What follows is excerpted from Sandro Magister’s The Inconvenient Memoirs of Cardinal Biffi, which, in turn, excerpted from the recently updated version of the Cardinal’s book. If I might add a word to those of His Eminence, I will limit myself to this one: Amen.
Regarding the problem of homosexuality that is emerging today, the Christian conception tells us that one must always distinguish the respect due to persons, which involves rejecting any marginalization of them in society and politics (except for the unalterable nature of marriage and the family), from the rejection of any exalted “ideology of homosexuality,” which is obligatory.
The word of God, as we know it in a page of the letter to the Romans by the apostle Paul, offers us on the contrary a theological interpretation of the rampant cultural aberration in this matter: such an aberration – the sacred text affirms – is at the same time the proof and the result of the exclusion of God from the collective attention and from social life, and of the refusal to give him the glory that he is due (cf. Romans 1:21).
The exclusion of the Creator determines a universal derailing of reason: “They became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21-22). The result of this intellectual blindness was a fall, in both theory and practice, into the most complete dissoluteness: “Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies” (Romans 1:24).
And to prevent any misunderstanding and any accommodating interpretation, the apostle proceeds with a startling analysis, formulated in perfectly explicit terms:
“Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper” (Romans 1:26-28).
Finally, Paul takes pains to observe that the greatest abjection takes place when “the authors of these things . . . not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (cf. Romans 1:32).
It is a page of the inspired book, which no earthly authority can force us to censor. Nor are we permitted, if we want to be faithful to the word of God, the pusillanimity of passing over it in silence out of concern not to appear “politically incorrect.”
We must on the contrary point out the singular interest for our days of this teaching of Revelation: what St. Paul revealed as taking place in the Greco-Roman world is shown to correspond prophetically to what has taken place in Western culture in these last centuries. The exclusion of the Creator – to the point of proclaiming grotesquely, a few decades ago, the “death of God” – has had the result (almost like an intrinsic punishment) of the spread of an aberrant view of sexuality, unknown (in its arrogance) to previous eras.
The ideology of homosexuality – as often happens to ideologies when they become aggressive and end up being politically triumphant – becomes a threat to our legitimate autonomy of thought: those who do not share it risk condemnation to a kind of cultural and social marginalization.
The attacks on freedom of thought start with language. Those who do not resign themselves to accept “homophilia” (the theoretical appreciation of homosexual relations) are charged with “homophobia” (etymologically, the “fear of homosexuality”). This must be very clear: those who are made strong by the inspired word and live in the “fear of God” are not afraid of anything, except perhaps the stupidity toward which, Bonhoeffer said, we are defenseless. We are now even charged sometimes with the incredibly arbitrary accusation of “racism”: a word that, among other things, has nothing to do with this issue, and in any case is completely extraneous to our doctrine and our history.
The essential problem that presents itself is this: is it still permitted in our days to be faithful and consistent disciples of the teaching of Christ (which for millennia has inspired and enriched the whole of Western civilization), or must we prepare ourselves for a new form of persecution, promoted by homosexual activists, by their ideological accomplices, and even by those whose task it should be to defend the intellectual freedom of all, including Christians?
There is one question that we ask in particular of the theologians, biblicists, and pastoralists. Why on earth, in this climate of almost obsessive exaltation of Sacred Scripture, is the Pauline passage of Romans 1:21-32 never cited by anyone? Why on earth is there not a little more concern to make it known to believers and nonbelievers, in spite of its evident timeliness?