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Seattle Catholic
A Journal of Catholic News and Views
31 Aug 2001
The Wisdom of Bishop Cawcutt

Dissident and homosexual activist continues unpunished

Bishop Reginald Cawcutt of South Africa made statements directly opposed to the Church's teaching on contraception, fornication and homosexuality when he gave his recommendations to the people of Africa:

"Ideally the only way of stopping Aids is through stopping sex. There is, however, a big difference between the ideal and the reality. ... Abstain until you're in a stable relationship, preferably marriage, whether it be gay or straight, or whatever. And then be faithful to your partner. ... If you are promiscuous you could get Aids, so you should learn to use condoms correctly." 1 (emphasis mine here and throughout)

The bishop also voiced support for condoms and remarked that the Catholic Church's opposition to the use of contraception was "based on theological, rather than Biblical reasoning." 2

So according to this esteemed Catholic leader, the unchanging Truth of the Catholic Faith is neither realistic nor biblical. In abandoning such "ideals" as abstinence and heterosexuality, Cawcutt has no problem promoting mortal sin. In an attempt to take a more "realistic" approach, Bishop Cawcutt gave his explicit approval of the root cause of Africa's STD problem — a pagan view of sexuality in which sexual acts are merely a means of sensual pleasure, with the possible consequences of disease and children. In his advocacy of contraception and reserving sexual acts for "stable relationships ... gay or straight, or whatever" (I don't even want to know what the "whatever" is), he is supporting efforts which are inherently doomed to failure. It is a futile and misguided attempt to exchange the souls of his countrymen for their health.

Aside from being morally bankrupt, his advice also suffers from the practical problem that the effectiveness of condoms in preventing STDs is, at best, questionable. In a recently released statement, several groups representing over 10,000 doctors have accused the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) of covering up their own government's research that shows condoms do not protect individuals from most sexually transmitted diseases.

"The charges stem from the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) release of the 'Workshop Summary' on condom effectiveness, a paper written in June 2000 by HHS, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to the physicians groups, this government research found no clinical proof that condoms offer protection from most STDs..." 3

Human sexuality and God's plan

One would think a Catholic bishop would have at least a basic understanding of human sexuality and its purpose. The Church maintains, quite unambiguously, that:

"Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes" 4

Contraception and homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered because they are fundamentally opposed to new life. Human facilities designed for acts of love are utilized for acts of lust and self-gratification. This is not just a recommendation for "ideal" times, and no exceptions can be made due to the current state of society (Cawcutt's "reality"). The fact that such disordered actions are being allowed and even supported by a bishop weakens the Church and therefore, all of mankind.

St. Sebastian's Angels

And yes, this is the same Bishop Reginald Cawcutt who was exposed for his involvement in a Web site for gay priests. The Web site, bearing the name "St. Sebastian's Angels", was utilized by clergy all over the English-speaking world wishing to share their homosexual feelings, pedophile fantasies and gay pornography. While some priests shamefully denied their involvement, Bishop Cawcutt was unapologetic and defended his actions as part of his AIDS ministry.

"Naturally enough this got me involved with ministry also to gay people. Both of these ministries are totally known and quite public—to my fellow bishops as well as to the general public. Somehow the group of gay priests heard about me and invited me to discuss gay related matters with them—hence I joined the 'newsgroup'—quite openly letting the members know I was a bishop. I did not try to hide anything. ... I have consistently promoted celibacy in the group" 5

That's doubtful, considering the content of the messages he posted on the site:

"I suppose the issue really is celibacy and not gay sex. I am of the belief that we have all been screwed up by holy mother church (sic). I do not think that sex is the ultimate in sin anyhow—and not always a matter for confession either—even for celibates—come on—the good old book also says dirty thoughts are grievous stuff and always matter for confession—come come now!!! ... As someone said, confession is meant to be a help for growth in holiness—if celibacy is your thing—then I am sure breaking it is matter for cfn [confession]—if not—well hey guys remember what Vat II said about personal conscience being the prime guide. ... we really do need to keep pushing that all gay priests can be able to celebrate our sexuality—we just have to be able to rejoice and thank God for making us gay—just like we encourage others to have a pride in themselves for being white or black or Americans or Chinese or tall or blonde etc. We are gonna win, guys! I truly believe that." 6

In better days, this bishop's scandal and the lack of punishment from his superiors would be more surprising...
To date, none of the priests involved (including Bishop Cawcutt) have been seriously punished for their participation on the site. In fact, the only official outrage to result from this shameful incident was directed toward Roman Catholic Faithful, the group that discovered the site. They were accused of "illegal, unchristian, irresponsible, and immoral scandal-mongering" and that "hacking into a private newsgroup violated the law and rights of its members to confidentiality." 7

This lack of appropriate action has seemingly convinced Cawcutt that nothing he can do or say could warrant any punishment (except, of course, exposing future scandals or daring to celebrate the Tridentine Mass). In better days, this bishop's scandal and the lack of punishment from his superiors would be more surprising; days when one could depend on the leaders of the Church to always protect the Deposit of Faith regardless of political and ecumenical consequences. Those are the days longed for by faithful Catholics who have grown tired of hearing about the present "springtime of Vatican II" as they stand amidst a blizzard.

Peter Miller
Seattle, WA

1 AllAfrica Global Media — 7/30/01
2 Ibid
3 C-FAM — 8/17/01
4 Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2351
5 Catholic World Report — June 2001
6 Ibid
7 Ibid
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