Rorate Caeli

In new interview, Fernandez says Bible teaching on homosexuality should not be taken too literally, otherwise women might have to wear veils

The following interview with Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández appeared today in Spanish at, under journalist Ale Villegas (source).

Ale Villegas: How does one promote the faith in a West that is increasingly indifferent to religion?

Archbp. Fernández: It is a relative indifference, because new forms of religiosity and spirituality are always emerging. At a given moment, when one feels the suffocation of superficiality, the question of religion comes up again. That is the moment when, if we are attentive, we can engage in a fruitful dialogue.

Does the world still feel the need to hear words of hope about pain, death, eternal life, and is the Church still capable of addressing these questions, once defined as the "ultimate" ones?

Today everything is immediate, urgent, so it is difficult for a proposal of eternal life to emerge. However, in the face of pain, death, failure, abandonment, many are beginning to look at the broader horizon of existence. It is part of our message and we cannot fail to speak of the call to a full and endless life in the abyss of divine love. Sometimes this message is ignored, but in other circumstances it is heard.

Does a deeper understanding of doctrine also mean overcoming homosexuality as 'objectively disordered', a definition in the Catechism that continues to hurt those who live in an unchosen sexual condition and also their families?

This is a problem of theological language, which sometimes ignores the effect it can have on people's hearts, as if it were indifferent to the pain it produces. But, as you know, this is not the case with Pope Francis, who would certainly use different language.

Blessing homosexual couples is a sacrilege for traditionalist circles. Do they quote the Bible with full knowledge of the facts?

There are biblical texts that should not be interpreted in a 'material' way, I don't want to say 'literal'. The Church has long understood the need for a hermeneutic that interprets them in their historical context. This does not mean that they lose their content, but that they should not be taken completely literally. Otherwise, we would have to obey St. Paul's command for women to cover their heads, for example.

And what do you feel like saying to Catholics disappointed by the stagnation of reflection on women's access to the diaconate, even if it is permanent, despite a couple of ad hoc commissions set up by the Pope?

I say that it will not do us any good to analyze this problem in isolation. What lies behind it and is much deeper is the discourse on power in the Church and women's access to places where there is decision-making power. That is why it is important that women begin to vote in the Synod.

Does the possible ordination of married men, defended by a large majority in the Synod on Amazonia, undermine doctrine or is it a possible hypothesis for the Church?

It is a possible hypothesis, as in fact happens in the East. But it is a prudential decision that the Pope must weigh.

What do you expect from the October Synod of Bishops?

Unlike other Synods, where I expected very concrete answers, in this case I prefer to wait and see where the Spirit wants to lead us.

Have you been marked by the invectives, also on a personal level, that have been addressed to you from traditionalist circles?

I expected them, but they are not what worries me most. There are other areas in which operations are carried out to damage the image of people, when they do not respond to their ideological and economic interests. In these cases, the social message of Francis bothers. They are not precisely traditionalist sectors.