“Time for a Dialogue on Sexual Ethics.” That is the dishonest title of an editorial in today’s National Catholic Reporter. It’s dishonest because the media outlet does not want dialogue—it wants the Church to drop its teachings on sexuality, mostly to satisfy the homosexual agenda.

This is classic doublespeak for the Left, secular and religious. When they ask for dialogue on matters important to them, they mean change, not discourse. For example, they don’t want dialogue on capital punishment: they believe they’ve won that one, so there is no need to revisit this teaching. Gay marriage, which is of paramount importance to the Reporter, is different.

In one sense, there is no real news here. The National Catholic Reporter, a dissident media outlet that has drawn the wrath of many bishops, has long rejected the Church’s teachings on sexuality. In 2002, I confronted one of its senior editors, Tom Roberts, about this issue in a TV debate.

“Now guys like Roberts, the National Catholic Reporter, they don’t believe in anything the Catholic Church says on sexuality anyhow, so of course he doesn’t want to talk about homosexuality,” I said. Mike Barnicle, sitting in for Chris Matthews on Hardball, interrupted me: “Wait, Bill, please. Tom, take it up. I mean, you just got whacked across the face. Take it up.” To which Roberts replied, “I’m not going to take that up.”

A real man would have defended himself. But he didn’t. And real men don’t pen editorials like the one today in the Reporter. The statement ends by citing two of their favorite theologians, Charles Curran and Margaret Farley: their unequivocal rejection of Church teachings on sexuality led them to be censured by the Vatican.

The editorial says, “perhaps it is time for the Vatican to engage these Catholic theologians and ethicists in a constructive dialogue about the fruits of their ethical inquiries. Until the church is willing to engage in a deep re-examination of its doctrine on sexuality and sexual relationships, any dialogue around LGBT inclusion or divorce and remarriage will only be stymied.”

In other words, the Vatican has a moral obligation to listen carefully to those whom it has sanctioned for their insubordination. A more manly thing to do would be to insist that the Church adopt the editorial preferences of the New York Times, and throw Scripture and Tradition overboard.

Perhaps the Reporter will lead the way in showing how fruitful dialogue can be by inviting me to be on its editorial board. My first request would be to say that any media outlet with the word “Catholic” in it ought to pledge fidelity to Church teachings. Dialogue anyone?