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September 23, 2005

Comments

al

This looks to be one of them there "teaching moments" for St. Blogs. . . .

BarbaraKB

Greetings!

This is my first time commenting here (I've been "trolling through" for about a year).

Perhaps it's because of this press release from Ignatius Press which many in the press (including me) received on Wednesday?

Vatican Responds to the Sexual Abuse Crisis; Ignatius Press Experts Available for Comment on Vatican Seminary Visitation
9/21/2005 9:00:00 AM

News Advisory:

In response to the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the American Catholic Church, as well as ongoing concerns about the formation of priests, Vatican-appointed teams will inspect 229 seminaries and theology schools in the U.S, from late September 2005 to June 2006. Reports by 117 inspectors will be sent directly to the Vatican in confidential reports.

Just this week came the news that Pope Benedict XVI has approved a new Vatican policy document indicating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained as priests. The new document is in response to a request by the late Pope John Paul II, and will likely be published after an international meeting of bishops in Rome that concludes October 23rd, according to CWNews.com.

Ignatius Press, one of the largest Catholic book publishers and distributors in the U.S., has experts and authors available for media comment on the visitations. Each of the experts has been closely following the situation in American seminaries as well as the related issues of celibacy, homosexuality, and adherence to all Catholic moral teachings..."

More here:

http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=53745

Mark

Doesn't seem like Fessio wants to come down too hard. Looks like he recognzies the difference between men dealing with a certain temptation and the gay subculture - unlike some in St. blogs

Nancy

I'm thinking now of four priest friends, all celibate homosexuals. I'm wondering how they're feeling. I'm sort of afraid to ask.

Jimmy Mac

I, for one, am glad that the good little Courage quislings are squirming. Kiss a** too much and all you get is painfully chapped lips.

frank sales

Nancy,

Maybe they're feeling relief that in the future fewer children will be molested.

Courage Man

Well, at least we only *kiss* it.

Mike L

Nancy,
I hope that your friends can rejoice that they were allowed to follow God's calling and weren't frustrated by Church officials playing God.

And those that can't tell a pediophile for a homosexual are simply to be pittied.

John

I emphatize with persons with SSA. It must be a cross with special burdens. David Morris sounds like a good guy. His point seems to be that since it is theoretically possible that some men with SSA can manage to remain chaste and celibate sexual orientation should not bear on ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood. How can one decide which of these men will faithfully embrace a chaste lifestyle? He does not say. He can't. No one can. Even if he remains chaste and celibate what are the chances that he might overlook others' advocating for acceptance of the gay life style and sexual activity after ordination. We do not and cannot be sure.

Some will cover up and will be ordained. Hopefully, these would be laicized later for getting ordained under false pretenses. The stakes are enormous. The Church cannot take chances.

Zhou

Not wanting to ask the stupidly obvious, but Canon 247, Sec. 1 reads:Students are to be prepared through suitable education to observe the state of celibacy and are to learn to honor it as a special gift of God.

Why not just enforce that, and say that if a seminarian cannot "observe the state of celibacy," (i.e. no sexual activity), then they need to find another line of work.

Canon 277 reads:


§1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.

§2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful.

§3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.

Again, why not just enforce this.

Any cleric having sexual activity with a woman, with a man, with a child, with a sheep, with his right hand, or found spending too much time "studying" erotic materials should just get the boot.

I think focusing on a particular orientation, when the focus should be on celibacy and "perfect and perpetual continence" is misguided and ultimately damaging to the Church. Priests should not be homosexual or heterosexual. They should be "oriented" toward God.

Paul Pfaffenberger

Zhou,

You're my hero :-)

Thanks for the wisdom.

frank sales

Zhou,

"One strike and you're out" is fine, I guess, unless you're the parent of the boy whose life has just been ruined.

Of course not all men with SSA are molesters, but 81% of molesters have SSA.

Marie

I'm sort of afraid to ask how a laywoman acquires so many friends who (a) are priests, (b)disclose to that laywoman that they are sexually attracted to other men, and (c) assure her that they are not currently acting on that attraction. How do those conversations come up? Is reciprocal disclosure required? Is this the sort of topic that priests should be discussing with persons who are not bound by the seal of the confessional or professional codes of therapists?

Zhou

Dear Frank Sales,

I have much sympathy for those parents.
However, I believe it is precisely because there is no enforcement of the existing Canons that these things happens. Priests know that they will not suffer any punishment for their sexual activities and breaking their vows of celibacy.

The dog barks softly and has no teeth.
The shepherds slaughter the sheep.

What is the good of another "rule," when the ones we have are not enforced?

Sparki

Just to clarify, the Apostolic Visitation of U.S. seminaries and houses of priestly formation would have happened in a couple years anyway, even without the scandals. According to my interview just this afternoon with Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, who is on the Visitation team and who used to work at the Vatican in the Congress for Catholic Education, the visitation was moved forward to 2005/6 because of the scandals, but it wasn't ordered because of them.

Also, the visitation process is a close look at EVERYTHING about each seminary/house of formation and how the formation of priests is acheived, not just whom is admitted. They look at the books in the library, they interview the faculty to find out how closely they adhere to teachings from the Holy See, etc. So it's not just looking for causes of the scandal, although it may uncover some.

Such visitations have occurred previously in the U.S. and also in many other countries.

EWTN's description

Herb Ely

For a clue as to how these Vatican inspections will proceed consider an old joke about the two oldest lies in the Army. The first occurs when the Commanding General greets the Inspector General and says "I'm glad to see you." The second happens when the Inspector General says "I'm here to help you."
The institution of Inspector General exists because the Army realizes that commanders sometimes fail to do their jobs - or are corrupt. Looking at seminary education is something that the Vatican should do. I just wish that it would start looking at the performance of some of our Bishops - and not just about doctrine.

frank sales

Zhou,

You may be right. I just don't have the knowledge or expertise to criticize the prudential basis for what is being proposed. My comments are mostly intended to focus the discussion properly: on the welfare of future victims of child abuse, and not on the need for self-actualization of men with SSA. Married men and women can't be priests. And if there are good prudential reasons for excluding men with SSA, then that wouldn't bother me one bit.

Christopher Fotos

His point seems to be that since it is theoretically possible that some men with SSA can manage to remain chaste and celibate sexual orientation should not bear on ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood.

What do you mean, "theoretically?"

m_c_j

Lots of people are saying that a blanket policy of not ordaining homosexual men is overkill. They say that a better policy would be to not ordain men who can't live celibately, but continue to ordain homosexual men who can remain chaste.

Well, my question is, how is that any different than what we have now? For the past 40 years, American seminaries have ordained homosexual men who the rector/bishop believed would be celibate. And the result? An epidemic of homosexual priests preying on teenage boys. And yes, I can tell the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia, and I sure know which one covers adult men sodomizing 14 year olds.

It seems to me that "ordain homosexuals if they are judged to be capable of living celibately" is equivalent to "stand pat, more of the same". We've tried this policy before.

Christopher Fotos

Of course not all men with SSA are molesters, but 81% of molesters have SSA.

Well, young black men as a group commit much higher levels of crime in America, from assault to murder. Should we therefore ban all black people from ordination?

Betty

When a heterosexual man is ordained and embraces celibacy, he is giving up the moral good of intimacy with a wife; when a homosexual is ordained he is not giving up a moral good--he is merely avoiding (assuming he remains celibate) a gravely evil sin he should never indulge in in the first place.... That is the fundamental difference; the priesthood isn't celibacy for celibacy's sake, it is the sacrifice of something good and beautiful and holy for the sake of the kingdom. A chaste homosexual is not sacrificing something good, beautiful or holy...

m_c_j

Well, young black men as a group commit much higher levels of crime in America, from assault to murder. Should we therefore ban all black people from ordination?

That's an invalid comparison, unless there is a rampant epidemic of murders and assaults committed by black priests.

Courage Man

A chaste homosexual is not sacrificing something good, beautiful or holy.

Sure, he is. He is sacrificing marriage as well. He is just as barred from it as a heterosexual priest, who also must "sacrifice" something bad: fornication.

Your point really only parses if either homosexuality erases maleness (flatly not what the Church teaches) or homosexuals are a "third sex" (ditto).

Christopher Fotos

That's an invalid comparison, unless there is a rampant epidemic of murders and assaults committed by black priests.

Sorry, it's just too big a risk to take.

David Morrison

McJ - the problem with your indicting the policy is that it does not consider the numbers of men who were ordained with SSA who have never been anything but good and holy priests. Your indictment also roots itself in something about SSA and appears to absolve or ignore the role bad formation played in forming up these priests to be men who would dishonor their priesthood and not live chastely.

Betty, your comment appears to presuppose that all men who are heterosexual and who become priests would be candidates for marriage or that all priests who live with SSA must never have been interested in marriage. Neither is the case. I know priests who have confided to me that in their case it would have been marriage that would have been the far more difficult vocation, and there are many men (and women) living with SSA who are married and who are good husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.

It is not as simple, clear cut and black and white as you appear to wish it to be.

Kate

Marie,

Priests need friends too. Not just confessors and brother priests, but friends. If it wasn't such a solitary profession, perhaps there would be less burnout.

Jim

I fully agree that seminary ought to be place to weed out those with an inappropriate sense of sexuality....but why stop at sexuality? What about integrity? veracity? spirituality? humility?

Have you seen the products of our seminary system? Have you seen what shows up at a USCCB meeting?

RTM

"I'm sort of afraid to ask how a laywoman acquires so many friends who (a) are priests, (b)disclose to that laywoman that they are sexually attracted to other men, and (c) assure her that they are not currently acting on that attraction. How do those conversations come up? Is reciprocal disclosure required? Is this the sort of topic that priests should be discussing with persons who are not bound by the seal of the confessional or professional codes of therapists?"
Marie, I've been wondering this myself, for months. Seems like at least once a week we're advised of confidences of this sort from that poster.
As for myself, I agree with Zhou way up in the thread, that priests are to project holiness and zeal for doing God's will and spreading the Gospel, not disclose something as utterly irrelevant as what they deem to be the focus of whatever fantasies they might fight off from time to time. That's a tall order (projecting holiness and zeal) and more than most can handle, in my experience.
"How do those conversations come up?" I enjoyed your post. I doubt that those conversations actually occur. And if they do, all parties should cease and desist.

Regina

Jim,
"but why stop at sexuality? What about integrity? veracity? spirituality? humility?"
Those factors are on the agenda. The press has taken an interest in the homosexual aspect only.

Zhou

Dear Betty,

Your comment, "When a heterosexual man is ordained and embraces celibacy, he is giving up the moral good of intimacy with a wife; when a homosexual is ordained he is not giving up a moral good--he is merely avoiding ... a gravely evil sin he should never indulge in in the first place" sounds Thomistic. Is that its origin? I'm not trained in Thomistic thinking, and most of my encounters with it have left me not interested.

Your conclusion also sounds so dreary to me: "the priesthood isn't celibacy for celibacy's sake, it is the sacrifice of something good and beautiful and holy for the sake of the kingdom. A chaste homosexual is not sacrificing something good, beautiful or holy..."

If a person is called to the preisthood, which includes celibacy, rather than called to marriage, how is that a sacrifice? Is it not rather accepting the good gift which God decides to give as he wills to each person?

And is marriage any less of a sacrifice than ordination or religious life? I think not, if you want to look at it in terms of sacrifice.

Having experienced both celibate ministry (not Catholic) and married life, I can tell you that the depth and richness of both states of life lies not in consideration of what is "sacrificed," but in what is gained in living Christ who is our life, in the state to which he calls us.

As Pope Benedict XVI said,

Very early on the Church came to the conviction that to be a priest means to give this testimony to the kingdom of heaven. In this regard, it could fall back analogously to an Old Testament parallel of another nature. Israel marches into the land. Each of the eleven tribes gets its land, its territory. Only the tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe, doesn't get an inheritance; its inheritance is God alone. This means in practical terms that its members live on the cult offerings and not, like the other tribes, from the cultivation of land. The essential point is that they have no property. In Psalm 16 we read, You are my assigned portion; I have drawn you as my lot; God is my land. This figure, that is, the fact that in the Old Testament the priestly tribe is landless and, as it were, lives on God — and thereby also really bears witness to him — was later translated, on the basis of Jesus' words, to this: The land where the priest lives is God.

We have such difficulty understanding this renunciation today because the relationship to marriage and children has clearly shifted. To have to die without children was once synonymous with a useless life: the echoes of my own life die away, and I am completely dead. If I have children, then I continue to live in them; it's a sort of immortality through posterity. For this reason the ultimate condition of life is to have posterity and thereby to remain in the land of the living.

The renunciation of marriage and family is thus to be understood in terms of this vision: I renounce what, humanly speaking, is not only the most normal but also the most important thing. I forego bringing forth further life on the tree of life, and I live in the faith that my land is really God — and so I make it easier for others, also, to believe that there is a kingdom of heaven. I bear witness to Jesus Christ, to the gospel, not only with words, but also with this specific mode of existence, and I place my life in this form at his disposal.

In this sense, celibacy has a christological and an apostolic meaning at the same time. The point is not simply to save time — so I then have a little bit more time at my disposal because I am not a father of a family. That would be too primitive and pragmatic a way to see things. The point is really an existence that stakes everything on God and leaves out precisely the one thing that normally makes a human existence fulfilled with a promising future.
...
The candidate for the priesthood has to recognize the faith as a force in his life, and he must know that he can live celibacy only in faith. Then celibacy can also become again a testimony that says something to people and that also gives them the courage to marry. The two institutions are interconnected. If fidelity in the one is no longer possible, the other no longer exists: one fidelity sustains the other.
...
In both cases the question of a definitive life decision is at the center of one's own personality: Am I already able, let's say at age twenty-five, to arrange my whole life? Is that something appropriate for man at all? Is it possible to see it through and in doing so to grow and mature in a living way — or must I not rather keep myself constantly open for new possibilities? Basically, then, the question is posed thus: Does the possibility of a definitive choice belong in the central sphere of man's existence as an essential component? In deciding his form of life, can he commit himself to a definitive bond? I would say two things. He can do so only if he is really anchored in his faith. Second, only then does he also reach the full form of human love and human maturity. Anything less than monogamous marriage is too little for man.

Marriage and ordination are not in opposition, but merely two paths to the same testimony. Both involve a life of the cross. Both need to be firmly rooted in faith.

And even if you marry, there is no guarantee of children, or grandchildren, or that your children will survive.

In reality, for all of us, the land where we live is God.

That preists (regardless of that fiction called "sexual orientation") would violate their celibacy is no less, or more, a stumbling and sin than for a married person to commit adultery (in flesh or heart), or for a single person to fornicate. In all these cases, we fall short of God's glory.

More from B16's comments on celibacy:

The point is that, in any case, it has to be free. It's even necessary to confirm by an oath before ordination one's free consent and desire. In this sense, I always have a bad feeling when it's said afterward that it was a compulsory celibacy and that it was imposed on us. That goes against one's word given at the beginning. It's very important that in the education of priests we see to it that this oath is taken seriously. This is the first point. The second is that where there is living faith, and in the measure in which a Church lives faith, the strength to do this is also given.

I think that giving up this condition basically improves nothing; rather, it glosses over a crisis of faith. Naturally, it is a tragedy for a Church when many lead a more or less double life. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that has happened. In the late Middle Ages we had a similar situation, which was also one of the factors that caused the Reformation. That is a tragic event indeed that calls for reflection, also for the sake of the people, who also really suffer deeply. But I think that, according to the findings of the last synod of bishops, it is the conviction of the great majority of bishops that the real question is the crisis of faith and that we won't get better and more priests by this "uncoupling" but will only gloss over a crisis of faith and falsely obtain solutions in a superficial way.

All those priests that complain about "compulsory" or "mandatory" celibacy must have forgotten that they vowed that they take this way by their free will, just as in a marriage the two parties vow to remain faithful to each other until death.

It is not a matter of "sexual orientation", which, I think, is a fiction, a recent social and psychological construciton which may well be obsolete in 50 years (as lust knows no limits), but of faithfulness, of living a life of faith, whether in celibate orders or religious life, or in marriage, or in chaste single living.

We need to live Christ, live in Christ.

mark

"And those that can't tell a pediophile for a homosexual are simply to be pittied."

I heard that the the percentage of abuse cases that were pedophilia is less than one percent. Can anyone corroborate that number?

Lawrence King

I don't think this new blanket policy is a good idea.

But I believe it represents either sloth or despair on the part of our pastors -- not a change in Catholic teaching.

Consider the fact that every single bishop in the world knows celibate gay priests. So they don't doubt, in fact, that celibacy is possible for men with SSA.

But in practice it seems they can't think of an enforceable policy that would ban sexually-active gay seminarians and keep the chaste ones. This policy, then, is seen as the best they can think of.

I'm not trying to defend the policy. But I think it's important to not interpret this as denying that gay men can remain chaste. If they believed the latter, they would be defrocking gay men who have already been ordained, and this policy [according to the report on CWN] explicitly does not do that.

Anyway, as I've said before, I think the more important thing is for the laity to accept chaste men with SSA as good Christians. I believe there are many good reasons for a chaste gay man to seek the priesthood, but fleeing from a world of prejudiced lay Catholics is not one of them.

Zhou

Some have asked, "how a laywomon acquires so many friends who (a) are priests, (b)disclose to that laywoman that they are sexually attracted to other men, and (c) assure her that they are not currently acting on that attraction. How do those conversations come up? Is reciprocal disclosure required? Is this the sort of topic that priests should be discussing with persons who are not bound by the seal of the confessional or professional codes of therapists?"

As I've said before, when I came [back] to the Catholic Church in 1998, I met so many openly gay priests that I thought all Catholic priests were gay.

Of course, I live in the San Francisco area. I only need mention that there if a very strong, very public, very warm support the the surrounding gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual, whatever community by the local clergy (not just Catholic clergy!). There have even been cases here of clergy being very bold and open and public about their own sexual desires. It is not a secret. It is a regional cultural matter.

There is also the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley; three Catholic seminaries are part of this union.

It is no secret around here.

Lawrence King

I want to clarify my last post:

.... It seems [the Vatican] can't think of an enforceable policy that would ban sexually-active gay seminarians and keep the chaste ones. This policy, then, is seen as the best they can think of.

I am not saying (as some commenters have) that this logic is valid and a one-size-fits-all policy is the right choice.

Rather, I am saying that the Curia believes it cannot come up with a better policy.

The cause: sloth and despair.

The Vatican has lost confidence in the willingness of bishops and seminary leaders to implement careful and nuanced policies, and confidence in its own ability to make the bishops and seminary leaders do so.

Pas

Mark,

Depends how you define pedophilia. Under 12 ?
81 % of cases identified have been males and most 12 and over. Interesting that since the 70s, the percentage of male victims is even higher than 81 %, closer to 90 % and I've read articles in which lawyers say that 96% of their abuse victim clients are male.

mark

"Depends how you define pedophilia"

I believe it is defined as sex with a prepubescent child. So the victim would be 12 or 13 years of age or less.

SiliconValleySteve

Zhou,

Everything you state about the SF Bay Area is true as far as I can tell. So why doesn't the vatican just clean up these obvious mockeries of celibacy and chastity instead of going after what may be innocent people? A woman I know was mocked as immature in a church leadership program because she supported the church's positions on sexual matters and later expelled for writing about it.

I'm personally much more in tune with the position Amy took a few days ago. As far as priests talking to lay people about their sexual desires, that is a pretty good indication of infantile behavior but certainly in tune with the infantile culture in babylon by the bay and its environs.

j kerr

Zhou,

Perhaps San Francisco is so Sodom like in part because way too many of the Religious there are homosexual sympathizers and apologists. Perhaps several generations of masculine heterosexual Priests would help lead to a more traditional Catholic understanding of sexuality among Catholics.

Christopher Fotos

I don't have any close friendships with priests, and I can imagine subjects and ways of talking about things that are innappropriate and immature. But I don't see why priests shouldn't have close friendships with laity. That's what that kind of conversation is about, if it's not just juvenile exhibitionism, and I don't doubt both kinds of conversations take place. In fact I can guarantee both kinds of conversations are taking place right now, all over the place.

I really don't get why it should per se be out of bounds for an SSA priest to have a close lay friend he could confide in--and I can easily see, and surely many others can, why that kind of conversation could be easier to have with a woman than a man. Could not a straight priest confess (! so to speak) to being attracted to women, confiding this to a close male, lay friend? And this can lead to help or disaster, and that is life.

And anyone should be able to imagine why such a conversation could be easier outside the tribe. There are delicate things about the companies I've worked for that I've discussed with close friends who didn't work there. Come on.

Priests are not gods--I sense some flawed lay image of clericalism--and we can abandon them as some kind of remote fiction or live with them as brothers, yes?

dave

I do not think that anyone can say the majority of the crimes were was committed by homosexual priests, the data is very limited in scope, do you think that MSM (men who have sex with men)in prison are all homosexual, or MSM in the armed forces are all homosexual,
we do know that this was allowed to continue though by the Bishops and the Holy See, maybe the vistitors are visting the wrong institutions. Why are the result of the visitation a secret? The laity is paying for it via the USCCB.

Pas

Here we go again, another person blaming straight priests for the crimes of the gay. Straight men in prison don't have access to women, gay priests are not in prison, they can go to the nearest bathhouse anytime they want. I would like to know how many of these priests caught abusing boys have also admitted have sex with men.

Daniel Nichols

Actually, the real issue is that the priest, acting in the person of Christ, must be Bridegroom to the Church, the Bride of Christ. This presupposes a heterosexual orientation, as the great Catholic principle of "grace builds on nature" suggests.
The place in the Church for those with same-sex attraction would be the monastic and eremetical vocations.
After all, the Church has consigned them to celibate lives; how could it not permit them to pursue this in time-tested and tried ways?
Further if you think of it, the monastic life is about spiritual espousal to Christ. In a certain way, homosexuals may have an advantage in this. C.S. Lewis said that the soul is feminine in relation to God; as women have a certain advantage in the contemplative life, so may homosexuals....
-Daniel Nichols

kathleen reilly

I don't want to know whether my priest, or any priest, has any sexual desires at all for anyONE or anyTHING. It's not my business, and frankly, if he has taken a vow of celibacy, it's not his business either (meaning, he shouldn't be basing any meaningful part of his identity upon it -- the vows he has taken should be more basic to his makeup than any desires he may or may not have). As Camille Paglia (who has a girlfriend) has said, gay people don't have lavender blood running through their veins. Contrary to conventional wisdom, gayness is a lifestyle choice at some level. To insist it's anything greater than that is by definition a sort of obsession with one's own sexual identity that is anathema to a vow of celibacy. To my thinking, the term "chaste homosexual" is an oxymoron, just as "chaste heterosexual" is. I don't want "hetero" OR "homo" priests, I just want priests who don't fornicate and don't molest children. I MEAN, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK???!!!

sorry i find this frustrating and pathetic.

jen

I was wondering if I could get a source for the claim that 81 % of abusers have SSA?

I'm not sure about the whole thing... I am sympathetic to the possibilty that one could have homosexual feelings but also be called to the priesthood and able to live a chaste life; however, it would seem that there must be a way to protect children from those who can't live a chaste life regardless of their tendencies...

dave

Dear pas,

I am simply stately that correlation does not imply causality.

MercyMe

1. I know gay, celibate priests, too. They are great priests and I pray for them in the middle of this storm.
2. Does anyone other than me ponder that this potential action leaves out for punishment men who knew of the crimes perpetuated and sheltered pedophiles? Why talk about banning all potential abusers (which would be all men, come to think of it) and doing nothing to laicize some in the hierarchy who knew and covered up these crimes?
3. Don't all Catholics share a measure of this blame for playing into a culture of silence? Why did we think for decades that sexual abuse shouldn't be reported to the police?
4. We should think long and hard of banning people based on sexuality for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that we lose the gifts homosexuals have to serving the Church. I wouldn't want the Church without the ministry of Henri Nouwen, Mical Judge and others I know who serve Christ heroically.
5. What would such a policy say about our vision of what homosexuals are called to? You can't enjoy a close, loving, life-giving relationship with another (as I have seen in the lives of both gay and lesbian friends) AND you can't offer your life to God's service and the service of God's people. Wht positive vision do we then have to offer the 1-10% of our members who are gay and lesbian? What could you hope for for a gay or lesbian child? How could you help them develop into the people that God wants them to be?

Marie

"I really don't get why it should per se be out of bounds for an SSA priest to have a close lay friend he could confide in--and I can easily see, and surely many others can, why that kind of conversation could be easier to have with a woman than a man."

One such priest? Maybe. Four such priests, all confiding chaste SSA to the same lay friend?
It could be, however, that these priests speak openly from the pulpit about their chaste SSA, which is, in many ways, even worse.

Richard

Hello Steve,

I'm personally much more in tune with the position Amy took a few days ago. As far as priests talking to lay people about their sexual desires, that is a pretty good indication of infantile behavior but certainly in tune with the infantile culture in babylon by the bay and its environs.

Hard to argue with that. Or with Amy.

Nothing at all wrong with priests having close friends. Having them discuss sexual desires with them is something else.

If they're having a serious problem with such issues, it sounds like something to take up with a spiritual director.

mark

"One such priest? Maybe. Four such priests, all confiding chaste SSA to the same lay friend?"

From a previous thread, a comment by the same person:

"Having been 'hit on' by several heterosexual priests"

Are there any statisticians out there that can figure out how many priests she must know for all of this to occur? This is not personal attack, but some pretty serious claims have been made I want to know how much credence I should give to them...

mark

On the other hand, maybe I just lead a sheltered life.

Matt C. Abbott

For those who might not be aware of it, there is a good essay on the subject of homosexual and heterosexual molestation:

http://www.hli.org/homosexuality_not_molestation.pdf


George

I find it unbelievable that otherwise sensible people would consider "fornication" somehow related or congruent with molesting children and adolescents. Sorry, I don't buy it at all. There simply is no link between having sex with adults and desiring or having sex with children and teenagers.

For those of you who think that homesexuality and heterosexuality span the breadth of sexual activity and that only one is normal and holy, let me add a third--masturbation. The latter appears to be quite common among so-called celibate males and perhaps others as well.

So I think the myth of the celibate male is almost entirely false. Some are straight, some are gay, but almost all have lives that involve sex. Just like the rest of us.

P.S. The SSA label is also strange. I thought it was the left who are the PC ones.

George

I find it unbelievable that otherwise sensible people would consider "fornication" somehow related or congruent with molesting children and adolescents. Sorry, I don't buy it at all. There simply is no link between having sex with adults and desiring or having sex with children and teenagers.

For those of you who think that homesexuality and heterosexuality span the breadth of sexual activity and that only one is normal and holy, let me add a third--masturbation. The latter appears to be quite common among so-called celibate males and perhaps others as well.

So I think the myth of the celibate male is almost entirely false. Some are straight, some are gay, but almost all adults have or had lives that involve sex.

P.S. The SSA label is also strange. I thought it was the left who are the PC ones.

Todd

On the positive side, once the fury over this policy dies down, perhaps the Vatican will turn its attention to ejecting all sexual predators from the priesthood.

trezelle

Don't all Catholics share a measure of this blame for playing into a culture of silence? Why did we think for decades that sexual abuse shouldn't be reported to the police

Just blame everybody, that way we don't have to hold anyone accountable for their actions?

Mical Judge

Whether he was a homosexual is highly debated and not at all clear, as I'm sure you know.

the 1-10% of our members who are gay and lesbian

this 10% number is pure propaganda, as I'm sure you know too.


Richard

RTM: "Is this the sort of topic that priests should be discussing with persons who are not bound by the seal of the confessional or professional codes of therapists?"

How different is the above from the situation wherein persons may be expected to discuss various marital dynamics with a celibate who is, in most cases, not a professional therapist?

Regina

This policy, if true, is one of the saddest things I've heard recently. I'm not sure if I'm more dismayed and angered by what it says to the many wonderful gay priests who live out their vocation with love and dedication, or by what it says about the Catholic Church's disdain for anyone who is gay or lesbian. That is not at all in keeping with what I understand to be Church teaching on homosexuality.

As a parent of young children, and a former rape crisis counselor, I am particularly infuriated by those who would use the sexual abuse crisis to justify banning gay priests. That shows an amazing (willful?) misunderstanding of the nature of both homosexuality and sexual abuse.

I am praying fervently that these iniital reports are not true. I hope that my Church will think long and hard before taking such a sad step.

Matt C. Abbott

What concerns me is this: Will those assenting Catholics who are presently taking issue with Rome's decision on the matter ultimately accept the decision with docility, or will they go the way of the dissenter?

Also, Regina, I urge you to take a look at the link I provided in my earlier post.

Nicholas

I'm rather dismayed right now. But I'm not dismayed at the Vatican, the American bishops, or others in the hierarchy of the Church. I'm dismayed at the volume, intensity, and even anger of the debate currently raging in the comboxes of St. Blog's.

It would be wise to wait until the policy document is released before making any analyses or judgements. We've made this mistake before; prior to the promulgation of Humanae vitae, rumors and speculation abounded, people assumed the document would take one position or another, and confessors even gave advice to penitents "based on" a document they had not yet seen. We've seen how the reception of Humanae vitae has played out; I, for one, would not like to see the same thing happen with the upcoming policy document. I do not think that I am making an improper comparison, even though Humanae vitae was a teaching instrument and a document on homosexual priests would be disciplinary.

Nancy

I'm sort of afraid to ask how a laywoman acquires so many friends who (a) are priests, (b)disclose to that laywoman that they are sexually attracted to other men, and (c) assure her that they are not currently acting on that attraction. How do those conversations come up? Is reciprocal disclosure required? Is this the sort of topic that priests should be discussing with persons who are not bound by the seal of the confessional or professional codes of therapists?

Marie, do you have friends at all? Or just acquaintances? You think priests shouldn't have friends?

I have been blessed in my friends, priests and non-priests. You have some kind of problem with that?

Nancy

I doubt that those conversations actually occur.

I think RTM has just called me a liar.

I don't think this is appropriate. RTM has never met me, and does not know my circumstances. If I told the whole story, my statements about my friendships with a number of priests would perhaps be more credible to types like RTM.

On the other hand, people who are determined to think the worst of total strangers will probably not be deterred by information.

David Morrison

Daniel, with all due respect I don't consider that the church has consigned me to a life of celibacy. Rather, as a single Catholic man I seek to live a life of chastity in my singleness which is the same calling, though expressed differently, that I would have if I were married.

Also, yet again I will note it, men and women living with a degree of SSA do often marry and once married make good husbands and wives, fathers and mothers so some degree of same sex attraction does not necessarily and in every case preclude anyone from marriage and it shouldn't from the priesthood either. There may be some very good reasons that any individual does not belong in seminary, but simply refusing to consider someone solely on the basis that he lives with a degree of SSA cannot be squared with the Church's other teachings on this topic.

Marie-Louise

Here in Australia we have had cases of married Anglican (Episcopalian) priests abusing boys and girls, so somehow neither the celibacy nor the homosexuality provide and explanation. I also know a number of chaste homosexual men who live exemplary lives. I think the child sex abuse comes down to abuses of power and authority coupled with the Church's unwillingness to isolate and punish perpetrators thereby giving them a free rein to reoffend again and again. The diocese in which I live is almost bankrupt due to the actions on one priest who has been in jail for a number of years, but only last week was back in court on yet another offence. This man was reported to the bishop, but the only action was to move him to yet another parish where he committed the same despicable acts. He even abused his own nephews. I think greater accountability to the Catholic people would go a long way towards changing this situation without victimising innocent people.

Joe

Some of the conversation here reveals how far the issue has been allowed to be refocused from essentials.

1, SSA is a disorder, so it is not comparable to a heterosexual priest's desire for a woman. Why on earth do we want priests who are suffering from an intrinsic disorder? Why can't we have high standards for a high calling. Ordination is not a "right" or "opportunity," but an honor and a selective one at that.

2. What percentage of the "pedophilia" cases involved bonafide kids, and what number was teenagers? Homosexuality was and *is* the issue with the sexual scandal we have before us. Tough times demand rough calls. We should have compassiona nd respect for those struggling with SSA, but we shouldn't be making them are chiefs and generals. The vatican finally takes a step in the right direction and everyone sounds like the Washington Post editorial page... and we wonder at the state of the Aemrican Church?

HA

I think RTM has just called me a liar...I don't think this is appropriate. RTM has never met me, and does not know my circumstances.

No, RTM has not called you that -- at least not yet. RTM gave an opinion to the effect that your statements on the matter at hand are not credible. Whether that is due to dishonesty, or else faulty memory, or misinterpretation, or distortion (subconscious or otherwise) for any other number of reasons, is another matter altogether. And while RTM might not know you, you have left a very long and accusation-laden paper trail on this site for others to assess your own credibility by.

David Morrison

Joe: 1, SSA is a disorder, so it is not comparable to a heterosexual priest's desire for a woman. Why on earth do we want priests who are suffering from an intrinsic disorder? Why can't we have high standards for a high calling. Ordination is not a "right" or "opportunity," but an honor and a selective one at that.

Maybe because the Roman Catholic Church in its teaching makes a point of not viewing people living with SSA as only their SSA. That is called reductionism and no-less than the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decried it.

The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual" or a "homosexual"

Marie

"RTM: "Is this the sort of topic that priests should be discussing with persons who are not bound by the seal of the confessional or professional codes of therapists?"

How different is the above from the situation wherein persons may be expected to discuss various marital dynamics with a celibate who is, in most cases, not a professional therapist?"

You're completely missing the point, which is that a priest who discusses his sexual life (or lack thereof) with a person not bound by the seal of the confessional or a therapist's code is displaying, at best, an appalling lack of discretion.

HA

What percentage of the "pedophilia" cases involved bonafide kids, and what number was teenagers?

According to the Jay Study, summarized here, "most...were boys aged 11 to 14, representing more than 40 percent of the victims. This goes against the trend in the general U.S. society where the main problem is men abusing girls."

Also, according to other studies, anywhere from a quarter to three-quarters of homosexual men have admitted to being "chicken hawks", i.e. having sex with an adolescent male. In other words, cruising for young boys seems to be an established part of the "gay experience" (as vague a concept as that is). While the percentage of homosexual priests who have acted in this way is presumably somewhat lower than for the overall homosexual population, my hunch (for reasons I could get into) is that the percentage is not inifinitesmal, but even if it is smaller by a another factor of ten, it indicates we are going to have more trouble ahead.

I do not have the numbers of heterosexual men over 30 who have admitted to having sex with adolescent females (much less the smaller number of hetero and homo-sexual adult women having sex with adolescents), and while I suspect the fraction is lower than that for male homosexuals, the fact that there are many more heterosexual men in the world indicates that statutory rape is not an exclusively homosexual problem, and I do not want to leave that impression.

HA

And while RTM might not know you, you have left a very long and accusation-laden paper trail on this site for others to assess your own credibility by.

I should have been more specific: the accusations I was specifically referring to above were accusations that Nancy levelled at others (as opposed to those that others have levelled against her).

Marie

"What would such a policy say about our vision of what homosexuals are called to? You can't enjoy a close, loving, life-giving relationship with another (as I have seen in the lives of both gay and lesbian friends) AND you can't offer your life to God's service and the service of God's people."

Our "vision" of what homosexuals are called to is the same as what everyone is called to -- holiness. A person not called to marriage -- for whatever reason -- can offer his or her life to God's service in many ways other than the priesthood. The priesthood is not some sort of consolation prize for those unable to marry.

Richard

You're completely missing the point, which is that a priest who discusses his sexual life (or lack thereof) with a person not bound by the seal of the confessional or a therapist's code is displaying, at best, an appalling lack of discretion.

Well said.

incessant barking

George:
The term same-sex attraction (SSA) is also new to me. In this instance, I think the label is the opposite of PC because it has the effect of clearly marking homosexual behavior as a disorder. It gives us permission to stop thinking of it as an inherent (indeed, in some circles, even God-given) orientation.

David Morrison

Actually, the term same sex attraction does a couple of helpful things. First, it recognizes that same sex attractions are something one lives with rather than something one is as in the phrase I am gay. The perspective offers a distance which helps keep a person living with a degree of SSA from falling into the trap of reductionism which would seek to see them only through one set of lenses.

Second, the term better permits a recognition that no one experiences same sex attraction to the exact same degree or in exactly the same degree. One of my earliest critiques of the term gay is that the word was being applied in the same way to a man who might experience same sex attractions in an only peripheral or occasional way as well as a man who might experience them in a regular and sustained way when the two men are clearly having different experiences.

Tan2Day

What continues to floor me, and this thread, as so many others, on the topic of priestly formation, is the utter blindness as to the basic issues.

This problem, of whom should be clergy, is NOT NEW. In fact, one only has to look at the very beginnings of Christianity, where the converts were coming out of the Greek culture, where homosexuality, especially with older men, and younger boys, was actually ENCOURAGED. Thus, in the first days of the church, it would be save to assume, that many, many of the new converts had a past that included homosexuality, This can be demonstrated by what Paul wrote in this passage.

{{{{ 1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,nor effeminate, { SSA for those who wonder that that means } nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. }}}}

It would be safe to assume, that they had the very same problems, and after sufficient time, Paul and Timothy, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and with the personal knowledge of whom caused problems in leadership, put forth some very BASIC and PRACTICAL guides to recruitment and qualifications for clergy.

{{{{ 1Ti 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of {church leadership}, he desireth a good work.

2 A { church leader/pastor } then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. }}}}

Simple, practical, biblical, and workable QUALIFICATIONS that a clergyman should have.

Now, could SOME be admitted with those qualities and later on, go bad? Of course, humans fail.

BUT, by seeking out those that have those qualities, and limiting your pool of prospects using the advice of Paul to Timothy, it is certain that the problems would be minimized.

It is in the failure of the church, to LISTEN to her own founders, TRUST in their wisdom, and FOLLOW the instructions that are God breathed into our scriptures, that the entire mess was spawned from

The posters on this blog, are some of the best minds in the Blog world of Catholicism, yet NOT ONE, is even willing to go to the foundational church, see what they learned, and USE the wisdom and inspiration of God, as preserved in His Word to solve things.

How can so many, be so smart, and yet so blind as to what Christian history has shown works and doesn't work? That always stuns me when reading the Catholic blogs.

{ I'm a ex Catholic, Catholic educated, and the only one if my family who returned to trusting that the BIBLE is the all sufficient RULE for ordering one's life and church . }

HA

On the positive side, once the fury over this policy dies down, perhaps the Vatican will turn its attention to ejecting all sexual predators from the priesthood.

It would be wrong to imply that the visitation will not advance the goal of ejecting predators from the priesthood. In the all-male environment of the seminary, it is presumably easier for heterosexuals to get with the chastity program than for self-indentifying gay men. It also stands to reason that if a priest is sexually attracted to any of his parishioners, the recollection that a significant number of his fellow seminarians were getting it on with each other will make it that much harder to resist his own temptation. "Hey, everyone else was doing it-- would it be so bad if I just...?"

The bigger question is whether a Vatican directive on this matter will have a fate any different from that of the many others that are routinely ignored.

al

"but simply refusing to consider someone solely on the basis that he lives with a degree of SSA cannot be squared with the Church's other teachings on this topic."

This is by no means clear, and manifestly, the Vatican apparently thinks otherwise.

Chastity is not "abstinence", it is being properly ordered with respect to the use of the good of human sexuality. The 50 year old man who leers at girls, even though he does not act on those impulses is not practicing the virtue of Chastity, and more than someone who seeks solace in sexuality or has eroticized friendship or approval.

An analogous analysis would be Aquinas on Gluttony and Temperance. Temperance is not just refraining from pigging out, its not eating to little, not eating too delicate or expensive of foods, and the like, because these all go against the virtue of using food and appetite for the purpose they are ordained to, nutrition, and to some extend, conviviality.

Its possible for an anorexic to use food responsibly again, but are they really the best choice, unless they can say without reservation that they are fully recovered, to be a nutritionist?

HA

Tan2Day, your frequent (and trollish) posts thoughout Catholic blogdom indicate that your fidelity to the Bible is selective, though it's gratifying to hear that the rest of your family seem to recognize that.

The explanation of how celibacy came to be a discipline within Roman Catholicism -- complete with Biblical citations -- is available at www.catholicanswers.org, though if the arguments there are not to your liking, you're unlikely to make much headway here. It is at best a tangential issue to the topic at hand. The elders scheming to rape Susannah in the Book of Daniel are just one Biblical indication that the problem of sexual deviancy exists even among the pillars of the community.

michigancatholic

Amen, Zhou. Men in the seminary should not be "cruising" ANYWHERE. They have to be in the seminary for a period of years. It is the seminary's JOB to keep tabs on them and point out any "irregularities" that occur. Irregularities involve any serious tendency to mortal sin--porn, cruising, sexual activity of ANY KIND (esp those who are unnatural and gravely disordered), gambling, excessive drinking, fighting, etc etc. Men given to these kinds of behaviors simply should never be ordained.

Rather, one would expect spiritual, moral and mental growth to occur in the seminary. Wouldn't ya think???

dymphna

Okay. The general consensus on Open Books seems to be that we all hate pedophilia but you still don't want to get rid of known gay priest becasue he might be celibate and you're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until he betrays your trust and molests a boy. If that happens you want the church to expose him and you want the full force of the law to come down on him and you want the diocese to pay for the kid's therapy.

Well, I'm sorry. I guess I'll have to be the skunk at the garden party. This scenario is not good enough for me and it's not good enough for any Catholic with a kid. It's better to prevent childhood trauma than to spend years in therapy trying to deal with it.

Is a man with SSA really and truly mature, and mentally healthy? Does a man with this problem have any business trying to counsel anyone else? Is a priest who confesses his sexual urges to selected parishioners to be trusted? That kind of priest sound more like a boy with a need to show off than an adult man of God.

The priesthood is not a career. It's not a union job down at the plant. It is a divine calling. Only the best, the strongest, the most devout and the most rigorously examned should be ordained.

We need serious, unflinching reform. If some men's feelings are hurt then so be it. They're adults. I'm more worried about the kids. Instead of be sorry for the kids and their families whose lives have been ruined let's try being safe and doing everything that can be done to avoid more scandal in the future.

michigancatholic

We are simply not so desperate for vocations that we need to ordain men who have a seriously grave compulsion like homosexuality, even if they are not sexually active.

Understand--once you ordain a man he is ordained forever, and if he is chaste now, but has this serious compulsion, he can easily change over to it over time as the newness of being ordained subsides and the temptations of living with other men increase.

Therefore, men with long-lasting sexual compulsions, which are gravely disordered, like homosexuality, should not ever be ordained. Period.

To do so is to ask for trouble. And messed up kids. And lawsuits and jail terms. And scandal. And huge outlays of capital which come ultimately from the collection plate.

Common sense. I thought.

Nancy

And while RTM might not know you, you have left a very long and accusation-laden paper trail on this site for others to assess your own credibility by.

I should have been more specific: the accusations I was specifically referring to above were accusations that Nancy levelled at others (as opposed to those that others have levelled against her).

I've never called anyone here a liar. The conversations I referred to did in fact take place. And no one here has the right to say they didn't.

People who don't have good logical arguments often resort to ad hominem.

michigancatholic

Courage man, a homosexual does NOT give up something good by being chaste. Homosexual activity is an objective evil. Period. It is contrary to natural law.

A heterosexual man who marries does so in accord with natural law. This is the big difference. Normal man-woman marriage is a natural occurrence and a sacrament. Male-female married life open to the possibility of children is a vocation.

Get this straight.

michigancatholic

Well, Jim, I agree with you in one regard. The folks who show up at NCCB meetings are a sad lot.

However, if the seminaries are a mess, I can hardly imagine they're very efficient at teaching other Christian virtues: humility, gentleness and prayerfulness and so on. For one thing, the prospective REAL priests are busy fighting off the advancements of the turkeys that need to be booted but have not been booted.

I have no sympathy here. ANY seminarian involved in ANY KIND of sexual behavior needs the boot right in the butt--out. No cruising, no sweeties in the next room, none of it. This is where "one strike and you're out" has to begin.

A seminary should be a place for a Christian lifestyle. Ya think?

HA

I've never called anyone here a liar.

Again, Nancy, no one has yet called you a liar. Read again what I wrote and don't misconstrue or misintepret or distort it -- your repeated instances of doing exactly that should indicate to you why your credibility is suspect to some.

michigancatholic

Well, Pas, I think that's the hidden factor. We don't track "men having sex with men" and rarely are there lawsuits if both are adults.

We simply don't know how many clerics are hooking up with each other, in the seminary or afterwards. It has been reported, and I think well reported, that in some seminaries it's a high number. We don't know how many have ruined spiritual lives from living in this kind of moral disaster zone. A ruined spiritual life is the ultimate consequence--no question whatsoever.

I would hazard a guess that the number who get little kids and have previous experience with men is very very high. It really shouldn't be something that pops into one's mind as a "good idea" unless there is some perversion in the past with someone who consented before, I would expect. Remember, it's contrary to natural law--ie not the natural end for sexual function and structure, in any case.

There is certainly a lot of immaturity and vice in the priesthood, and this is one explanation as to why that is so. It should certainly not be the case......

Kenjiro  Shoda

This whole issue should be a no-brainer.
Homosexuals should not be admitted to any seminary, nor ordained as priests.
I hope the Pope makes that clear in no uncertain terms. Period.

'nuff said.

MercyMe

1. Perhaps gentleness, prayerfulness and humility should be the starting point for any of the comments here.
2. I have many gay and lesbian friends, none of whom are pedophiles. There is simply no causality in having a homosexual orientation and molesting children. If there was, then schools should not allow any teaching candidates to be homosexual, we should ban then from being crossing guards, we should root them out of civil society.
3. The goodness I see in the lives of my gay and lesbian friends has always put to lie the idea of intrinsic disorder. Instead, I see people playing the hand they were dealt and often creating relationships and families that are good models of Christian life and love.
4. Part of the vitriol around the subject of homosexuality seems to be generational and I might be on the younger curve of posters here. I've grown up knowing "out" friends and family members. I see how their lives are not so different from mine, how their struggles are human struggles, no more and no less. Is there a way to be sexually sinful as a gay or lesbian? Yes. Are there ways to do the same as a heterosexual? Yes. To me and many people in my generation, the shift in perspective on gay people is key. They aren't the alien other, they are our co-workers, friends, cousins, and priests.
5. If the worst case scenario happens and a ban on service based on sexuality is enacted, what affect would this have on the church? How many priests and parishioners would simply walk away? How could we NOT be seen as a discriminatory faith? What would that mean to the witness of the church to human dignity?
6. One reminder, also, of the heterosexual men and women caught in this scandal or laicized because they were molesting children or having affairs with parishioners.

Todd

"RTM gave an opinion to the effect that your (Nancy's) statements on the matter at hand are not credible."

It must be pointed out that St Blog's commenters as a whole have even less cred. What Nancy experiences here and is not afraid to confront is simply a matter of a vocal minority who cannot get past her arguments, so they resort to personal attacks. Very human, but neither logical nor Christ-like.

The Catholic way to deal with non-credible people who annoy us is to simply ignore them, not make silly insinuations. The fact that people go to great lengths to veer off topic to question Nancy tells us all that she possesses a very uncomfortable degree of credibility. The reaction? She must be fibbing when she says she has priest friends.

Dymphna is right: we need unflinching reform. If some people's feelings are hurt (bishops, curia, the anti_SSA crew) by it, so be it. If the reports on this document are true, it is a simple smokescreen. No more.

What we need is a more intense screening process that has thankfully dropped the percentage of sex predators in the priesthood. Whatever has been done since the mid-70's to 1988 is good. We need to keep it up. Where the Church has failed more recently is in assessing the danger of those creeps who have managed to get ordained who have credible accusations made against them. Some JPII-appointed bishops have failed us. They need to be held accountable.

michigancatholic

Uh, David, what you are advocating is a time bomb. No woman in her right mind should marry a bisexual, ie a homosexual who also has a wife. Bisexuality is, of course, what you are saying is okay.

A woman who does:
1) has an elevated chance of catching AIDS, and any children do too,
2) has an elevated chance of suffering infidelity from a homosexual tryst--which doesn't involve sex but cruising with all the attendant ickiness. Think about that in your laundry, ladies.

You have got to be kidding.


Good post (Sep 24, 2005 6:32:11 AM), Joe.

Flammer

Zhou, my hero:

I think I understand; is it to escape the typical Bay Area scene and the JimmyMac-infiltrators that it really is best to (pun follows) retreat to the Augustinians? Here on the Right Coast it isn't (quite, yet) that open-&-obvious.

michigancatholic

Well, yes, Marie-Louise (Sep 24, 2005 6:13:41 AM). Ostensibly and concretely, that's the problem because we are shocked that this stuff is found out and not ended.

But also there are other dimensions of the problem, such as the tremendous spiritual losses both to the men involved and also to anyone who seeks their everyday aid. People involved in this much mortal sin on any given day can't be relied upon for much of anything past that which the Church guarantees by her own power, frankly. It's a joke.

So, I mean the Church says that while using the proper books and forms a priest can dispense the things that come from the virtues of the Church herself. But anything beyond that, you are basically screwed. One can't give what they don't have. And lives of grave scandal basically remove any individual judgment or holiness like furniture stripper.

Sorry to break peoples' bubbles, but this is the case.

HA

The fact that people go to great lengths to veer off topic to question Nancy tells us all that she possesses a very uncomfortable degree of credibility.

If that's how you measure credibility, it doesn't say much, though given your metric, I shall take it as a sign of my own uncomfortable degree of credibility that you should veer off topic to tilt a lance in my direction.

The fact that Amy, Sandra Miesel and others have gone to great length to knock down the distortions and fallacies issued by bufoons such as Dan Brown should not indicate to anyone that his arguments possess an uncomfortable degree of credibility, or any credibility whatsoever. Just so, the fact that some choose to stand up to baseless accusations and distortions made by others, instead of letting them slide, is a poor indicator of their merit.

michigancatholic

Richard, the love dynamics a priest has involve God and the soul, not pelvic appendages and their functions. That's how it's different. Priests who talk about the recreational activities of their own genitals (and their accompanying emotions) are not to be trusted. How come I'm having to tell people this stuff? How dumb is this? Good grief, how low we have sunk.

David, read it carefully. Love the sinner, but hate the sin. Don't forget half in your rush to get the other half, okay? Telling half truths is a moral problem--I trust you know that.

HA, you said: ....the fact that there are many more heterosexual men in the world indicates that statutory rape is not an exclusively homosexual problem, and I do not want to leave that impression.
BUT, it is the case that gay statutory rapes have been the documented problem with respect to the Catholic Church 2000-2005, is that not so? These are the ones that have appeared in the Jay Study. These are the ones that have appeared in the media and set off this firestorm. These are the ones which have cost billions of dollars, which come from the collection plate. All true and you know it. This is the Church's nightmare now.


HA

True enough, Michigan. But I would hate to see the focus on pedophile priests -- as financially damaging as they have been -- distract from the historically more prevalent sexual crimes of the Decameron variety. It's now gotten to the ridiculous point where some people feel a twinge of relief when they hear of a priest having an affair with a woman. While raping a child is worse than having an affair with an adult, neither is acceptable (that of course goes for laypeople as well as priests).

Marie

"If the worst case scenario happens and a ban on service based on sexuality is enacted, what affect would this have on the church? How many priests and parishioners would simply walk away? How could we NOT be seen as a discriminatory faith? What would that mean to the witness of the church to human dignity?"

The Catholic Church does not ordain women. Many people see us as a "discriminatory faith" for that reason, and they walk away. Just as many of the disciples of Jesus walked away when he began talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood.
If you want to see what happens to a church that rejects teachings that might be viewed as offensive, discriminatory, or exclusionary, you have only to check out the various mainline Protestant denominations.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

I think they should make any Priests who have SSA swear an oath the content of which explicitly denouncing homosexual sex acts & proclaiming homosexuality as a disordered passion.

I think that would at least drive out those liberal Priests who want to "celebrate" their homosexuality and then the Church can deal with orthodox & faithful SSA Priests at leasure. Maybe on a case by case basis.

michigancatholic

MercyMe, you said: The goodness I see in the lives of my gay and lesbian friends has always put to lie the idea of intrinsic disorder. You are calling the providential teaching of the Catholic Church a lie? Based on your own measly personal observations, yet. I'm totally amused.

You are wrong, MM. Believe it or not, looking "nice by your standards" isn't what the Gospel is all about. Probably Satan thinks (about himself) that he looks pretty nice. And pretty righteous too, I expect.

TAN2DAY, I'm certainly not sola scriptura because there are too many problems with it. But you are right about all that being in scripture. It should be a no-brainer for Catholics. This is exactly what the vatican is going to enforce, on the basis of scripture as well as other sources, including historical ones. Don't forget Paul's passages about chastity though. Better not to marry so as to serve God more fully, remember all that from Holy Scripture....

Unchaste sexual behavior is completely incompatible with ordination to the priesthood.

Marie

"I have many gay and lesbian friends, none of whom are pedophiles."

I have many heterosexual friends, none of whom are pedophiles. Does that prove that no heterosexuals are pedophiles? No. Does it prove that heterosexuals are more, or less, likely to be pedophiles than are homosexuals? No. Likewise, your statement above provies nothing.

"There is simply no causality in having a homosexual orientation and molesting children."

Well, the issue on the table is not pedophilia, but rather the molestation of adolescent boys and teenagers. From what I can tell, there is simply no credible research on the question whether homosexual men are more likely that heterosexual men to engage in the sexual abuse of adolescents. (Please don't tell me that most sexual abusers are heterosexual; more than 90% of the male population is heterosexual, so, again that is a meaningless statement that is nevertheless repeated every time this subject comes up anywhere.)

michigancatholic

Yes, HA, that's an as-yet unaddressed problem. That eventually will come back to haunt the Church, I expect, in some highly publicized nasty-as-hell way. We are in the age of reproductive experiments which have nasty social kickbacks. And there are illigitimate kids, you know.

The craziest part of all this is how it affects the Church's mission on earth. It totally screws it. Evangelization, holiness, what??? Our reputation is underground it's so low.

BenYachov,
Yes, I think what you suggest (a public oath of fidelity on this topic) is what the Vatican should do. I think it's all it can do, based on how many gay people are currently in the priesthood, by most accounts. Accompanied with a penalty for breach of the oath--preaching the okayness of gay life, acting it out, etc. And it needs to start at the cardinalatial level in the US and go down from there. I don't have much faith it will happen unless someone really grows some balls in Rome.

And of course, the Vatican does right to stem the tide of new gays coming into the priesthood. The sooner, the better.

Regina

Many thanks to MercyMe! I have no idea how to make sense of this proposed policy in view of the actual lives lived by gay men and lesbians today. I'm saddened by what this action would say about them. I'm also saddened by what it would say about the church itself. It feels like we're giving in to fear and scapegoating.

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