In a judgment dated November 23, 2021, the XVIIth chamber of the Paris Criminal Court dismissed the case against Jean-Pierre Maugendre, who had been sued by three LGBT associations on the grounds of “incitement to discrimination against a group of people because of their sexual orientation.”
The prosecution accused Catholic Renaissance for having published on its site, on June 13, 2019, an article entitled: “The Church of the living God: the pillar and the support of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).” The incriminating comments were as follows:
“Civil authorities should not establish civil or legal unions between two persons of the same sex, which clearly mimic the marriage union, even if such unions do not receive the name of marriage, since such unions would encourage mortal sin for those concerned and would cause a serious scandal for others.”
This text was signed by Cardinals Burke, patron of the Order of Malta, Pujats, Archbishop Emeritus of Riga, and Bishops Peta, Archbishop of Saint Mary in Astana, Lenga, Archbishop Emeritus of Karaganda and Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan.
The court ruled that it was a doctrinal text and not “a clear exhortation made to the Catholic faithful likely to constitute civil authorities not to celebrate marriages between homosexual persons.”
He also observes that: “It emerges from this note that the public declaration is intended as a response to the 'acute spiritual hunger among the Catholic faithful around the world... for a reaffirmation of truths obscured, undermined, and denied by the most dangerous errors of our time” and that it was thought of as “concrete spiritual help.”
“The lexical field used in the explanatory note, and which also irrigates the contentious text, evoking the ‘moral duty’ of the faithful ‘to bear witness to these truths,’ ‘in the eyes of the divine judge and in his own conscience’ refers to the idea of religious conviction and does not induce, for the reader, anything other than a personal examination of conscience.”
“Thus the disputed passage, written by cardinals, bishops, and archbishops, one of whose missions is to disseminate the teaching of the Church, explicitly citing the reference doctrinal text on the question of homosexual civil unions, constitutes, not an exhortation addressed to the faithful not to celebrate marriages between persons of the same sex, but a general and doctrinal purpose, allowing them to situate their action with regard to the principles of the Church.”
“This 2019 statement, recalling the principles established in 2003 [by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ed.], comes, in what is explicitly presented as a guide for the faithful, to recall the Church's position on same-sex unions and the religious considerations that motivate them.”
“The simple affirmation that the civil authorities should not create, or even subscribe to the presence, in their legal order, of civil unions between persons of the same sex is, in the absence of any exhortation to commit positive acts of discrimination, protected by freedom of expression and opinion.”
This judgment comes to sanction the capacity and the freedom of the Church, as such, to affirm her dogmatic and moral teaching in our society. This increasingly threatened freedom is being affirmed. We must therefore rejoice that, at least for the moment, the truth can continue to be proclaimed.