One of the three Cardinals over 80 (that is, unable to vote in a conclave) that the Pope chose for his February 22 consistory is Abp. Sebastián Aguilar, emeritus of Pamplona (Navarre, Spain), currently residing in the sunnier coastal Andalusian city of Málaga. The Pope had already often mentioned him as a favorite author and a spiritual master, so his choice was not a surprise. And, as a friend of late liberal Cardinal Tarancón, who established post-conciliar practices in Spain, he was hailed by many as an "enlightened" choice by the Pope.
Except that... he gave an interview to daily Sur, and said the following:
- [Sur] Let us disobey a little the Holy Father, who said that priests should not be speaking of homosexuals, abortion and condoms the whole time. His words on gays in which he affirmed he was nobody to criticize them are already famous. Do you share it?
- The Pope go to great lengths in his gestures of respect and esteem for all persons, but he does not betray or modify the traditional Magisterium of the Church. It is one thing to display welcoming and affection to a homosexual person, and something else to morally justify the exercise of homosexuality. I can tell one person that has a certain deficiency that it is what it is, but this does not mean that I stop caring for him and helping him. I believe that is the position of the pope, and likewise regarding homosexual marriage or divorces. We will be on his [the person's] side, but the Church cannot change the moral demands. Love always demands fidelity and irrevocability. Human love is what it is, and the Church must defend the truth and the deep authenticity of man, helping all, those who accomplish it well, and those who make mistakes or fail.
- [Sur] You mentioned the word deficiency. Do you understand homosexuality as such from a moral point of view?
- Yes. Many complain and do not tolerate it, but with all respect I say that homosexuality is a deficient way of manifesting sexuality, because the latter has a structure and an end, which is that of procreation. Homosexuality, which cannot reach this end, is faulty. This is not an outrage for anyone. We have in our body many deficiencies. I have high blood pressure, should I get upset because others tell me so? It is a deficiency that I have to correct as well as I can. To identify in a homosexual [person] a deficiency is not offensive, it is a help, because many cases of homosexuality can be treated and normalized with adequate treatment. It is not an offense, it is care. When a person has a defect, the good friend is the one who tells him so.
- [Sur] The theme of abortion is now current due to the legal reform that the government wants to accomplish. Does all that is being stirred up regarding this matter alarm you?
- It alarms me that Spanish society has accepted the normalcy of abortion. It is a distorted debate. The truth of abortion is avoided. It is not the interruption of the pregnancy, it is the interruption of the life of an incipient human being who is in his mother's womb. From there we can debate if it should be licit or decriminalized. Is a normal and sensible woman capable of reclaiming the right to end with the life of the child that she carries within? It has no sense, politically or anthropologically, to make of abortion a symbol of modernity. It is a theme more of humanistic than religious reflection.
[Source: SUR. Tip: Sandro Magister. Update: minor typo corrected.]