Skip to comments.Jesuit official protesting expected Vatican ban on gay priests
Posted on 10/01/2005 6:31:29 AM PDT by NYer
NEW YORK -- A top Jesuit official is raising objections about an upcoming Vatican document that's expected to reinforce Roman Catholic teaching that gays are not welcome in the priesthood, while some U.S. leaders of men's religious orders are considering a trip to Rome to express their opposition.
The Rev. Gerald Chojnacki, head of the New York Province of the Society of Jesus, said in a letter to his priests that he was asking bishops to tell Vatican officials who are drafting the policy "of the great harm this will cause many good priests and the Catholic faithful."
Chojnacki wrote in the letter, dated Monday, that he had participated in the funerals of several gay Jesuit clergy over the last few years.
"I find it insulting to demean their memory and their years of service by even hinting that they were unfit for priesthood because of their sexual orientation," he wrote.
Chojnacki said he would be working with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, which represents leaders of religious orders in the United States including the Jesuits, Franciscans and others, and with bishops to fight "for the opportunity of a gay person to say yes to God's call in celibate service of priesthood and chaste religious life."
A priest who supports the protest provided the letter to The Associated Press. A spokesman for the New York province did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
The New York Times reported Friday that the Rome trip was mentioned in an internal memo to leaders of religious orders sent this week by the Conference of Major Superiors. The Rev. Paul Lininger, executive director of the conference, confirmed to The Associated Press that a memo was sent, but would not discuss its contents and said no trip was imminent.
The Rev. Alfred Naucke, of the California Jesuit Province, said he saw the memo and it stated that the idea of going to Rome was "under consideration" pending more information on what the Vatican document will say. Naucke said a trip appeared "more likely than not."
A Vatican official said last week that the upcoming "instruction" from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education will reaffirm the church's belief that homosexuals should not be ordained.
In recent decades, Vatican officials have stated several times that gays should not become priests because their sexual orientation is "intrinsically disordered" and makes them unsuitable for ministry. A Vatican-directed evaluation of all 229 U.S. seminaries is underway, and is looking for "evidence of homosexuality" in the schools among other issues, such as whether their instruction keeps with church teaching.
The evaluation was organized in response to the clergy sex abuse crisis that has plagued the church since 2002.
Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, who is coordinating the seminary visits, said in a statement Friday that homosexuality was a concern in the evaluation because "it is one of the issues of our times."
"Within this cultural environment, there can develop, even among men preparing for the priesthood, an ambiguity both about the Church's teaching with regard to homosexuality and even whether some homosexual activity could be compatible with celibacy," said O'Brien, who leads the Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington.
O'Brien had previously said gays should not be ordained, but stressed Friday that he said he was expressing his own views, not those of the Vatican.
Religious orders are the most independent bodies in the church, with their own governance and election of leaders, although Vatican officials sometimes intervene to impose discipline.
David Gibson, a former Vatican radio newsman and author of "The Coming Catholic Church," said the gay issue is especially important to the religious orders because the number of homosexual priests is believed to be higher in these communities than in the rest of the Church.
About one-third of the 42,500 U.S. priests are members of religious orders. Estimates of the numbers of gays in the entire priesthood vary from around 25 percent to 50 percent, according to a review of research on the issue by the Rev. Donald Cozzens, author of "The Changing Face of the Priesthood."
"The reason you're seeing this happen is because this is the time -- before the document comes out -- that people can make their case," Gibson said. "These orders know that after the document comes out they'll be accused of dissent."
Defrock him and move on.
Why? They could have all died of AIDS.
It really lhas nothing to do with Vatican II, but you never know....
Temptation does not equal sin.
Deliberate lust-fantasizing is a sin.
"Homosexual," and even moreso, "gay," has come to mean everything from soup to nuts -- a thought; an attitude; an identification; a pattern of fantasy; a social milieu; an obsessive preoccupation; a political-social movement; a fully-elaborated moral heresy; a style of clothing, coiffure and cuisine; an act of aberrant intercourse; or rather, acts so sad and pathetic they're not even "like" intercourse, not by the faintest analogy ---
I wish I could cleanse the language itself, restore words to their right meaning. Sin. Virtue. Lust. Love. Affection. Friendship. Marriage. Family. God.
And gay would mean carefree again.
Or is even our language lost forever?
What percentage of priests have a homosexual orientation?
Nobody knows, with any degree of accuracy.
Any discussion of the role of homosexual orientation in the priesthood -- in fact any discussion of clergy abuse itself -- is hampered by a lack of hard, reliable data.
Some estimates of the percentage of current priests with a homosexual orientation:
Analysis of the estimates of others: According to Amanda Ripley of Time Magazine, estimates range from 15% to 50%. 3
According to Bill Blakemore of ABC News, "...nobody knows what percentage of the American priesthood is gay; estimates range from less than 10% to more than 30%." 4
Personal estimates: Richard Sipe, a psychotherapist and former priest, has studied celibacy, chastity, and sexuality in the priesthood for four decades. He has authored three books on the topic. He once estimated that 30% of the priesthood is homosexually oriented. 5 Elsewhere, he is quoted as estimating that between 25% and 45% of American priests are homosexual in orientation. 6 He told the Boston Globe: "If they were to eliminate all those who were homosexually oriented, the number would be so staggering that it would be like an atomic bomb; it would do the same damage to the church's operation...It would mean the resignation of at least a third of the bishops of the world. And it's very much against the tradition of the church; many saints had a gay orientation, and many popes had gay orientations. Discriminating against orientation is not going to solve the problem."
Sister Maryanne Walsh, spokesperson for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that it would it be difficult to find evidence to support these Sipe's estimates of the percentage of gay men in the priesthood. She feels that it is also irrelevant. She said: "Theres no real purpose in saying whether someone is homosexual or heterosexual. The issue is whether they can make a commitment [to chastity]." 6
Bishop Jerome Listecki is an auxiliary bishop in Chicago. He estimates that "perhaps more than 10%" of priests have a homosexual orientation." (Emphasis ours). 5
Father Donald Cozzens, an author, psychologist, and Catholic seminary president says that there is such a high percentage of gay priests in the church that he is concerned that the priesthood is or is becoming a gay profession. 5 In his book, "The Changing Face of the Priesthood," -- published in the year 2000 -- he estimates that 50% of Roman Catholic priests have a homosexual orientation.
A NBC report on chastity and the clergy found that "anywhere from 23 percent to 58 percent" of the Catholic clergy have a homosexual orientation. 7
Author and sociologist James G. Wolfe estimated that 48.5% of priests were gay. 8
Actual surveys: In the Fall of 1999, the Kansas City Star sent a questionnaire to 3,000 priests in the U.S. 73% did not reply. The low response rate could be anticipated. One would expect homosexuals and bisexuals to be reluctant to respond to the questionnaire since it deals with such a sensitive issue, and originated from a newspaper. Homosexual and bisexual priests would probably be less likely to reply to the survey. Among the 801 priests who did reply: 75% said they had a heterosexual orientation;
5% bisexual. 9
During 1990, Rev. Thomas Crangle, a Franciscan priest in Passaic, N.J., mailed a survey to 500 randomly selected priests. Of the 398 responses, about 45% said that they were gay. 10
Conclusion: If we assume that all of the estimates are of equal validity, then about 33% of priests have a homosexual orientation -- about one in three.
Let me clarify my point further. I do think the temptation to have homosexual sex is in and of itself a sin MOST of the time. I would exclude cases where the abnormality developed due to trauma such as childhood sexual abuse, though even that problem would disqualify a person to be a Church leader.
I say that because I think more times than not homosexual desire developed one sinful step at a time. As described in Romans, it is frequently the end result of a progression in deviant, sinful behavior and thoughts.
Sometimes there are factors which are not sin involved, mixed in with sinful factors. So it gets very complicated.
No matter what, it's a tragic thing. True Christian love means we can only direct them to repentance and to therapy if need be for the cases that go beyond sin. Anything else ignores the truth and their true need. That's not love.
Imagine if a priest had desires to rape. Or desires for violent sex even if it were not by force. What if he craved pornography? In and of itself, a person might want to excuse that one. But the disorder of craving pornography says some other things. It says that you have had some previous exposure to pornography (sin!). And you have thus developed a problem with the issue. I think that disqualifies a person as well.
As you said so well, all of this would be easier to talk about if everyone stuck to the original meanings of words.
I have a theory (just that) on other factors that have turned folks away from God. When the calf is fat, people feed freely and forget God. When drought and famine arrive, they immediately turn eyes heavenward to plead for God's mercy. Recall that proud generation that served God and country during WWII. These young men were coming off the great Recession. When they returned, they were grateful to God and accompanied their families to church on Sunday, as proud Americans and catholics. We are their progeny. Our parents wanted the best for us. How many young men from our generation went off to serve in VietNam and never returned. And those that did, were never given the proper honor they deserved.
I mention all this because it reminds me of an old expression. There is the generation that builds up the fortune and the next one that spends it. Sadly, many from our generation did just that. They have enacted so many laws and grown government to the point of dependency. Rare is the individual who prays to God when the government is doling out. After a while, people simply expect the government to take care of them - not God.
I can't wait until this Pope puts the hammer down on these Rogue Bishops and priests who have descrated the Catholic Church and Religion. This house cleaning and purge will cause the ranks of the priesthoos to begin to swell.
Some of these bishops were intentionally planted by Archbishop Jadot. There are two, right here in NY, who have employed a slash and burn policy of shutting down parishes, while packing their seminaries with homosexuals. As a result, the number of priests has aged and there are few new recruits. Solution? Grow lay ministers. These lay people feel quite emboldened by their new 'powers'. Mercifully, I have a refuge in the Maronite Catholic Church, with one very solid and orthodox priest. His greatest frustration is getting parishioners to attend liturgy. We're working on it :-).
I'll step down from my soapbox now. Thanks for your input and feedback.
Thanks for posting those links Salvation!
You're welcome! You know me!
I think you're right. Another thing that few people recall was that there was, among a certain group of our generation, a sort of nostalgia for the socialist/communist wave of the 1930s. I went to one of NYC's specialized high schools, and most of my classmates were the children of people who had either been flat-out Communists or at least what was known as "comsymps" during the 1930's-40's. They had to duck and run during the anti-Communist 1950's, but in the meantime, a lot of them had gone on to become quite successful in the evil capitalist world, particularly in the entertainment industry, law and broadcasting; they had, of course, abandoned their revolutionary purity, but they still talked a good game, and their kids were listening.
The chaos of the 1960's, stimulated by them and others their age and carried out by their children and other people my age, was the fulfillment of their fantasies.
And all these many years later, we are still living with this. We have an "intellectual class" that inhabits not only the universities but the media and the legal field and has nothing but hatred for the US, the West in general, and Christianity in particular.
Somewhere along the line, they got into the Church - partly through the vanity of those who wanted to consider themselves hip and cool, but possibly also through Gramsci's strategy of planting communists and radicals in seminaries and grooming them to take over when the time was ripe. Modernists and Communists have the same goals, ultimately, and I think the strange confluence of events, coupled with the sudden relaxation of governance, gave them their opening.
And I have always wondered about Msgr. Jadot, who was responsible for some of the worst appointments in modern history. He obviously had an agenda, but nobody has ever looked at him very closely, and it would be interesting to know more about him.
As for our Pope Benedict XVI, may God grant him many years! (And much courage!)
The chaplain of St. Louis U. (Jesuit-run) law school back in the early 90's, can't recall his name, was very outgoing and nice to students, but VERY effeminate and used to say the Lord's name in vain (GD) like it was nothing.
The Jesuits need to reform. There are some good ones, but there are some very naughty ones as well.
I didn't know you were from NY! I attended catholic elementary schools in Cambria Heights and Richmond Hill, followed by an all girls high school - Sacred Heart Academy - in Hempstead, NY. Chaminade in Mineola, was our 'brother' school.
The chaos of the 1960's, stimulated by them and others their age and carried out by their children and other people my age, was the fulfillment of their fantasies.
If this doesn't make your head spin, nothing will .....
In the late 60s, when the US was growing and prospering, an Italian immigrant friend made a comment that caught me totally off guard. He said: "In your lifetime, you will see the collapse of the US." He then went on to qualify his statement. Educated in Italy during the 50s, middle school students learned Latin and Greek while studying the Roman and Greek Empires. He pointed to the collapse of both and showed how it began with the rise of feminism, followed immediately by the rise of homosexuals to positions of power. Another aspect that led to their collapse, I read later, was the increase of litigation brought on by too many lawyers. This was back in the 60s! Look at where we are right now. His comment is near prophetic.
VatII didn't cause this, although it weaked Church discipline and even doctrine to the point that there was no effective way of opposing and controlling the bizarre currents that swept into the Church from the secular world. I think BXVI is trying to reconstruct the Church as the bulwark and barrier against the insane and destructive fads and even politically imposed policies of the modern world.
Brilliant commentary and absolutely correct! Thank you for posting it.
I dunno. I think Origen may have had it right.
I think there must've been something in the felt banners that went up before the rails came down. Maybe a something psychedelic.
On my first post I said that temptation is not a sin, and on my second post I said that in the case of homosexuality it was a sin much of the time.
In my first post, I was referring to the difference between temptation and the step beyond -- desire. I won't go into that again.
In my second post, I meant to point out that in certain cases I think temptation can be a sin. If you lead yourself into the temptation through sinful thoughts and deeds, if you make the conscious choice to expose yourself to it, then the temptation is something you led yourself into. That's a sin too. Some temptations that are very abnormal are ones that develop over a long period of time -- wrong thoughts and wrong deeds lead to increasing temptations. At that point, the temptation becomes part of your sin. You might need help to break the addiction, or cycle, or whatever, but it is something you did to yourself with a multitude of sinful choices.
A person could argue the difference between sin and the consequences of sin, but I'm just explaining what I meant in my previous post. I got to thinking about it later and thought maybe I was inconsistent or unclear.
In the case of abuse or something it gets more complicated. But being a victim is only so much of an excuse. Even then the desire escalates with sinful acts, so the degree of temptation could be part of the consequences of sin. I've seen that one myself. It's really sad, but you can't entirely blame the trauma. Not all victims go there.
I suspect St. Ignatius would prefer his order not to be nicknamed the lavender mafia, which I have heard the Jesuits referred to as more than once...
The lavender mafia is NOT the Jesuit Order; it simply controls the Order (at least in the United States).