Friday, September 23, 2005

A mixed message to gay Catholics

We've all heard talk about barring men from admission to holy orders, purely on the basis of their sexual orientation. Many believe this an essential step and are cheered by reports that the Holy Father has signed off on such an instruction.

But Tom Toles, above--who often offends me--illustrates one of the problems of such a policy. (I shouldn't have to say this, but--I fully support the Church's teaching on what marriage is, who may marry, and on what chastity is for people in various states of life.)

One of the arguments often used for this is that somehow, a seminary must be a terrible temptation for a homosexually oriented man. Having spent six years in a seminary, I find this a little silly.

First, keep in mind that if the diocese, or order, is doing its job, it carefully scrutinizes candidates before entering, to determine their readiness for celibate chastity. We all hear horror stories, and should be skeptical, but I suppose they happen. In my case, studying for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati (which hardly has a reputation for being especially conservative), we are grilled about our past: dating, sexual history, etc. It's confidential; but very probing.

So if the admissions folks do their job, the homosexual men entering the seminary are going to have a track record of celibate chastity; they won't be--as someone from Catholics United for the Faith glibly put it--like an alcoholic in a bar. It will be more like a teetotaler in a bar. What's the problem?

Second, while I don't doubt guys in a seminary might well be able to pull off romances and liaisons, having lived in a seminary, I think it would be very hard to do and keep it secret. It's like the smallest small town you can imagine; everybody knows everybody else's business. If guys are AWOL a lot, either by themselves or with someone else, everyone will know it, including the faculty, many of whom live there (the priests, of course).

Third, people seem not to give much credence to what the Church actually recommends as a necessary tool for homosexual persons to succeed in chastity: close, trusting, disinterested friendship. This is what the Catechism says, and what Courage, the completely orthodox, pro-chastity, Catholic apostolate for same-sex-attracted persons, says.

And one of the great aspects of the seminary is the brotherhood men form in pursuit of the priesthood. You have every opportunity to form solid, trusting, life-giving friendships. And such friendships are key for all men, particularly in being morally accountable; who thinks they wouldn't be a great boon to same-sex-attracted men who are serious about chastity? If ever there were a place where a homosexual man might find a heterosexual man with the maturity, moral depth, spirituality and Christian charity to be a real friend, this should be that place.

The seminary is no place for anyone, heterosexual or homosexual--who is too immature to deal with such questions. And obviously, there are both appropriate and inappropriate ways to disclose such things. My point is that, contrary to the idea that the all-male environment is a snare for a homosexually oriented man; I am arguing that, if the seminary is made up of otherwise healthy, well-adjusted men, it would a very healthy environment for a homosexual male--who is demonstrably committed to celibate chastity--to succeed in that endeavor.

Finally, the "he's around guys all day, so it'll be too tempting" cuts both ways. After ordination, guess who a priest is more likely to be around all day? Not men, but women. Like it or not, the vast majority of those employed in, and active as volunteers, in a parish, are women. If "guys all day" is a grievous temptation for homosexuals, what is "gals all day" for a heterosexual? A priest-to-be spends at most 8 years in the seminary; he'll spend decades in a parish setting.

34 comments:

MrsDarwin said...

Next year my brother will start at the seminary for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, so I'm glad to hear what you have to say about it. Seems like one is always hearing what a hotbed of liberalism and whatnot Mount St. Mary's is (that is the name, isn't it? I haven't been in town for a while) and I know my father had particular concerns about "gay subculture". I'll point them both toward your post.

Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

I was warned about Mt. St. Mary's, too. At the time I entered, it still "boasted" a couple of "flaming liberal" faculty members. They were all gone by the end of my first year, though I can't claim the credit for that.

Another major event was the transfer of the pre-theology program in philosophy from Thomas More College to the seminary, with the appointment of a full-time philosophy professor. I can't claim the credit for that, either, but I know my comments about the deficiencies at Thomas More were taken very seriously.

Since then, the seminary has steadily improved its training in the values of celibacy and chastity, as well as sexual integration in general, as both the faculty and the students come to understand these issues more clearly.

In this connection, I can recommend that anyone who has not yet begun a study of John Paul II's Theology of the Body had
better get cracking. It exposes some very serious gaps in popular psychology.

I have yet to see an official pronouncement regarding the issue of admitting gays into the seminary, though I have seen several articles claiming to stem from official sources. Since I have almost no ax to grind on this issue (other than saying that the justice issues here are very complicated and not well treated in any quarter I have seen thus far), I'll patiently wait for the official word, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for blogging on this topic . . . it doesn't 'directly' affect me in a personal sense (I'm female & straight) - but as a Catholic, I'm very upset by this proposal. If one is committed to celibacy, why should their sexual orientation matter? If this is adopted and implemented, I feel like I'm going to be participating in systemic discrimination - and without any real reason I can identify in Christ's teaching for doing so.
What's a parishioner to do in this circmstance?

Father Martin Fox said...

Mrs Darwin:

I won't claim Mount Saint Mary's Seminary of the West is without problems, but I do think people should relax.

I don't know your brother; but unless he's a very fragile or impressionable fellow, I can't imagine what he'd have to worry about; or what your father might have to worry about.

Sometimes people seek the "perfect seminary," or something very near. It doesn't exist.

And seeking the seminary of ones highest aspirations may not be such a good idea, either, unless one is very sure ones ideal of the seminary truly matches what the ideal seminary really ought to be.

I know I was in that position when considering the seminary.

I had all kinds of notions of what would mark "just the place for me." And Mt. St. Mary's didn't match it. Even now, much improved, it still doesn't.

But I really think no seminary could. Because a seminary is going to be filled with PEOPLE.

I remember a guy from seminary, in his 20s, who was very disturbed by certain things--nothing scandalous; he didn't like various aspects of how a faculty member conducted his class, how the administration did things, etc. Many of us would agree with him, but we just didn't get so bothered about it.

One day, he was really shaking with frustration; and I told him: "whatever flaws there may be here, there is nothing about this place that will keep you from being the priest you want to be."

And I would say the same to your brother, and to your father.

Will he have classes that seem to lightweight? Will he hear a lot of historical-critical Scriptural interpretation? Will he have reason to think things could be tighter, more disciplined, more rigorous? Will he be disappointed in his brother seminarians' zeal? Will he think some faculty are wanting? Will he wonder if any of his fellow seminarians are homosexual?

The answer to all these questions is "almost certainly."

But he will also, I suspect, see seminarians whose zeal makes his seem pale; and he may find zeal and holiness are not so easily stereotyped; he may find common ground in places he didn't expect. And he may well discover, by the end of his time, that the institution was far wiser than it seemed when he entered.

And...if he finds, after his time there (however it concludes), that he does not know and love God more...

then whatever ways "the institution" may have failed to do all it could to help, it will nonetheless be his fault.

David L Alexander said...

Whatever has happened in the past at Mt St Mary's of the West (not to be confused with Emmitsburg), the situation should be much improved under the current rector. I believe I can vouch for him, as he was a school mate of mine.

MrsDarwin said...

Thanks. My brother has a good head on his shoulders and has already spent four years doing his undergrad at the Josephinum, and I've actually never heard him profess any concerns on the matter. My dad read Michael Rose's "Goodbye, Good Men" a while back and was alarmed at Rose's depictions of modern seminary life. I haven't read it and so can't comment on his accuracy, but most of the younger seminarians I've know seem to be enjoying their experience and growing in knowledge and holiness.

I'm glad to hear ordained priests talk about their seminary experiences. It seems like the loudest voices are the guys who dropped out of the seminary in the 80s who complain about the moral laxity that was prevalent when they were studying. Thanks for providing much-needed perspective!

Father Martin Fox said...

Mrs. Darwin:

I think Michael Rose's heart is in the right place, and many of those criticized have it coming, nonetheless I think his book was badly flawed.

The evidence was anecdotal, hard to quantify and worst of all, much of it was unsubstantiated and unchecked.

Mr. Rose would tell an ex-seminarian's horror story, but would not, by and large, describe how he checked the story, contacted others who could confirm -- or dispute -- the claims, and worst of all, he failed to describe whether he gave those being accused of malfeasance a chance to respond.

Were I writing about the subject, I'd realize some seminarians are going to be dismissed for good reason; but naturally, they'd rather not tell that story; so why not say it was because they were conservative. They might even believe that.

Mr. Rose also -- naturally enough -- tended toward the sensationalistic.

Finally, Mr. Rose's horror stories were, in many cases, from the 90s and 80s, if not older.

So, I have a hard time knowing how much credence to give to Mr. Rose's account.

Tim said...

Miss a couple of days on this blog and you miss a lot!

"Gay catholics" This headline would be typical in Amerika mag. or Commonweal but definitely not used by Fr. Harvey and Courage whom you correctly identified as orthodox. "Gay" is a disordered choice, "homosexual" or same sex attraction is appropriate terminology for the disorder.

"If the diocese, or order, is doing its job..." That is a pretty big IF. In the case of the diocese of Cincinnati, Fr. Dan Danielson just lectured this past June at your alamater. He is a well known dissenter in many areas and was repremanded for blessing same sex unions! So what does your boss do for an encore? This years distinquished speakers are; pro homosexual, moral relativist, proportionalist, Humanae Vitae rejecting author, Richard Gula. (You probably even used his textbook at St. Marys in Cinci.)Last but not least is Diana Hayes, A radical feminist, dissenting, liberation theology advocate who of course also supports the homosexual agenda. If you doubt me go to womenpriest.org for a nice sampling of her thoughts. Call to Action's website also has plenty. She is a regular speaker at their annual confab. Her letter to Benedict XVI in U.S. Catholic June is a gem. I read it at the bookrack in my parish. It was included with a bunch of other pro"gay", pro-abortion, pro womens ordination agitators like Catholics For free Choice board member Rosemary Radford Ruether.

You are right about the need for disinterested friendships and healthy male bonding for men with same sex attraction disorder but the seminary is for the formation of priests not a treatment center for men with SSAD, alcoholism, or any other serious problem.

"this should be that place." No our parihes should be that place, The Knights of Columbus should be that place, our Catholic social groups should be that place.

"if the seminary is made up of otherwise healthy well adjusted men it would be a very healthy environment for a homosexual male..." My question then is how many healthy well adjusted men per homosexual candidate? Ten to one? One to one? Surely you would not want more homosexuals than straight men. So whats your quota? What do you tell the men with SSAD who don"t get in after you have the safe number. "sorry fellas we have reached our quota of "Gays" try the next diocese over or just head to LA, Albany, or Rochester. Mahony, Hubbard and Clark never listen to the Pope anyway.

I hope when the document is released you will read it after prayer and accept whatever the Holy See does say. Also regarding the program Courage it is only recently that the Cinci. archdiocese has allowed it.

Cornelius said...

Fr. Fox - Tim pretty much said it all for me, I think. You have some massive "IF"s in your reasoning that skirt the heart of the whole problem:

"First, keep in mind that if the diocese, or order, is doing its job, . . ." and

"So if the admissions folks do their job, . . ."

This isn't cogent reasoning, Father, it amounts to wishful thinking. The point is that these folks have NOT done their jobs, hence the need for visitations and a policy that limits the damage that can be done by the inept.

Father Martin Fox said...

Dear Tim and Cornelius:

I chose the word "gay" only for the headline, because its short, and because, like it or not, it is common parlance for persons with homosexual desires; I think the substance of my message makes clear I am in no way endorsing the "gay agenda" and all that baggage.

I am not claiming that seminaries or dioceses, including my own, are doing their jobs as they should be. My point is, if we want action from Rome to deal with negligence in this area, aim the action at the formators, at the gate-keepers.

I agree a seminary is not a "treatment center" for any particular person, or persons with a particular problem.

My point was not that we should view the seminary as "healing" for same-sex-attracted men seeking chastity.

If you will note, I said that anyone admitted to the seminary should already have a track record of celibate chastity. So in no way was I suggesting anyone should be admitted to the seminary for "treatment."

My point was simply to respond to the argument that a seminary, being all-male, is a hotbed of temptation for same-sex attracted men.

It was in the context of that specific claim that I replied, sed contra, it should be a place for healthy, disinterested friendships that reinforce a pre-existing commitment (and practice) of chastity. And, therefore, the seminary isn't a snare, but a place of reinforcement.

As far as the "ratio" of heterosexual to homosexual... that's an interesting question, I'll think about what I want to say about that--because it touches on the underlying question: shouldn't we just exclude everyone who has any homosexual inclination?

Anonymous said...

I am 63, male, never married and straight. I am aghast at what has been happening to my Church.

I was taught Religion by Benedictine nuns in the 50s and 60s and while it wasn't dwelt upon, it was stated that homosexuality was not a bar to a religious vocation, with the implication being that chastity was the initial requirement for acceptance.

I'm not sure whether a total ban on homosexuals being admitted to the priesthood or religious orders is the right thing to do.

But I am sure of one thing.

Homossexuals have destroyed the lives of thousands of young boys, have severely damaged the credibility of the Catholic Church, and have cost the American Church alone over two billion dollars in payments to victims, attornies, courts, and insurance companies (for increased premiums). Of course parishioners and major donors have been tapped for these funds, diverting funds that might have been used to build schools, subsidize tuition and increase adult adult education.

And the problem doesn't seem to have ceased.

Homosexual priests and religious still active in the Church don't seem to have received a message that what they are still doing is still creating a huge amount of damage, personally, socially and financially.

How long must the Church permit this to happen? I don't have an answer but thank you for the opportunity to vent.

Ray from Minn.

Anonymous said...

Why should it matter if a teetotaller would prefer red or white wine?

Rich Leonardi said...

Great post, Fr. Fox.

You write:

I am arguing that, if the seminary is made up of otherwise healthy, well-adjusted men, it would a very healthy environment for a homosexual male--who is demonstrably committed to celibate chastity--to succeed in that endeavor.

Does your formulation suggest that there must be a proponderance -- or majority, even -- of heterosexuals in seminary for a homosexual to find the sort of support you're describing?

I ask because a number of social scientists, most recently Fr. Richard Sipe, suggest that the priesthood is a majority "gay" profession.

In other words, is there a balance that must be struck that perhaps in some seminaries was off-kilter in some seminaries?

Rich Leonardi said...

Sorry for the redundancy in my hastily-drafted post, but you get the gist.

radiofreerome said...

Sexual harassment is common at Catholic high schools. The difference is, it's heterosexuals harassing homosexuals. When I attended Jesuit High School in New Olreans, some straight students tried to get me to fellate them in the lockeroom. They were all boys who called me "faggot" on a daily basis, and I couldn't be bothered to give them the time of day. I had no choice in being at that high school. Since I was a minor, the decision belonged to my parents. Moreover, if I would have revealed my sexual orientation, I would likely have been committed for "conversion therapy."

While I object to anyone being sexually harassed, It's risible to argue that decreasing the number of homosexuals will remedy the problem.
Moreover, if I can stand it for 5 difficult formative years (eighth grade through graduation), I'm not especially sympathetic to straight seminarians who use stories of being hit on as reasons for banning homosexuals.

I, for one, would like to see such a ban. If you want to read why, take a look at my blog http://radiofreerome.typepad.com.

radiofreerome said...

Tim,
The terminology you espouse is arrogant at best and totalitarian at worst. The terminology "SSA" medicalizes dissent; it makes the Church guilty of the kind of the tactics that the Soviets used. "If you don't agree with us, you must be mentally ill."

Father Martin Fox said...

Rich:

Thanks for your comments.

As indicated elsewhere, in a new post, I honestly don't know how to give a quantifiable answer to Tim's "ratio" question, but generally I'd say, sure the preponderance should be heterosexual.

CourageMan said...

"The terminology you espouse is arrogant at best and totalitarian at worst. The terminology 'SSA' medicalizes dissent ...

Huh?

I'll agree that the term SSA is not the current convention and so inevitably sounds a bit stilted.

But how are homosexual desires or actions, i.e., the referent for the term "SSA" ... how are these "dissent" for the term to medicalize?

And FWIW my friend, your history is exactly backwards. The term "homosexuality" was coined by late-19th century psychologists and sexologists like Chaddock, Freud and Krafft-Ebbing who were seeking to catalog and then treat sexual perversions (K-E's landmark book is titled "Psychopathia Sexualis," which means pretty much what it looks like). During the period before the 1970s, when "it" was listed as a mental illness by the APA, it was called "homosexuality." The term "SSA," whatever its merits, was not created as a medical term, and Courage and the Catholic Church are agnostic/neutral on reparative therapy. You can perfectly sanely disparage "SSA" a political term, one coined to avoid the connotations of the current gay movement. But calling it a medical term is nuts, plain and simple.

And insistence on the use of one term is no more arrogant or totalitarian than the insistence on the use of any other term -- like ... um ... "gay." I'll never forget in my professional capacity using the term "have homosexual desires," and someone gave a weird look and I explained, in the third person, how some religiously orthodox persons don't identify with the word "gay," and this person, a typical know-it-all mid-20s college-educated (I suspect) lesbian with a well-raised consciousness mockingly said (best I recall) "oh, please. They're gay and just denying it."

joe h said...

Let’s take a look at this from a legal perspective.

First, the Church describes homosexual acts as gravely disordered. As such, we admit that those attracted to this grave disorder have a strong potential for abuse of boys.

Second, we have a history of admitting homosexuals who have abused boys and further complicated the issue by hiding and moving them.

Third, we had an independent study done, The Jay Report, which told us over 80% of the abuse was adult male homosexual priests abusing boys between the age of 12-18. This is not a pedophile. In the homosexual community, it is a common attraction called seeking out "twinks". Go to Google and search twinks and you will see millions of hits around the gay community. It is not a rare issue in the homosexual community, but common attraction with a large number of homosexuals. Many have pushed for the legalization of sex with boys, NAMBLA.

Fourth, with the ruling in Oregon that all church assets in the entire dioceses can be seized for abuse settlement, we now know that all our churches, schools, and other assets from each parish are up for grabs.
With all this knowledge, is it not simply logic that says we cannot afford to allow homosexuals into the priesthood or face charges that we knew all this and still put children at risk? Lawyers are drooling at the prospects.

Maybe the government can give the Catholic Church a legal waiver for homosexuals we think might be safe for boys to be around.

Please make the case against this.

Tim said...

In regards to the comments about Michael S. Rose and his book, Goodbye, Goodmen, of the thirteen chapters one was about the homosexual subculture and had little if anything about the Cinci. seminary. So lets look at the three chapters that went into detail about St. Marys/ Athenaeum. In chapter three Rose takes issue with the intake screener Dr. Wicker. Using published information about Wicker and even Wicker's own words, reports and lettrs, Rose questions the suitability of having The Worshipful Master of the Masonic temple who rejects Catholic teaching in key areas including sexual morality and is a member of the Rosicrucians (a sect condemned by the Church)screening applicants to the priesthood of the Church that Wicker has left.

I don't remember the chapter # but it was titled Heterodxy ___? Rose again uses plenty of documentation primarily the text books written by the heretics themselves, former Marianist brother Aaron Milavec and Sr. Barbara Fiand who had six or seven books detailng her heterodox views. I can attest to seeing her books listed in St. Marys published course descriptions. As the book notes both got the ax but only after teaching there 12 and 17 yrs. What the book cannot not note is where they are now. Milavec has named himself "Wolf" and is an avant-garde ceramic artist. Fiand travels the dissenters circuit promoting womens ordination, shegod etc. at venues such as Mahony's LA religious congress and the Granddaddy
(sorry Grandperson would be less patriarchal) of them all, Call to Action's heresyfest. If you think "heresy" is to strong go to cta.org and check out it out.

A single chapter detailed Fr. Hinds persecution by Fr. Rihard Sweeney who was the head of formation and was promoted to Dean of the seminary. Fr. Hind saved his papers and documented all of the garbage he was subjected to by Sweeney and Sr. Koernke including Sweeneys handwritten notes and memos. Koernke is no longer at St. Marys but her liturgical dissent is available online and is of course contrary to The Sacred Constitution on the Liturgy, The Roman Missal and it's General Instruction etc. Sweeney has left the priesthood but has not gone far, just a couple of months ago he was giving a seminar promoting the sexual ethics of Carl Gustav Jung at the Episcopal church in Oakwood Ohio. This also happens to be a church that hosts fundraisers for Planned Parenthood.

I don't think there is any problem with Rose's methodology especially regarding the Anthenaeum. What was he supposed to do, ask Barbara if she really wrote her own books?

Tim said...

Please excuse the typos. The combination of my poor spelling skills and poorer typing skills might require even more patience than my views do.

Father Martin Fox said...

Tim:

I didn't say Mr. Rose got everything wrong. More's the pity.

But too often, as I said, he gives a seminarian's story of terrible things happening to him, but gives no indication that he checked out the story to see if it was true; not even to give those accused of mistreating him a chance to give their account.

What's Michael Rose supposed to do? He's supposed to check with others in the seminary at the same time, and he's supposed to give someone accused of behaving badly a chance to respond to the accusation.

In story after story Mr. Rose tells, if he did these things, he didn't tell us; if he tried and failed to reach someone, he doesn't tell us.

Tim said...

Is he supposed to check with others if Fiand and Milavec, I mean "wolf", really wrote their books? I am talking about what he wrote regarding the Athenaeum. The "where are they now" for other chapters gets worse!

Congrats on all the activity on your site.

Father Martin Fox said...

No Tim -- that wasn't the point of my original criticism of Michael Rose.

David said...

You know, the most poignant comments in this string were the ones which (rightly I believe) indicated that the proper places for men living with a degree of same sex attraction to find the sorts of disinterested friendship that does provide a great help to living chastely are in our parishes, knights of columbus and other local Catholic organizations.

I say poignant because so many of the other comments on this string point out why very few men living with a degre of same sex attraction would feel comfortable taking the risk of approaching men in those organizations for the types of authentic Christian friendship that are so necessary.

It is simply false, reductionist and deterministic, a slur really, to suggest that somehow men living with same sex attraction cannot live chastely or that becuase other have failed to do so in spectacularly public ways it must mean that they all must. Such thinking goes against both what the Church teaches in the Catechism in paragraphs 2357-59 (particularly 58 and 59) and in documents from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Rich Leonardi said...

Fair enough, Fr. I missed your earlier reference to the ratio question.

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon, Father.

Unfortunately I went to a seminary at which there was substantial problems with men being sexually attracted to each other. And this at a seminary where the faculty would summarily throw out anybody with a founded accusation of sexual misconduct against them, gay or straight.

My own solution would be a strict quota of having a minimal number SSA seminarians (no more than 20%) for any diocese or seminary. However, I understand the impetus behind the purported policy to bar all SSA men which is setting the Catholic blogsphere ablaze. It is far from being "a little silly."

FrMichael

Dan Kane said...

Dear Father (and other Fathers who may see this):

I appreciate your well described comments and pray that you will address this comment.

One with SSA who lives chastely can not be confused with a heterosexual who lives in celibate chastity. One (the SSA) sets aside an intrinsically evil act based on a disordered attraction, which is always a sin, and another freely gives up a sacramental good (marriage and martial rights) that mirrors the Trinity for the sake of the Kingdom.

To me, this is a case of apples and lead bricks. There is no comparison between the two spiritually, although externally both the hetero and SSA priest are doing the same thing.

Internally, one is offering a holy sacrifice and another is abstaining from sin.

What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Kane:

I understand (and agree with) your point regarding the respective values of the heterosexual vs same sex attractions. However, priesthood involves more spiritual sacrifices than simply the discipline of celibacy, especially in this day and age when the priesthood is under assault. IMHO any priest, straight or SSA, who faithfully serves as a priest is carrying a cross in imitation of the Master.

FrMichael

joe h said...

I posted this once above but no one seems to want to tackle the obvious issue of legal and child protection issues. Too bad because it shows that many still do not truly care about the children in the Catholic Church.

Let’s take a look at this from a legal perspective.

First, the Church describes homosexual acts as gravely disordered. As such, we admit that those attracted to this grave disorder have a strong potential for abuse of boys.

Second, we have a history of admitting homosexuals who have abused boys and further complicated the issue by hiding and moving them.

Third, we had an independent study done, The Jay Report, which told us over 80% of the abuse was adult male homosexual priests abusing boys between the age of 12-18. This is not a pedophile. In the homosexual community, it is a common attraction called seeking out "twinks". Go to Google and search twinks and you will see millions of hits around the gay community. It is not a rare issue in the homosexual community, but common attraction with a large number of homosexuals. Many have pushed for the legalization of sex with boys, NAMBLA.

Fourth, with the ruling in Oregon that all church assets in the entire dioceses can be seized for abuse settlement, we now know that all our churches, schools, and other assets from each parish are up for grabs.
With all this knowledge, is it not simply logic that says we cannot afford to allow homosexuals into the priesthood or face charges that we knew all this and still put children at risk? Lawyers are drooling at the prospects.

Maybe the government can give the Catholic Church a legal waiver for homosexuals we think might be safe for boys to be around.

Please make the case against this.

Anonymous said...

It was my impression that, as the Catechism (and Pope John Paul II's theology of hte body) describes male and female as being qualities of the soul as well as of the body, the condition of homosexuality sets the complementary-orientation of the body in opposition to that of the soul. In a sense, the homosexual person is 'at war with himself', even without his own awareness, because the inclinations of the spiritual (toward union with a person of the opposite gender) are opposed by the inclinations of the body (toward union with a person of the same gender). In this situation, the role of the priest as mediator of Christ, and representative of the bride of Christ, could possibly be hampered in the many functions that he must perform, because his baseline relationality is different than that of a heterosexual. I do not say that homosexual men or women are incapable of having meaningful relationships. Rather, the manner of relating is, on _some_ level (I do not make this an absolute statement) different. I may arouse the ire of some by saying this, but I would have difficulty going for marriage counseling to a homosexual priest. I do not for a moment assume that he would not have a deep understanding of human relation or spirituality or psychology. However, I do think that there is a deep _spiritual_ and _psychological_ intuition concerning relation, that is tied to one's sexuality. A homosexual priest would have a different sort of intuition, formed by the polarity of his psychological/physical and spiritual inclinations. I do not think that he could in all cases grasp the things that a heterosexual might intuitively grasp. Pause for a moment -- do any of the heterosexuals reading this think for a moment that they grasp the relationality of members of the opposite sex? Much less do I think heterosexuals have an intuition concerning what it is like to be a homosexual member of the same sex. _Far_ less could I imagine having any sort of intuition concerning the psychological or spiritual realm of a homosexual member of the _opposite_ sex. I have many acquaintances, and a few dear friends, who are homosexuals. I find them far more perplexing (and they so find me) then heterosexual members of my own sex or even of the opposite sex.
So, there are two factors here: One is the spiritual effect of the conflict between physiology and spiritual sexual identity, with its possible effects on the priest (who is, of course, an embodied person and not merely a diembodied soul) in his spiritual ministry. The Second is the possible efect of that conflict upon the priest's ability to advise or shepherd the vast majority of those in his parish (which majority will be heterosexual). On these grounds, while I do not profess to have definitive knowledge of this matter, I believe that the decision to exclude homosexuals from the priesthood is one that is not without merit.

Anonymous said...

joe h:

Your points are well-taken. Your argument was made before my diocese's presbyteral council by a Catholic civil lawyer, who made the point that the entire patrimony of the diocese was at-risk by our current practice. Sorry to say the argument didn't pass muster with most of the priests.

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

FrMichael

Anonymous said...

Thanks Fr. Fox, nicely said.
Shane

sexy11 said...
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