwhile, we meet a Bishop who undermines the Church's teachings.
"He [Fr. Couto] is not an isolated voice and has the sincerity to say what he thinks," Balduino told Congress in Focus. The publication claimed that the "positions defended by Luiz Cuoto have been debated in the Church for a long time." (Remind you of any American Catholic in Name Only politicians?) The bishop was also quoted as saying the priest is "a man of merit, respected, taken very seriously." Bishop, this sounds like a description used for many a Mafioso. (I am willing to bet that Bishop Balduino is also a big supporter of Marxism & Liberation Theology.)
The president of Brazil's Labor Party, of which Couto is a member, also issued a statement of "complete support" for Couto, and calling him a "tireless defender of the rights of humanity, of citizenship, and of social justice."
Following the suspension, Fr. Couto issued a statement further detailing his opposition to all "discrimination" against homosexuals, If by discrimination you mean not treating every human being with the dignity he or she deserves, fine. But I suspect your definition is totally different. Allowing what God has called sin is NOT discrimination. Would you call a law against murder discrimination against those who want to murder, or a law against rape discrimination against those who think they can rape anyone they want? and claiming that the Church's teaching on birth control is a "moral ideal" that contrasts with "reality." The Archdiocese of Paraiba has not yet given a response. Fr. Couto, do you remember what God said: "My ways are not your ways!"? Of course it will contrast with what the "world" defines as "reality". In fact, what you call a "moral ideal" is the true reality, not what you are promoting.