An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
In Maryland (a state, once a colony named after someone we all know), a Roman Catholic public employee made a huge mistake: he publically stated his (and in essence, his Church's official) opinion on the issue of homosexuality. He has since lost his job.
I don't know if the BBC misquoted him but if he said "Homosexuality is a sin" he didn't quote his Church's teaching.
Homosexual ACTS are sins. Homosexuality is a condition that people have and have to live with. It is not a sin.
There is a huge and crucial difference - and, in a world where individual persons are (rightly or wrongly) often held liable for simply being perceived as of a class, labelling membership in a class as "sin" is wrong and could easily branch into hate.
Especially since the RCC has drawn very clear lines indicating a near ontological class of persons called "homosexuals" - but still welcomes them in chastity - one is not simply stating the Church's teaching to call that class "a sin".
Now, is that a reason to make him withdraw his candidacy from the EU? Don't know. But, again, assuming he has been correctly quoted, he's no martyr for any Christian teaching.
Well you can read and see exactly what the Maryland gentlemen said. Homosexual behavior, in my view, is deviant.
Speaking for myself, I know well the difference you note.
However, the issue isn't really about whether either men are martyrs. Because, I suspect that even if he had said very specifically that being a homosexual is fine, but that they ought to be celibate, that he would have still lost his job.
As this article notes: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=Zjg1NDZmY2NkYmVjOWNlMzhhZGU3OTIwNzYzN2NjYzk=
The RCC catechism calls homosexual behavior "intrinsically disordered"...I'm not sure that Maryland could have suffered Smith quoting it word for word.
Interesting twist to our discussion - the article talked about Rocco Buttiglione and that's as far as I went: he was the guy who said "Homosexuality is a sin". My apologies for reacting to the wrong part of the story.
The linking of the two stories does show that culturally (on nearly all sides of the issue) there is no perceived difference between "Homosexuality is a sin" and "Homosexual acts are disordered".
I think the associated issue, perhaps the most important one is trying to get that message to the secular world: that there is a difference between "Homosexuality is a sin" and "Homosexual acts are disordered".
Given our vastly different worldviews, I'm not sure its possible.
I think there is wisdom in the Orthodox understanding of human nature to expound upon this a bit more.
Namely, we are all sinners. Sin is a "disordered" condition that we are all highly succeptable to - in fact, emersed in.
There is an important distinction between: a) recognizing that one is a sinner (and one may be a sinner of a particular inclination - for example homosexuality) and that one is a sinner, not by choice, but by birth.
And, b) recognizing that it is still wrong for us to make choices that go against the Divine Nature which is so dissasterously subdued in our humanity because of the fall.
We are challenged by the Holy Apostle John: to call ourselves sinners (he who says he isn't is a liar) - and yet at the same time, challenged by the same Holy Apostle not to sin.
So, it is not a sin to be a homosexual - but it is part of the evidence of sin in human nature after the fall. But it is a sin to commit acts of homosexuality.
You can say that about any propensity a person has. We tend to get too specific about homosexuality.
It is not a sin to be a mean person - perhaps you find yourself naturally inclined toward that sort of behavior. (We all find ourselves naturally inclined toward some sort of un-natural behavior because of the fall.) But each act of meanness is a sin.