Sunday, November 22, 2020


To his credit, not even Lt. Governor Joshua Tenorio blamed the "Church" (Archbishop Byrnes) for his  (Tenorio) being prohibited from being a godparent "because he's gay." 

Tenorio correctly connected the "Church's" prohibition to his being a confirmation godparent/sponsor to his niece to his being in a same-sex relationship, and not "because he's gay."

But that didn't stop the Pacific News Center from lying about both what the Church said and about what Tenorio himself said, headlining its story:

Lt. Governor prohibited by Church from becoming godparent to his niece because he’s gay

By Julianne Hernandez -November 21, 2020

Like God, the Catholic Church is "no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34-35), meaning neither God (nor the Church) has favorites. The qualifications for being a godparent apply equally to everyone regardless of sexual orientation and the nature of one's sexual relationships.

The qualifications for being a godparent (or in this case a confirmation sponsor) are set forth in Church Law (Canon Law), and like civil law, Church law is "no respecter of persons." Those qualifications can be read in full here, but the issue at question here is Can.  874 §1.3:

(A godparent must) "be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on..."

In the interview on K57, the show's host inquires into Tenorio's reception of the required sacraments but does not inquire into whether or not Tenorio is leading "a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on..." 

Tenorio's answer of course would have to be no, which is the same answer a person engaged in a sexual relationship with another person of the opposite sex he or she is not married to would have to answer. 

Also, one can be single and still a godparent, so it's not about who you are married to or in a relationship with. It's about whether or not you are living in a perpetual and especially a public state of unrepentant mortal sin, which would be the very opposite of "the function to be taken on" which is: 

(to assist) "the baptized person (or confirmee) to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism (or confirmation) and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it." - Can. 872

The bottom line is that sex is about "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28). And intentionally* sterile sexual acts, whether they are same-sex acts or contraceptive acts, are mortally contrary to God's design. 

*Some persons are naturally sterile due to age or other reasons and thus the nuptial act is not intentionally sterile."

There are a few more points in the story that should be made. 

One wonders why the pastor(s) even had to get the Archbishop involved. Joshua Tenorio is a public figure and his homosexual lifestyle is not only not a secret, it is a celebrated fact, i.e. "the first openly gay Lt. Governor." This is something that could have been politely and discreetly addressed between the pastor and Tenorio. Tenorio even said that at least one of the pastors was his friend. 

The other matter, given that Tenorio is the public figure that he is, after Tenorio went public about the issue on the radio, the "Church" should have addressed the matter just as publicly; not that the Church should have made this about Tenorio, but the Church could have and should have used the opportunity to educate the public, and especially the Catholic faithful, many of whom do not understand what has been set forth in the foregoing.

There is one other matter. In Guam, "godparent" carries a cultural meaning that goes beyond just a duty to assist the baptized and confirmed person in growing in the Catholic faith. Often times it includes financial, social, and other responsibilities, including political connections. All of which can much determine the future (at least in this world) of the baptiz-ee or confirm-ee. 

And this is why people get upset a lot of times over the godparent thing. The difference between "God and mammon" (Mt. 6:24), at least when it comes to this extra-godparent role, is something the "Church" (at least in Guam) seems very hesitant to address. 

Maybe now is a good time.

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