The Archbishop for the Military Services of the U.S. issued a statement on June 1st where he opposed allowing open homosexuals in the military, indicating such a move would promote immorality in addition to jeopardizing unit morale and cohesion.
“The effect of a repeal of the current legislation has the potential of being enormous and overwhelming,” states Archbishop Timothy Broglio. “Sacrificing the moral beliefs of individuals or their living conditions to respond to merely political considerations is neither just nor prudent especially for the armed forces at a time of war.”
Current U.S. code states that service members who are homosexual or who engage in homosexual conduct “shall be separated from the armed forces.” Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), is a Clinton-era administrative policy that prevents the military from enforcing this law by ensuring that military recruits will not be asked if they are homosexual. The official policy was further encumbered on March 25 when Defense Secretary Robert Gates introduced more restrictions to enforcing the law.
On May 27, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to attach a repeal of the current military law to the 2011 defense budget.
In his statement, Archbishop Broglio says that a number of chaplains and military officers have expressed their concern regarding the possible negative effects of such a change.
He offers as guidance a a section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that homosexual acts are “objectively disordered” and that “homosexual persons are called to chastity.”
For such reasons, he writes that Catholic chaplains “can never condone—even silently—homosexual behavior.”
He also expresses concern that the morale of troops and unit cohesion would suffer if homosexuals were to openly serve in the military. A firm effort, he says, must be made to avoid injustices that develop because people are put “in living situations that are an affront to good common sense.”
The Archbishop’s concerns echoed those of a number of conservative legislators, who have said that DADT should not be repealed until the Department of Defense completes a study on the possible effects.
Archbishop Broglio’s statement appears to be the first response of U.S. bishops to the recent push to permit openly homosexual service members, it simply reflects the teaching of the Catholic Church: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document in 1992 stating that “there are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example … in military recruitment.”
Towards the end of his statement, the Archbishop compares current protocol on homosexual activity to the process of gaining control of alcoholism.
“For years, those struggling with alcoholism have benefitted from Alcoholics Anonymous,” he states. “Like [with] homosexuality, there is rarely a cure.” People in AA can nevertheless gain control of their temptations, he writes, “through a process, which is guarded by absolute secrecy.”
“It is an equivalent to ‘Don’t ask don’t tell.’ The process has worked well for some time without the charge that it is discriminatory.”