Skip to comments.American overseeing Vatican evaluation of US seminaries says gays should not be ordained
Posted on 09/13/2005 3:03:53 AM PDT by NYer
The American prelate overseeing a sweeping Vatican evaluation of every seminary in the United States told a weekly newspaper that men with "strong homosexual inclinations" should not be enrolled, even if they have remained celibate for years.
Archbishop Edwin O'Brien made the comments to the National Catholic Register newspaper as Roman Catholics await word of a much-anticipated Vatican document on whether homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood. O'Brien and several other U.S. bishops have said they expect that document to be released soon.
"I think anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not to be accepted into a seminary," O'Brien told the independent newspaper. He said that even gays who have been celibate for a decade or more should not be admitted, the Register reported in its Sept. 4-10 edition.
O'Brien, who leads the Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington, declined through an assistant Monday to comment to The Associated Press.
The Vatican ordered the seminary review three years ago in response to the clergy sex abuse crisis to look for anything that contributed to the scandal, which has led to more than 11,000 abuse claims in the last five decades. The evaluation is set to begin later this month and much of the focus is expected to be on sexuality, including what seminarians are taught about maintaining their vow of celibacy.
The Vatican agency overseeing the evaluation - the Congregation for Catholic Education - is also reportedly drawing up guidelines for accepting candidates for the priesthood that could address the question of homosexual seminarians. The church considers gay relationships "intrinsically disordered."
A senior Vatican official had suggested previously that the document might have been shelved, but told The AP on Monday that he cannot rule out that a Vatican office might issue such a document. O'Brien told the Register that, "The Holy See should be coming out with a document about this."
James Hitchcock, an expert in church history at Saint Louis University, said that while it is impossible to know what Pope Benedict XVI has decided regarding the document, the archbishop's comments should not be dismissed as simply one man's view.
"O'Brien is well-connected and probably knows what the thinking in Rome is," Hitchcock said. "Officially, he's not speaking for the Vatican, but he's not speaking out of tune with the Vatican either."
The debate over gays in the priesthood reached a crisis point last year when a study that the U.S. bishops commissioned from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that most of the alleged abuse victims since 1950 were adolescent boys.
The exact number of gay seminarians is not known. Estimates vary dramatically from one-quarter to more than half of all American priest-candidates. However, several Catholic leaders say the gay presence is so large that heterosexual seminarians feel alienated and many have dropped out over the years. Yet, even these leaders concede there is no easy way to enforce a ban on gay priest-candidates, since many do not discover they are homosexual until after they enroll and others may simply hide their sexual orientation from seminary administrators.
As part of the seminary evaluation, 117 bishops and seminary staff will visit 229 campuses over the next year and then present their findings to the Vatican.
Debbie Weill, executive director of DignityUSA, which represents gay and lesbian Catholics, accused bishops of "scapegoating" gays to divert attention from the failure of church leaders to protect children.
"There's a long history in the Catholic Church for centuries of gay priests serving the church well," Weill said. "For the Catholic Church now to suddenly ban gay priests, it would be a very foolish decision and harmful for the church overall."
On the Net:
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: http://www.usccb.org/
Anyone familiar with "this" history?
I have noticed that when someone has not married or is not dating someone, it is naturally assumed that person is gay. It happened in my life at the time I was taking care of a sick parent and I have seen the comments here many times.
SO, since priests were not married or dating, of course he was gay.
One doesn't contact Dignity for information about homosexuality anymore than one contacts the sspx for information about Unity.
I wonder if people still understand the expression "Sound like a broken record" in this day of MP3 and IPOD.
Insert obvious punchline --> HERE <---
I know but what did you expect from Dignity?
I think most "real" Catholics and the Vatican would be more receptive to allowing married clergy than they would to homosexuals in the priesthood, but what do I know.
There is certainly a far greater biblical rationale for married priests than for homosexual ones.
But the traditional perference for celibate clerics goes way back. Even in the Greek Church, married priests are "second class," hardly more empowered than our married deacons. Logic suggests that we increase the number of married deacons. In any case, the role of the clergy in the non-Roman rites should be studied very carefully so that we can see how it works in practice.
The example of the protestant clergy is a cautionary tale.
BTTT for more discussion. I'll be back.
Yes, "long" in Church parlance means "centuries," and that highlights one of the problems of a statement like this: the concept of "homosexuality" as an innate and fairly stable personality trait, and of "gay" as a lifestyle, a community, and a political/social lobby, are of very, very recent origin.
The word (and concept) of "homosexual" as a distinct personality type wasn't invented until 1869, when it appeared in a pamphlet written by Karl-Maria Kertbeny protesting Prussia's anti-sodomy laws. The word "gay" (meaning something other than "carefree") didn't come into vogue until exactlly 100 years later, when you had a defiant, politicized "gay movement."
Thus, until very recently, you really only had two concepts: "sodomite" (a man who had sexual intercourse with men) and -- well, there wasn't a word for it, but you might say "struggler" --- a person who struggled with temptation.
And by the way, "struggler" would not be specific: it could be one who struggled with homosexuality, or the more typical kinds of lust, or alcoholism, or any other moral difficulty. It includes about everybody: even Jesus was "tempted in every way that we are" and is even said to have "suffered" from it (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.)
I guess it could be argued that since we're all strugglers, then men who struggle with homosexual tendencies shouldn't be excluded from consideration as potential priests, any more than any other man who struggles with "commonplace" lust, or alcohol (the Venerable Charles de Foucauld comes to mind on both counts) or any other besetting weakness.
On the other hand, the priesthood is a confraternity of men who often live together in close circumstances: in the seminary, for sure; in the monastery if they are in religious orders; and even in the rectory, where priests may live together in 2's or 3's or more, for years on end. This would present a life-long exposure to temptation, and thus (severe) suffering and (severe) moral risk, for a man who experienced acute emotional and sexual urges toward other men.
In all justice, you don't put a same-sex oriented man in a seminary, or an alcoholic in a brewery, or a carb-addict (like me) in a retail Krispy Kreme.
Not if you love him, REALLY love him, and care for his soul's salvation.
Now the question is, how DOES such a struggling person avoid temptation? In the old days, the "vocational" choices were pretty much confined to "Matrimony or Monastery." But if a same-sex-attracted man wants to live chastely and avoid temptation, what's he gonna do? Should he marry a woman, if he's capable of intercourse with her? (Doesn't seem like a recipe for marital success.) "Monastery" seems to be out, as well.
Hermit? Some have done this. But not eveybody is psychologically cut out to be a hermit. So, what life of reasonable human happiness --- including the friendship and human sollidarity that everyone needs --- is to recommended for our chaste strugglers?
Real question here, looking for real answers.
PING...I believe Emperor Justinian had an opinion on this as well?
It is a good question. One point that comes to mind for me is that there have always been people, heterosexual men and women, who did not have the opportunity to marry, as a practical matter, for a variety of reasons. They have no choice but to be celibate, whether they like it or not.
The same is true for those who are attracted to the same sex.
Homosexual Agenda Ping.
A day late and a dollar short. I don't want to criticize any sincere Catholics, either lay or religious authorities. But homosexuals, whether "practicing" or not, should NEVER be priests.
A good start. Weed them out, and eliminate the ones already there.
Freepmail me AND DirtyHarryY2K if you want on/off this pinglist.
Note: I mean no disrespect for the Catholic Church itself or any sincere Catholics. But those who have infiltrated the church and tried to turn it into a nest of homosexuals have done terrible damage and it needs to be address, preferably with a sledge hammer.
Nope, and I concur with O'Brien.
This is the "new history" visa vis Gumbleton et al
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