Pope, Bishop Silva At Odds On Gays

I’ll be very curious to see how the latest pronouncements on abortion, contraceptives and gay people by Pope Francis play out with Hawaii’s very conservative Catholic bishop Larry Silva and Hawaii’s conservative Catholic Church membership.

Remember 1962 when everyone got flustered when Pope John XXIII deleted the word perfidis (Latin for “faithless”) from the Good Friday prayer for the Jews, and added the name of St. Joseph to the Canon of the Mass that Catholics considered to be unchangeable?


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Pope Francis | AP photo

And when the second Vatican Council allowed Mass in English? We had not exactly a wholesale defection from local Catholic churches, but such a commotion hasn’t ever been witnessed by our churches’ very compliant Catholics.

Now Pope Francis seems to be telling Hawaii’s bishop to tone down the anti-abortion rhetoric and dissing Silva’s recent bombshell statement that homosexuality is the cause of some teen suicides, and that “to discriminate between heterosexual and same-sex couples regarding marriage is not, despite the hype on the streets, unjust discrimination.”

Here’s what Pope Francis says:

“We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

I’ve long sensed in this liberal state that younger Catholics are dismayed that their church is so heavy-handed about gays, abortion and contraception. I’ve had friends leave Star Of The Sea for more open congregations not focused on homosexuality in general and same-gender marriage in particular.

I know others, however, who say, “We’re the Catholic Church. It’s like a club. If you don’t like our rules, find another club.”

That’s worked OK in South America, but hasn’t been working so well here. That Silva letter to Urgent: All Catholics In The State of Hawaii has drawn an unusual amount of public backlash.

Now, as an obedient Catholic, Silva must absorb this most unusual statement from his leader:

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

It was the dumbest move of Mike McCartney’s long career as a lawmaker and government employee – currently as executive director of Hawaii Tourism Authority.

I’m talking about the on-his-own decision to cover up a Convention Center artwork OK’d by a local art committee and blessed by a Hawaiian minister but objected to by Hawaiian activist Paulette Kaleikini.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie should have demanded McCartney’s resignation, but instead just worked to restore the artwork to public view.