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
False. There was no policy reversal; celibate continence was expected --though not universally practiced -- in the West back to the 3rd Century and before. What happened at the Lateran council was that the long-standing discipline was reiterated. (And it was still ignored, especially in northern Europe, even after the council.)
I read an interesting article about gender roles of the priest and how they changed with the change in the Mass after Vatican II. Perhaps this was a factor as well. Maybe the tradtionalists are right? If so, then perhaps the formal allowance to retain the old way from JPII and Benedict was more critical than many had ever thought. Perhaps the solutiuon is there!
That's ridiculous, there's a slew of famous sainted priests who were married. It was hardly a long standing practice. Why don't you read the actual history of it, and the writings of the church leaders at the time?
Ever heard of the Council of Elvira?
Why don't you read the actual history of it, and the writings of the church leaders at the time?
I have. Have you? The Lateran council wasn't inventing anything new; councils generally don't. Read the book "The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy" by Cochini.
Don't believe most of what liberals tell you about Church history; they pick and choose what they want to be true.
Why don't you tell that to Saint Peter's wife.
Are you saying they made up the several scripture references?
This is just more Catholic revisionist history.
"even if they have remained celibate for years"
Yeah, like that's ever happened in the history of the world.
"...gays who have been celibate for a decade or more..."
Let me translate: "Men who suffer from same-sex attraction disorder and are dishonestly claiming to have been celibate for a decade or more..."
"And by the way, "struggler" would not be specific: it could be one who struggled with homosexuality, or the more typical kinds of lust"
What's missing from your equation is that sexual desire for the same sex is not a natural component of the human being as is sexual desire for the opposite sex.
It is a symptom of a mental disorder, and the first best chance of a sufferer to find happiness is to get into treatment.
That's a valid point, and some people who get treatment do get good results, defined as (1) partial or complete relief from obsessive ideation or compulsive behavior, or (2) gaining the ability to abstain from objectively disordered acts, or (3)re-directing the sex drive in such a way that normal marriage is possible.
But some do, and some don't. There are people who have spent years, and a small fortune, trying to find "sexual healing" of this sort, and really and truly, the therapies didn't work for them.
The Church doesn't require treatment. The Church doesn't require "becoming heterosexual." All the Church requires is abstaining from disordered sexual acts, and, of course, striving to grow in holiness.
Please notice that I'm not knocking reparative therapies.e normally. But it't not the answer for everyone, and it's not helpful to insist that it is.
"But it't not the answer for everyone, and it's not helpful to insist that it is."
I called it "the first best chance," which I don't believe implies "the answer for everyone."
As with any human endeavor, there is a possibility of failure. However, I think it should be tried.
And, naturally, I think faith and prayer are a great aid in such treatments. A patient who is without faith is, I think, at a disadvantage in seeking a cure.
As for people who do have faith, seek a cure in good faith, and still fail, I would ask the question, "Is it more important to seek happiness in this life, or to become worthy of the promises of Christ?"
Our Lady told St. Bernadette that she would not be happy in this life, but in the next. Perhaps that should be their model.
You're quite right about this, and I certainly agree. No matter how painful it may be to reject sinful impulses, we are all obliged to do so. And for the rest of our lives. Making frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession and Holy Communion and praying for God's mercy and strength. That's all of us.
My particular question, though, is: say you're a youth or a man struggling with same-sex attraction, tried therapy, it didn't work, but you still intend to try to live by God's law: what's the best way to "map out" the rest of your life?
Marriage is ruled out. So is priesthood. So is the monastery. That leaves: living as a "single" male "in the world" with its constant temptations, which are abnormally persistent and persuasive because of your abnormal condition (you fear this would lead to frequent falls); or being a hermit; or --- what? Maybe being a handyman in a convent? (That would provide some shelter from same-sex opportunities!)
Men friends who are struggling with this have asked me (for some reason) for guidance, and I'm concerned and perplexed. I guess I need to hear some true-life stories of people who are trying to do the right thing, and have not only "survived" but thrived.
Pure bovine excrement. You are woefully ignorant of the topic you are attempting to opine on.
'They say, accordingly, that the blessed Peter, on seeing his wife led to death, rejoiced on account of her call and conveyance home, and called very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, "Remember thou the Lord." Such was the marriage of the blessed and their perfect disposition towards those dearest to them.
Thus also the apostle says, "that he who marries should be as though he married not," and deem his marriage free of inordinate affection, and inseparable from love to the Lord; to which the true husband exhorted his wife to cling on her departure out of this life to the Lord.'
I have read up quite a bit on this topic, your problem is that you are reading revisionist vatican propaganda written after the fact to try to substantiate a practice that was never part of the church.
Christ choose married men to preach the word of God, of the apostles he choose a married apostle to head the church, and most of the original popes were married men.
There is nothing in the bible of Christ asking the apostles to forsake their vows to their wives.
A MAN asked priest to abandon their call to marrige, Christ himself did not, and nor should the church.
The works of Clement of Alexandria were first edited by P. Victorius (Florence,1550). The most complete edition is that of J. Potter, "Clementis Alexandrini opera quae extant omnia" (Oxford, 1715; Venice, 1757), reproduced in Migne, P.G. VIII, IX. (From the newadvent web site).
You're referencing as your source an at best 1550 revision of a book written around 220.
Clement also held gnostics in high esteem.
It's worth noting that he was also considered by some to be a heretic:
The notion that Peter ceased in relations with his wife has not scriptural basis and is merely conjecture:
As I pointed out before, quite accurately, and you once again have publicly demonstrated, you are woefully ignorant of the topic.
"And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have thee sons and daughters in this place." Jeremias 16:1-2
"The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech." Psalm 109:4
"For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it." Matthew 19:12
"Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting. And many that are first, shall be last: and the last shall be first." Matthew 19:27-30
"Then Peter said: Behold, we have left all things, and have followed thee. Who said to them: Amen, I say to you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive much more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting." Luke 18:28-30
"For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that. But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I." 1 Corinthians 7:7-8
"But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your profit: not to cast a snare upon you; but for that which is decent, and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment." 1 Corinthians 7:32-35
"Labour as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No man, being a soldier to God, entangleth himself with secular businesses; that he may please him to whom he hath engaged himself." 2 Timothy 2:3-4
"Where the forerunner Jesus is entered for us, made a high priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech." Hebrews 6:20
"For this Melchisedech was king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him: To whom also Abraham divided the tithes of all: who first indeed by interpretation, is king of justice: and then also king of Salem, that is, king of peace: Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but likened unto the Son of God, continueth a priest for ever." Hebrews 7:1-3
Yes I forgot where Christ calls the apostles in Jeremias and in Psalms.