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Author Topic: Behind the Vatican's Proposed Gay Seminarian Ban  (Read 6943 times) Average Rating: 0
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TomS
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« on: September 23, 2005, 02:35:28 PM »

Thursday, Sep. 22, 2005
Behind the Vatican's Proposed Gay Seminarian Ban

A new move to bar celibate gays from the priesthood would signal Pope Benedict's priorities, says TIME Vatican correspondent Jeff Israely
By JEFF ISRAELY/ROME

Among the most severe words issued from the Vatican in recent memory were written by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, just a month before he became Pope Benedict XVI. Tucked into the Good Friday meditations for the Way of the Cross ceremony at the Coliseum was a phrase whose bluntness caught many in Rome that evening off guard: "How much filth there is in the Church," he wrote, "and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him!" Since becoming Pope in April, Benedict has not yet explained the nature of the "filth" to which he referred. Still, most Catholic Church observers are now convinced that Cardinal Ratzinger, who as the head of the Vatican doctrinal office had been apprised of some of the most heinous cases of clerical sex abuse, was referring to the scandals that have shaken the Church in the United States and elsewhere in recent years.

Reports this week that the Vatican is preparing to release a new document barring gays from joining the priesthood may be an indication that the new pope is still making a priority of putting the priestly house in order. Gay priests and others argue that there is no direct link between homosexuality and pedophilia, noting that the majority of offenders are hetereosexuals. But conservative Catholics point out that the vast majority of victims of abusive priests are boys, and complain that the prevalence of gay seminarians is creating an environment that turns heterosexuals away from the priesthood.

There is already a Vatican document in force, the 1961 text "Instruction on the Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders," that appears to explicitly exclude the ordination of homosexuals, even if they are committed to vows of celibacy. If Benedict signs off on this updated and explicit reaffirmation of these standing rules, it would be a sign that he believes they are not being followed. In fact, some U.S. seminaries have operated with a sort of "don't ask/don't tell" approach to the sexual orientation of those entering the priesthood. The Vatican is also set to start a comprehensive review of American seminaries, that will investigate how these questions have been addressed.

Some fear that the new Congregation of Catholic Education document would hurt a Church already facing a shortage of priets, and might even spark a witch hunt of already ordained gay priests (who should not be affected by the text currently under consideration). Others don't expect the document will invoke a blanket ban, and that little would change in current practice. But Benedict's decision so early in his papacy to push through this document, which had languished in John Paul II's final years, would certainly be a clear sign of the new Pope's priorities.
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Victor
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2005, 04:14:13 PM »

Here is some News related to the topic:

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Catholic Church, stung by a sex abuse scandal, is poised to launch a quiet campaign to expel from its seminaries of students suspected of homosexual orientation, sparking protests from the gay community whose members have compared the effort to a "witch hunt".

The protests were prompted by the Vatican's decision to begin at the end of this month what Catholic officials call "apostolic visitation" of US seminaries and church-controlled colleges to make sure their students abide by celibacy rules.

A Vatican-sanctioned commission that counts 117 members is expected to canvas 229 seminaries and interview students about their past sex lives and preferences, according to church officials.

In a statement release through Catholic News Service, US Conference of Catholic Bishops communications secretary Francis Maniscalco said the queries would be justified because the seminary is a place to prepare men for a lifelong commitment to celibacy.

"So anything that affects that commitment, whether it relates to heterosexual behavior or homosexual behavior," he stated, "I think, is appropriate to ask."

Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, who overseas Catholic institutions operating within the US military, is in charge of the probe.

On Friday, the investigators wrapped up a two-day meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, finalizing preparations for the drive that will continue through this academic year.

But the effort drew sharp criticism from the Human Rights Campaign, the leading US organization representing the gay and lesbian community.

"The real debate around this witch hunt isnt between us and the Vatican, its between the Vatican and the truth," HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a sharply-worded statement. "When the church makes gay men a scapegoat for pedophiles, it ignores one problem and creates another. It does nothing to keep children safe or punish criminals."

The group cited a number of authoritative studies that refute the notion that homosexual orientation among men inevitably leads to pedophilia.

It said the belief that homosexuals were particularly attracted to children was completely unsupported by scientific data and that gay men were no more likely to engage in sexual abuse of children than straight men.

One of the studies quoted by the campaign insists that a child runs a 100 times greater risk of being molested by his or her relatives heterosexual partner than by someone who might be identifiable as being homosexual.

"The church is not following its own teachings," argued Harry Knox, director of the HRC Religion and Faith Program. "Jesus told the truth in love. This is contrary to Christs admonition to love our neighbors with the same care we give ourselves."

The seminary sweep comes in the wake of a damaging sex abuse scandal that shook the very foundation of the Catholic Church in the United States.

According to a 2004 report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a total of 10,667 individuals made allegations of child sexual abuse by US Catholic priests between 1950 and 2002. Over 40 percent of all victims were males between the ages of 11 and 14, the report said.

www.catholic.org
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2005, 01:47:40 PM »

The entire state of affairs is sad.

However, if the situation is that there have been numerous cases of abuse and almost an equal number of cover-ups by bishops, then surely the key to resolution is to root out the evil at its cause: the abusers and the bishops who cover for them.

Instead, the Vatican appears to be launching a campaign to rid its seminaries of gay seminarians.  This is wrong on so many different levels, not least of which is the fact that it doesn't actually address the problem.  A man who wishes to be ordained so that he will be in a position of trust, to take advantage of those in his care, men, women, young boys, young girls and teenagers, will try his best to find a way to do so.  Scapegoating gay men, and ones who have chosen to give themselves fully to God by living holy lives, is not the way to go about it.  If anything, it will cause a further problem with the shortage of priests.  I don't know what message is that they're trying to send to those faithful, celibate, holy, gay clergy who have been serving for years, but the message that it sends to young men who are gay, but have chosen a life of celibacy in obediance to God and wish to serve him is "God doesn't want you".

I leave you with this.

Please pray.
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2005, 03:00:54 PM »

However, if the situation is that there have been numerous cases of abuse and almost an equal number of cover-ups by bishops, then surely the key to resolution is to root out the evil at its cause: the abusers and the bishops who cover for them.

I floated an idea on how to deal with the RCC on this webiste a couple of weeks ago.   Lips Sealed

I still stand behind it.  Shocked

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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2005, 03:17:13 PM »

I missed it but I can hazard a guess. Wink
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2005, 04:04:27 PM »

Holy and gay?!! Is this an anti-Pauline and anti-leviticus statement?
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2005, 04:48:31 PM »

No.
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2005, 12:45:08 AM »

I just hope they don't ban priests who are fond of the bottle.

If that happens, then we're all in trouble.
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2005, 12:54:42 AM »

My understanding is that prior to Vatican II, "same sex attraction" or whatever you want to call it, was cited as an impediment to ordination.

On one hand, I can see the logic behind such an impediment, particularly in the Latin system where seminarians would be in all male schools (which back in the day functioned more like religious houses than secular universities with some "religion" thrown in), or later would be living in priories with other men, or in religious houses/monasteries if they decided upon a monastic vocation of some kind.  That could pose some obvious problems.

However, I also know that there have been such men who have taken their vows very seriously, do not hold to an activist "gay rights" type agenda, and have lived good, chaste lives.  Many in Orthodoxy point out that the righteous hieromonk Seraphim of blessed memory (born Eugene Rose) appeared to have been a "homosexual" and expressed as much in his pre-Orthodox days (though it's debatable whether this was a "phase" of some sort, or whether he had more accurately been "bisexual" given some evidence of his having had an intimate relationship with a woman, etc.)

I also have to wonder like others, if such a ban really would get to the root of the problem.  I suspect it would not, since the "gay priest" problem and the larger "child abuse problem" (though somewhat mischaracterized, since alot of the victims were not "children" proper, but adolecent/teenage young men, with their victimizers being gay "chicken hawks" abusing the position of authority and opportunities for access that they had with these youths) are really only symptoms of an even bigger problem - the ruination of the Roman Rite itself and "traditional" notions of virtue, morality, and the priestly calling (and the sacramental life.)

If Rome wanted to help solve the deep mess they're in, they could start by backtracking on the 30+ year old semi-official policy of transforming Catholicism into some ugly, irrelevent form of quasi-liturgical Protestantism/Humanism.  Simply put, the ministry these priests are being trained for lacks substance and seriousness, so of course they will often follow suit.  Undisciplined church = undisciplined clergy.

Unfortunately much in Rome is political, and this will not happen any time soon - and for the same reason another meaningful measure (causing an abundance of episcopal heads to roll) will also not happen, as it ought to.

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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2005, 05:36:06 AM »

Exceptionally well said!
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Victor
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2005, 02:29:20 PM »

I haven't read anything from the Vatican that it is expelling celibate homosexual seminarians. Unless someone can provide a document from the Vatican. I have read that they are looking into this as it relates to "a lifelong commitment to celibacy"... I would not be suprised if these reports about this quiet campaign "to expel from its seminaries of students suspected of homosexual orientation" are nothing more than anti-Catholic attacks.

IF Rome is expelling homosexual seminarians/priests then Augustines observations have merit and I don't think it will solve the problem.

~Victor
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2005, 10:52:03 PM »

 Huh Homo sexuallity is a serious sin - and no homo-sexual is fit for the Priesthood.  Just as no murderer, thief adulturer etc is fit.
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2005, 11:34:55 PM »

Huh Homo sexuallity is a serious sin - and no homo-sexual is fit for the Priesthood. Just as no murderer, thief adulturer etc is fit.

If they do not act on thier feelings than I see nothing wrong with it.  Undecided
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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2005, 11:39:30 PM »

ideally a priest ought to be disppassionate or else approaching that state.  So to have such a passion would not be ideal canidate for ordination. 
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2005, 09:34:05 AM »

"Ohh Ohh that smell! Can't you smell that smell?"

 - Lynyrd Skynyrd
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« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2005, 11:01:45 AM »

If they do not act on thier feelings than I see nothing wrong with it.ÂÂ  Undecided



As a Catholic, I used to agree with that.ÂÂ  The thinking goes like this:ÂÂ  There are a lot of gay priests.ÂÂ  However, most priests (gay and straight) are chaste.ÂÂ  So, it's not big deal if a priest is gay, so long as he is chaste.

Now, however, I'm so sure that it is ok.

The recent scandal of child-seducing priests in the Catholic Church has made me rethink this.ÂÂ  According to what I have read online (http://www.americancatholic.org/News/ClergySexAbuse/ ) , 81% of the victims were boys.ÂÂ  Why boys?ÂÂ  Pedophilia is not the same thing as homosexuality.ÂÂ  Many male pedophiles abuse girls.ÂÂ  Yet, in the recent scandals in the Catholic Church, 81% of the victims of priestly pedophilia were boys.

Upon close inspection, the answer is there.ÂÂ  60% of the victims were over the age of 14.ÂÂ  In other words, 60% of the victims were 15 years of age or older (and 81% were male).ÂÂ  Hence, it seems that in 60% of the cases, it might not be pure pedophilia.ÂÂ  Instead, for those 60% of the victims who were 15 years old or older (and 80% of whom were male), it might just be homosexual adults being attracted to youths of the same sex.

Furthermore, there is a widely rumored (and believed) subculture of gay priests.ÂÂ  They stick with adults, but they are sexually active: sometimes with other priests, sometimes with people outside the clergy.

It might be an impossible situation for gay men to be placed in an mostly-male society and expect them to remain chaste.ÂÂ  Some do remain chaste: God bless them.ÂÂ  But, many have not remained chaste.ÂÂ  And now, the Catholic Church is reeling because of the priest pedophile scandal and the rumors of the gay priest subculture.

Having gay priests is like having alcoholics work in a distillery and expecting them to remain sober.ÂÂ  

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« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2005, 11:06:00 AM »

Huh Homo sexuallity is a serious sin - and no homo-sexual is fit for the Priesthood.  Just as no murderer, thief adulturer etc is fit.

Homosexuality is not a sin.  It is a state of being.  The RC church does not teach that homosexuality is a sin and it is the RC church that we are discussing here.  The RC church and the Orthodox Church both teach that sexual acts between persons of the same sex are sinful, but that is not what we are discussing.  We are discussing homosexuality - the state of having emotional/sexual attraction to persons of the same sex.  Therefore, a celibate homosexual person is no less fit for priesthood than a celibate heterosexual person.
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« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2005, 11:25:11 AM »

The recent scandal of child-seducing priests in the Catholic Church has made me rethink this.  According to what I have read online (http://www.americancatholic.org/News/ClergySexAbuse/ ) , 81% of the victims were boys.  Why boys?  Pedophilia is not the same thing as homosexuality.  Many male pedophiles abuse girls.  Yet, in the recent scandals in the Catholic Church, 81% of the victims of priestly pedophilia were boys.

Upon close inspection, the answer is there.  60% of the victims were over the age of 14.  In other words, 60% of the victims were 15 years of age or older (and 81% were male).  Hence, it seems that in 60% of the cases, it might not be pure pedophilia.  Instead, for those 60% of the victims who were 15 years old or older (and 80% of whom were male), it might just be homosexual adults being attracted to youths of the same sex.

It has been known for some time that there are some professions/roles that are attractive particularly to gay men, for any of a number of reasons.  When there was a witch-hunt mentality in society to hunt out gay men and ridicule them, the priesthood was the place where a man could be unmarried without raising any suspicions.  Positions of care are often attractive to gay men as well, such as counselling and nursing, and yes, priesthood.  Therefore it is not surprising that there is a generally accepted stereotype that many priests are gay.  That does not prevent them from being good priests and holy, celibate men, faithful to their vows and the the teachings of the Church.  However, it does mean that if a large proportion of those priests begin to abuse their positions of trust and those in their care, that it is likely to be males who are abused just as it would be likely that females would be abused if the pool of potential abusers were predominantly heterosexual men.

Further to that, in the RC church, female altar servers are merely permitted, and only if the local Ordinary permits it in his own diocese.  It is made clear that the "norm" for altar servers is male, and therefore, the result is that there is a higher proportion of male altar servers than there is of female altar servers.  So even at the most basic of statistical levels, if, say, 100 altar servers are abused, it is extremely unlikely that there will be a 50/50 split between males and females.

While I can see that trying to maintain a purely heterosexual priesthood can go some way to reducing the number of abuses, I feel that it doesn't target the root cause of the problem (what abouit the heterosexual abuser?) and also it fails to take account of the fact that there are many, many homosexual men who are not abusers.  The focus is entirely wrong and will fail.

Quote
Furthermore, there is a widely rumored (and believed) subculture of gay priests.  They stick with adults, but they are sexually active: sometimes with other priests, sometimes with people outside the clergy.

I'm not Roman Catholic.  I generally don't move in Roman Catholic circles.  However, I can remember five incidences of heterosexual priests being involved in such scandals over the past two or three years that have become public knowledge due to indiscretions.  It isn't a "gay subculture", it's a undisciplined subsulture that affects people, regardless of orientation.

Quote
It might be an impossible situation for gay men to be placed in an mostly-male society and expect them to remain chaste.  Some do remain chaste: God bless them.  But, many have not remained chaste.  And now, the Catholic Church is reeling because of the priest pedophile scandal and the rumors of the gay priest subculture.

That's like saying that it's difficult for a heterosexual priest to be among mostly women and remain chaste.  Why would it be?  Surely that depends on the priest and not his sexual orientation.  That's why I'm saying that the focus should be on the abusers and potential abusers and not any one group.

Quote
Having gay priests is like having alcoholics work in a distillery and expecting them to remain sober.

That's just insulting.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2005, 11:58:02 AM by Michael » Logged
TomS
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« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2005, 12:02:50 PM »

That's just insulting.

No. It is being realistic.
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« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2005, 12:15:27 PM »

No. It is being realistic.

Tom, pedophilia has nothing to do with sexual preference. Pedophiles molest boys and girls. So NO it is not being REALISTIC. Whether you put a homosexual or heterosexual you will not know which will molest a child. Is your stance still the same?

~Victor
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« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2005, 12:23:04 PM »

blah blah blah .... Is your stance still the same?

Yes.
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« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2005, 01:23:49 PM »

I often wonder why people who don't have any intention of reading or engaging with what anyone has to say bother taking part in discussions at all.  Tom S, the fact that you only responded to the last line of my post and ignored the meat of my point and very rudely replaced Victor's valid point with "blah blah blah" shows that you are such a person.

Victor, don't waste your time, my friend.
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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2005, 01:52:17 PM »

It's a problem of homosexuality AND imposed celibacy. BOTH are unnatural and when combined make for a very dangerous combination.

Likewise, I would say that putting a 30 year old heterosexual MALE in charge of a girls dorm at a private high school would also be BAD. Unless the guy, is like - TOTALLY GROSS!   Cheesy
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« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2005, 02:04:11 PM »

<Homosexuality is not a sin>
If you buy into the orientation thing then i am sorry for you.  Unfortunately perversity is now called diversity.  Sodomy is unnatural, indecent and an abomination before Go.  People who fall into this sin need to repent and stop believing the lies put out by the pscyhos in the counselling professions.  I notice in the main stream news that homosexuals that give up this sin are never mentioned - it doesn't fit in with the pervert agenda.
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« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2005, 02:28:25 PM »

<Homosexuality is not a sin>
If you buy into the orientation thing then i am sorry for you.  Unfortunately perversity is now called diversity.  Sodomy is unnatural, indecent and an abomination before Go.  People who fall into this sin need to repent and stop believing the lies put out by the pscyhos in the counselling professions.  I notice in the main stream news that homosexuals that give up this sin are never mentioned - it doesn't fit in with the pervert agenda.

If a person genuinely is attracted to other people of the same sex, physically and emotionally, but sets that aside and remains celibate out a of a genuine desire to follow the teachings of the Church and out of obedience to the will of God, then what exactly is wrong here?  I agree with you that there are homosexual people who remain chatse.  They don't stop being homosexual - they don't stop being attracted to people of the same sex in the same way that celibate heterosexual people don't stop being attracted to people of the opposite sex.  I don;t see the problem here.  I know you say you feel sorry for me but I can;t thank you for your pity.  I genuinely don't understand what the problem is with celibate, chaste, homosexual people.
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« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2005, 03:05:47 PM »

I genuinely don't understand what the problem is with celibate, chaste, homosexual people.

It's about RISK management!

How many people in the above category do you know who are able to remain celibate and homosexual AND CHASTE??? 1%, 2%, 5%? Be realistic.

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« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2005, 03:13:28 PM »

I can't give you a percentage but I can tell you that such people exist in larger numbers than perhaps many people expect, because they generally don't make an issue of their sexual orientation or their feelings or any of that except perhaps with their closer friends and their spiritual directors for support.  While other people are making an issue of it, they are just getting on with their lives.
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« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2005, 07:04:20 PM »


September 27, 2005
At the Vatican, Exceptions Make the Rule

By JOHN L. ALLEN Jr. -- Op-Ed contributor
Rome

THE forthcoming Vatican document on gays in seminaries will unleash
a wrenching debate about Catholicism and homosexuality, but one
thing it is certain not to mean is that in the future there will be
no gays in the priesthood. The continued presence of gays in the
priesthood will be the product not just of difficulties in
enforcement, or the dishonesty of potential candidates, but also of
design.

Although this is a difficult point for many Anglo-Saxons to grasp,
when the Vatican makes statements like "no gays in the priesthood,"
it doesn't actually mean "no gays in the priesthood." It means, "As
a general rule, this is not a good idea, but we all know there will
be exceptions."

Understanding this distinction requires an appreciation of Italian
concepts of law, which hold sway throughout the thought world of the
Vatican. The law, according to such thinking, expresses an ideal. It
describes a perfect state of affairs from which many people will
inevitably fall short. This view is far removed from the typical
Anglo-Saxon approach, which expects the law to dictate what people
actually do.

While Italians grumble about lawlessness, fundamentally they believe
in subjectivity. Anyone who's tried to negotiate the traffic in
Italian cities will appreciate the point. No law, most Italians
believe, can capture the infinite complexity of human situations,
and it's more important for the law to describe a vision of the
ideal community than for it to be rigidly obeyed. Italians have
tough laws, but their enforcement is enormously forgiving. Not for
nothing was their equivalent of the attorney general's office once
known as the Ministry of Justice and Grace.

The British historian Christopher Dawson has described this as
the "erotic" spirit of cultures shaped by Roman Catholicism.
Catholic cultures are based on the passionate quest for spiritual
perfection, Dawson writes, unlike the "bourgeois" culture of the
United States, which, shaped by Protestantism and based on practical
reason, gives priority to economic concerns. As one senior Vatican
official put it to me some time ago, "Law describes the way things
would work if men were angels."

This value system means that while Vatican officials often project a
stern moral image on the public stage, in intimate settings they can
be strikingly patient and understanding. Policymakers in the Vatican
tend not to get as worked up as many Americans by the large numbers
of Catholics in the developed world who flout church regulations on
birth control, for example. It's not that Vatican officials don't
believe in the regulations. Rather, they believe the very nature of
an ideal is that many people will fail to realize it.

Of course, one can debate whether a ban on birth control, or on gays
in seminaries, ought to be the ideal. The point is that although
Vatican officials will never say so out loud, few actually expect
those rules to be upheld in all cases.

Some in the Anglo-Saxon world see this as a form of hypocrisy: the
church apparently issues laws while winking at disobedience. But
Vatican officials view it instead as a realistic concession to
fallen human nature.

On background, some such officials have said that the point of the
forthcoming document is to challenge the conventional wisdom in the
church, which holds that as long as a prospective priest is capable
of celibacy, it doesn't matter whether he's gay or straight. Vatican
policymakers and some American bishops believe that's naïve. In an
all-male environment, they contend, a candidate whose sexual
orientation is toward men faces greater temptations and hence a
greater cause for concern.

That's a debatable proposition, but it does not add up to an
absolute conviction that no gay man should ever be ordained a
priest. Rather, it means that bishops should take a hard look at
such candidates, but in the end, they'll still use their best
judgment.

Those determined to apply this decree in uncompromising fashion will
be able to do so. But while the Catholic priesthood of the future
may include fewer homosexuals - and it will certainly have fewer gay
seminarians and priests willing to speak openly about their
situation - it will not be "gay free."

On the ground, as bishops and seminary teams make decisions, many
will still draw on that classic bit of Italian clerical
casuistry: "If the pope were here, he would understand."

John L. Allen Jr. is the Vatican correspondent for National Catholic
Reporter.


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« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2005, 07:26:48 PM »

Homosexuality is only a drop in the bucket, it is now time for Catholicism to face the fact that they must change their entire view/practice of priestly sexuality. Roman clergy no longer live in cultures where most people are illiterate and the priests are considered the most important, best educated men. Roman clergy no longer live in cultures that will tolerate keeping concubines or what essentially amounts to sex slaves while paying lip service to celibacy. Roman clergy now live in cultures where more free porn, and more types of porn, is available to them, than they could ever look at even if they spent all day, every day doing so. Roman clergy now live in cultures where even in churches the people (including teens and pre-teens) dress in a sexually provocative way. Roman clergy now live in cultures where it's no big deal to sleep with a parishioner, eventually leave the priesthood, and then marry them (there are lots of groups that will comfort you and listen to you endlessly talk about how corrupt the Roman Church is). And I could go on...  simply put, we live in different times, and while I admire Catholicism for her firm stance on social issues, she needs to realise that things must change or the problems the clergy have will only continue to get worse.
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« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2005, 09:48:13 PM »

Homosexuality is only a drop in the bucket,.......she needs to realise that things must change or the problems the clergy have will only continue to get worse.

Yep!
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« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2005, 12:02:25 AM »

Well... before we gather up our stones to cast at the Roman Catholics, perhaps we need to face the fact that there is also a homosexual problem among our Orthodox clergy. There have been a number of scandals recently come to light.. some in Alaska... some in a certain monastery on the east coast... some in the south. Why is it that we believe discussing the dirt in another's closets, somehow makes our our closets appear tidier?  Huh
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« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2005, 06:47:25 AM »

Homosexuality is only a drop in the bucket, it is now time for Catholicism to face the fact that they must change their entire view/practice of priestly sexuality.


I apologize if I misinterpreted your remark.  However, it seems to imply that the times have changed so much that the "entire view / practice of priestly sexuality" needs to be changed in the RC Church.

To that I say, yes and no.

Yes, I think that the Catholic priesthood should (like Orthodoxy) allow the option for either married men or single men to be ordained as parish priests. 

No, I think the "entire view" of priestly sexuality needs to be reinforced, not changed.  The "entire view" is chastity: being in control of our sex drives according to the will of God.  It is not just priestly sexuality; it is the view of all human sexuality that comes from the Gospel.  Chastity is no small task, and I am nowhere near perfect at it, but the task remains because that was the teaching of Christ.  Priests are supposed to be examples of that.  And we need more examples of that in this pornographic time.
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« Reply #32 on: September 28, 2005, 09:53:55 AM »

I'm in favor of  choice to be celibate or married.  I can think of a wonderful RC priest who had to leave after many years as a priest, because of a  relationship with a woman.   In his case, he graduated from HS, then went on his way to seminary.   So, somewhere along the way, he obviously found he wanted a relationship. (this happened in his late 50's).    So, we lost a priest who everyone loved so much, and learned so much from, because he didn't have that choice.    IMO it's a choice that he should have had, and now, he is ashamed.  Because he found someone to be with?   It made headlines, how my heart broke for him, having to feel like that in a town where  he helped so many.

I have often read  Matthew was married.   Or Peter?   If so, how can the RC abide by their law that the Apostles weren't married, and therefore, priests can't be married?

I think there will always be a few that fall through the cracks, ie pedophiles, but I think it is much healthier for the priests to have the choice to be married or not. 

It's nothing new to have  sexual activity in convents and monasteries.  Much of this is coming out in public now, whereas before, they could hide so much.   

I doubt the RCC will ever agree to same sex marriage, so if the priests are ever allowed to  marry, that leaves a gay priest having to be celibate.  I think they are in the dark and over their heads and don't know what to do actually.   They are spooked by the scandals, don't really understand pedophilia, and still think homosexuality and that are just about the same. 

Irene
 

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« Reply #33 on: September 28, 2005, 10:31:24 AM »

What a sad story about your priest friend.  I hope he has found happiness.

I have often read  Matthew was married.   Or Peter?   If so, how can the RC abide by their law that the Apostles weren't married, and therefore, priests can't be married?

That isnlt RC teaching, though.  The RC Church does have married priests.  There are the Roman Catholic priests of the Byzantine Rite who follow the same rules as the Orthodox regarding the matter.  There are also those Anglican priests who left when women were ordained and went to Rome.  They were re-ordained and some of them were and are married.  The RC Church makes it clear that it isn't a matter of doctrine but rather, a matter of discipline.  One wonders why, if it so easily dispensable, it could not be done away with.  It may help the problem.
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« Reply #34 on: September 28, 2005, 11:59:48 AM »

Well, I guess what I was saying is that while beliefs stay the same (e.g., celibacy is better than marriage, homosexuality is a sin, lust is a sin, etc.), our expectations should not. The practical guidelines that priests are supposed to follow were written in times that are so different that we can't even comprehend how it would have been to live like that (on a practical, moment to moment basis). I'm "poor" by today's American standards, but I live like an Emperor by 5th century standards. I also have more access to sinful diversions and am more bombarded with temptations--even without trying to look for these things--than even the most sin-seeking man would have been in the 5th century. I respect priestly celibacy, but I think it's unrealistic to expect it in our culture. Moses once allowed divorce, not because it was good, but because it was better than the alternative and a condescension to the people's weakness was needed. I would say the same thing about the current Catholic situation, she should continue to uphold her beliefs, but must realise that there is no sin in changing practices to meet the challenges of the times and cultures she finds herself in. Early Christian history is just jammed to the brim of the Church making condescensions to people's weaknesses; which can be traced in things like penitential literature, how long people are excommunicated, etc.
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« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2005, 08:56:03 PM »

Well, I guess what I was saying is that while beliefs stay the same (e.g., celibacy is better than marriage, homosexuality is a sin, lust is a sin, etc.), our expectations should not.

The RCC does not teach that celibacy is better than marriage and that homosexuality is a sin. 

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« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2005, 09:06:51 PM »

I remember being taught as an RC that the religous life was the highest calling - even higher than the priesthood. 
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« Reply #37 on: September 29, 2005, 09:41:55 AM »

My experiences with homosexuals (homosexual men in particular) and my reading on the topic lead me to believe the issue of homosexuality itself is not as clear cut as most would make it out, whether it be those who are "gay rights activist" types or those who tend to be far more conservative on the matter.

I've basically concluded that human sexuality in general is a pretty complicated thing, and why this or that person is "gay" is generally more complicated than any single explanation will allow for - whether it be the politically correct darling of an explanation that all homosexuals are "born that way", or on the contrary, that they somehow all/mostly "choose to be that way".

I think there are some who end up "that way" because of licence or hedonism of some variety.  Historically I think there is even some precedent for this view, since there were some cultures where there were no strong taboos against homosexual activity, and you see it was a more common vice.  For example, with the ancient/pagan greeks, there was such a deep seated disrespect of woman and her worthiness to be a true "mate", that it was conceived that the only worthwhile lover would be another man.  Though perhaps in such contexts what one is talking about is more "bisexuality" or something like that than anything else.

I'm also inclined to think that the causes of homosexuality can and often are different (at least proportionately) between males and females.  There is some research to indicate that while certainly women are not "born bisexual", if there are a lack of taboos present, lesbian behaviours and habit have less of a biological (and I think it's fair to say, social) hurdle to overcome in terms of it becoming a part of an individual woman's behaviour.

Whatever the reasons, whether biological/genetic, cultural/upbringing, or a mix... one thing I've come to accept is that most who are "homosexuals" do not choose this - this is to say, they did not make a conscious decision in terms of who they are and are not attracted to, any more than the rest of us do.

Regardless of the reasons, even if they are not chosen by the individual, acting out upon such an attraction is not acceptable.  This even includes if there is a biological/genetic factor involved.

Many conservatives often recoil from admitting any possibility that there may be possible biological contributors to someone "turning out gay" - and in doing so, they inadvertantly actually end up falling into the hands of those "gay rights activist" types.  Why?  Because they end up sharing the same fundamental opinion - that if "being gay" is in any way the result of one's physical make-up, that it is somehow "willed by God" and cannot be opposed.

Of course, such a view forgets one thing - original sin!  While I would expect this kind of religious illiteracy amongst evangelical Protestants and their "pop Christianity", for Orthodox Christians to not acknowledge this fact of the original/ancestral sin is to me, mind blowing.  As far as the Orthodox Church is concerned, with the fall of our first parents, the natural order, and man in particular, was disfigured.  This is where decay and death enter the picture, including all of those unfortunate diseases and weaknesses.  Some people are born prone to being alcoholics - we know this has contributing genetic factors.  Does that make being a drunk "ok"?  Of course not - because there is no salvation in this.  We know that it's "natural" so to speak, for men to become victims of their hormones (particularly in the zenith of their health, like in youth) and if not fettered by virtue, burn to "sleep" with every woman in sight.  Well, that's "natural" hence, allowed, right?  Of course not.

All, are consequences of the fall.  Any case of being attracted to those who are not lawful to us (IOW. not your spouse), and the sting which comes in having to fight against this, are the result of the fall.  That includes people who, theoretically, may have in fact been "born gay".

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« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2005, 11:08:39 AM »

Augustine, that is one of the most sensible things that I have read on the subject for some time.

Thank you.
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« Reply #39 on: September 29, 2005, 11:16:22 AM »

I agree. Just a great post.  Smiley
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« Reply #40 on: September 29, 2005, 12:21:55 PM »

I'm glad we can converge like this, Stamfordguy. Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: September 29, 2005, 03:41:31 PM »

I don't think it is fully understood, either, because so many times, I've read/heard people say  they remember feeling a certain way as early as age 4 or 5.   

Irene   
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« Reply #42 on: September 29, 2005, 05:16:50 PM »

Whether they are born or not. They still have a choice. There have been many homosexual priests who are celibate and Love the Lord. So we know that they can say NO to homosexuality. We all pick up our cross.

~Victor
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« Reply #43 on: September 29, 2005, 07:40:15 PM »

I remember being taught as an RC that the religous life was the highest calling - even higher than the priesthood. 

I was a Roman Catholic for over thirty years and I was never taught that religious life was the highest calling.  Regardless, the RC itself does not teach that religious life is the highest calling. 

So once again, the RCC does not teach that celibacy is superior to marriage. 

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« Reply #44 on: September 29, 2005, 08:16:30 PM »

Right I'll listen to Jennifer over the Summa Theologica on what the Catholic Church teaches about religious life. 
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