Dr. Vincent Smiles, an open critic of Pope Benedict XVI and the Church's teaching on homosexuality, will give a series of talks at the Midsummer's Light Bible Institute this June, hosted by Alaska Pacific University and sponsored by the Archdiocese of Anchorage.
Currently a professor of theology at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, Dr. Smiles has written anti-papal articles on a blog attached to the magazine Commonweal. An excerpt:
December 23rd, 2008
I find the Pope's stance on homosexuality SCANDALOUS IN THE FULL THEOLOGICAL SENSE OF THE TERM ("stumbling block" to faith)...the Vatican's use of the Bible is embarrassingly simplistic and fundamentalist. We need to recover the resources of our tradition that enable an alternative view to that of Benedict XVI...The scandal of Benedict's stance is that he speaks as though faith provided a certainty that is simply not available, and in doing so HIS PRONOUNCEMENTS ARE CRUELLY MISLEADING AND UNJUST. (caps my emphases)
Dr. Smiles' unholy rebuke and his generally dissident demeanor contradict the teachings of Vatican II; to wit:
In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent of soul. This religious submission of will and of mind must be shown in a special way to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra. (Lumen Gentium, ¶25).
Further, in a pro-homosexual union article written for the St. Cloud Times in 2005 (WARNING: posted here on a gay catholic blog), Dr. Smiles contends that "there is no basis for absolute certainty on this issue". Again, this flies in the face of the CDF Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons:
Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. (Cardinal Ratzinger, 1986)
Finally, Dr. Smiles is on the record as defending Dan Maguire, a Marquette professor who was publicly corrected by the USCCB in 2007 regarding abortion and homosexuality. You can read the USCCB's censure here.
As an impious denouncer of the Pope and Church doctrine, Dr. Smiles is wholly unfit to speak and teach the faith at a purportedly Catholic colloquium. Please keep him in your prayers.
Dr. Smiles comes to Anchorage at the invitation of Dr. Regina Boisclair, the current Cardinal Newman Chair of Catholic Theology at APU.