daily biblical sermons

The world is not to be deceived by Pope Francis' erroneous acceptance of same-sex civil unions
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Monday, 30th Week of the Year, October 26, 2020
Ephesians 4:32-5:8, Psalm 1, Luke 13:10-17


Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted




“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among the saints. Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them, for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:1-11).



Today’s reading can be summarized in a few words, namely that we for whom Jesus Christ offered himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God to redeem us from our sins should now live in a completely new way as imitators of God, avoiding all immorality and impurity. Yet there is much empty talk that tries to seduce us into doing evil and impure things by telling us that they are normal, healthy, and good. Do not be deceived by such talk, for you are now children of light, and instead of taking part in these evil acts, you should rather expose and condemn them for what they really are.



The problem today is that there are people that are deceiving us with their empty and false words, trying to seduce us into accepting evil and impure actions as good and healthy, and are even saying that these actions should be protected by civil laws. So “let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).



“Surprisingly enough, some of the leading spokesman in favor of making sexual sins acceptable are men who hold high positions in the professing church. Thus, the laymen who always thought immorality was immoral are now being assured by prominent clergymen that such an attitude is passé. Christians should not be hoodwinked by such doubletalk” (William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 1989), page 1942).



St. Paul says today, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). “Believers should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, either by participation or by any attitude that might indicate tolerance or leniency … The believer is called not only to abstain from the unfruitful works of darkness, but positively he is called to expose them. He does this in two ways: first, by a life of holiness, and second, by words of correction spoken under the direction of the Holy Spirit” (MacDonald, Commentary page 1943, emphasis added).



Deceitful people will try to mislead us by telling us that things that Scripture tells us are grave sins are really only minor faults. They will say something like this, “‘This is a trivial fault. Fornication is viewed by God as a light matter. Under the law of grace God is not so cruel. He has not formed us so as to be our own executioners. The frailty of nature excuses us.’ These and similar expressions are often used by the scoffers. Paul, on the contrary, claims that we must guard against that sophistry by which consciences are ensnared to their ruin” (John Calvin, 1509-1564).



So not only must we avoid gross sins like fornication, adultery, and homosexual acts, but even with our words we must not in any way try to give the impression that these serious sexual sins are not seriously wrong, and, in fact, may even be good. “It is not enough that we do not, of our own accord, undertake anything wicked. We must beware of joining or assisting those who do wrong. In short, we must abstain from giving any consent, or advice, or approbation, or assistance” (John Calvin, emphasis added).



So “certainly it is reasonable and proper that they [Christians] who are separated from the world, and dedicated to God, should shun all such mention of these things [sexual sins], as may [in] any way encourage and countenance the practice of them” (Joseph Benson, 1749-1821, emphasis added).



What better contemporary example of speaking about sexual sins in a way that seems to approve of and even encourage and help people to commit them than what Pope Francis said in a documentary film on his life directed by Evgeny Afineevsky, which premiered last week (October 21, 2020) in Rome and which premiered yesterday (October 25, 2020) in the United States? In his film Pope Francis says, “What we have to create is a civil union. In this way they [homosexuals] will be legally covered. I have defended this” (see here).



That homosexual acts are gravely sinful is clearly revealed in Scripture, where St. Paul tells us that homosexual relationships and acts are a punishment that God gave the pagan Greeks and Romans for their practice of idolatry, “For this reason [because they were idolaters] God gave them [the pagans] up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:26-27).



It has been the constant teaching of the Church throughout her history that homosexual acts are gravely sinful and offensive to God, for they are condemned by divine revelation in Scripture and are against nature. So, on what authority does Pope Francis now declare that there should be legal recognition and legal status for homosexual couples?



Do we have legal recognition for murderers, people who were “born that way,” people whom “God made that way”? So, if they are registered as murderers and have a license to kill, because that’s their nature, the way “God made them,” do they then get a free pass to kill so that if they are arrested in a murder case, the police will ask to see their license to kill, and when they see it, they will let them go?



This is what we are doing with homosexual acts. We are saying that if these people go to the proper government authorities and register as homosexuals living together to perform perverted homosexual acts, the law will protect them and give them a respected status for their objectively sinful life.



First of all, they do not need this protection, because nowadays no one is going to knock on their door and arrest them for committing perverted homosexual acts. And if they want to give their inheritance to their partner, all they have to do is make out a will saying that their partner is to receive their inheritance at their death.



No Christian can approve of these actions or encourage others to commit them by saying that they are basically good acts, since “God made them that way”; so, it is not a sin for them, and they should be publicly recognized and respected for their sinful union. A same-sex civil union would then be publicly celebrated, somewhat similar to a marriage. But since when do we celebrate sin? Sin is never to be celebrated! We should be merciful to such people that are afflicted with this disorder and try to help them, especially by pointing out to them that this is a sinful and harmful union that jeopardizes their eternal salvation.



But if a priest or bishop or worst of all the Pope himself says that he basically approves of relationships that are entered into for the purpose of performing perverted homosexual acts, great damage is done, not only to the homosexual couple themselves, but to society in general, which now gets the message that the leader of the Catholic Church approves of homosexual acts and thinks that they are good and that the law should give these people a protected and respected status. The whole society is greatly harmed by this.



In making this statement, “Pope Francis has overstepped the limits of his office. The Pope is a witness to the Faith, not an all-powerful authority who can change Catholic doctrine according to his own mistaken way of thinking. Catholic doctrine teaches that homosexual persons should refrain from same-sex activity and not enter into sinful relationships that lead to mortal sin” (Fr. Gerald Murray, part of the “papal posse” of Raymond Arroyo and Dr. Robert Royal on the EWTN program, The World Over).



“No ‘bridge-building’ will result from this latest misstep. Those who accept the Church’s perennial teaching on homosexuality will be accused of being anti-Catholic enemies of the Pope …  Encouraging governments to legally formalize unnatural, sinful relationships in which people engage in sodomy is a shameful thing for any Christian to do, but most especially so for the Pope. Pope Francis’ comments are a flagrant betrayal of the mission of the successor of St. Peter ‘to confirm the brethren’ in sound doctrine.



“Pope Francis has used the power and influence of his sacred office to promote something that is sinful … We must pray that he [Pope Francis] comes to realize the grave offense he has given to God by this wrongful endorsement of homosexual pseudo-marriage. He is encouraging what he is bound by his office to condemn … He has no right to promote the erroneous teaching that homosexual people have a right to live together in sin or have a just claim upon civil society, acting through its governments, to publicly recognize such unions as legal institutions that are equivalent in some way to sacramental marriage. The faithful must call upon Pope Francis to repent of this disastrous declaration, which inflicts grave harm upon the Church” (Fr. Gerald Murray).



The task of the Church is to proclaim the gospel and Christian moral values as revealed in the Scriptures and as perennially taught in the Tradition of the Catholic Church in order to influence and convert the modern world from its mistaken ways. The task of the Church is not to join, confirm, and strengthen the world in its misguided and evil ways.


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