NJ Catholic Bishop Won’t Say If He Agrees With Church Teaching on Homosexuality, Marriage

By Michael W. Chapman | April 6, 2015 | 2:09pm EDT

(CNSNews.com) – Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski, head of the Catholic diocese of Metuchen, N.J., would not say whether he agrees with the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church pertaining to homosexuality and marriage as quoted directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Instead, a diocesan spokeswoman directed CNSNews.com to a statement on the diocesan website where the bishop writes, “We have never wavered from our traditional Catholic teachings.”

Bishop Paul Gregory Bottkoski, head of the Catholic diocese of Metuchen, N.J. (Photo: Diocesea of Metuchen/Facebook)

In a March 30 e-mail to Bishop Bootkoski and his office of communications, CNSNews.com asked the following three questions:

1) Do you, Bishop Bootkoski, agree with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2357, which says, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”?

2) Do you agree with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2359, which says, “Homosexual persons are called to chastity”?

3)  Do you agree with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1605, which quotes Jesus Christ Himself on the issue of marriage, saying, “’Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.’ The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been ‘in the beginning’: ‘So they are no longer two, but one flesh’”?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the depository of Catholic teaching on theological issues and basic moral questions; it is the book that explains Catholicism from A to Z.

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Despite two e-mails, Bishop Bootkoski did not respond and a spokeswoman from his office, by telephone, referred CNSNews.com to the March 20, 2015 statement: “Bishop’s statement on status of teacher at Immaculata High School, Somerville.”

It notes that, "Pope Francis reminds us that we are to accept all of our brethren. We must ensure that our educators steer away from harsh and judgmental statements that can alienate and divide us."

In explaining the establishment and role of a bishop in the church, the Catechism states (1558), “’Episcopal consecration confers, together with the office of sanctifying, also the offices of teaching and ruling.... In fact ... by the imposition of hands and through the words of the consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is given, and a sacred character is impressed in such wise that bishops, in an eminent and visible manner, take the place of Christ himself, teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act as his representative (in Eius persona agant).’ ‘By virtue, therefore, of the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, bishops have been constituted true and authentic teachers of the faith and have been made pontiffs and pastors.’”

According to the 2013-14 annual report for the Diocese of Methuchen, it serves 636,280 Catholics in 90 parishes (churches), with 233 priests. The diocese operates 25 elementary schools and 5 high schools, with a combined enrollment of 10,568 students. It also runs one hospital, 4 health care clinics, and 9 social service centers. Paul Gregory Bootkoski was appointed bishop of the diocese in 2002.

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