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Why I Thank God I Couldn’t Be A Priest
National Catholic Register ^ | December 14, 2005 | SCOTT McDERMOTT

Posted on 12/14/2005 12:05:44 PM PST by NYer

The Vatican’s new document on the ordination of homosexuals brings it all back.

I sat in the mental hospital for five days, reading Trollope, watching the Nagano Olympics, giving God an earful.

Why me, Lord? Why, when all I wanted was to serve God as his priest?

My desire for priesthood was born out of gratitude for my deliverance from the homosexual lifestyle and from my history of depression. Since my conversion to the Catholic faith in 1992, I had functioned for five years without anti-depressants, and I thought I had mastered my same-sex attractions sufficiently to manage as a priest.

My therapist knew I wasn’t ready. I didn’t listen, and unfortunately, the religious community that had accepted me to its novitiate didn’t ask for extensive psychological documentation. Nor did the vocation director probe my struggles with homosexuality and depression in any detail.

There was one obstacle, however. I was expected at the novitiate in January 1998, but first I had to pay off all my debts, as this was an austere community and I would be leaving the world behind. My plan was to write my way out of debt by marketing my fiction.

As my unpublished novels remained unpublished, I grew increasingly hard to live with, and as soon as the January deadline passed, I went into free fall. Like Icarus, the mythological boy who flew to the sun on wings of wax, I had overreached. Flying too high, I crashed into the psychiatric ward, where my dream of priesthood vanished.

In the debate over the recent Vatican instruction on homosexual candidates for priesthood, many writers have already discussed the need for priests to have a healthy masculinity, so that they can act as fathers to their flocks and as husbands to the bride of Christ, the Church. Others have discussed the temptations to which homosexually inclined men may be exposed in the seminary. But the issue is broader than sexual identity.

Many scientific studies have shown that homosexuals have a much higher incidence of clinical depression, suicidal tendencies, and drug and alcohol addiction than the general public. Scholarly articles proving this point are simply too numerous to list here. In fact, the scientific literature is completely unequivocal on this point.

In my own case, I had experienced significant healing in terms of my gender identity, but my other psychological symptoms were sufficient to disqualify me from priesthood. After my collapse, a vocation director from another religious order put it to me kindly but firmly. “The priesthood is a stressful job,” he said.

To hammer this point home, he told me about a young man, a friend of the religious community, who had been killed in a motorcycle accident. At the crash scene, the vocation director had the gruesome task of “finding something to anoint.”

His point was clear. Faced with that type of priestly responsibility, I would have had a panic attack. A few scenes like that, and I would probably have ended up back on the ward, with ample time to read all 47 of Trollope’s novels.

Priests tend to see people at moments of crisis: not only death, but also in their struggles with their own personal demons of addiction, crime, mental illness, and, yes, sexual brokenness (not to mention actual demons). The priest must be strong and healthy or he will be drawn into this maelstrom himself.

This is not to say that people, like me, who struggle with emotional difficulties and same-sex attractions, cannot be great, committed Christians.

Indeed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 2358) teaches that Catholics who experience unwanted same-sex attraction, like those afflicted with any other cross whatsoever, can offer up their sufferings for the good of the Church and the salvation of others. But this does not mean, as the recent Vatican document makes clear, that people with “deep-seated” homosexual attractions are capable of exercising the ministerial priesthood.

In our culture, we have developed the absurd habit of seeing vocation in terms of rights. But “equality before the law” does not mean that everyone is equally capable of fulfilling every role in our society. The priesthood is not an entitlement, it is a calling; God gives some men, and not others, the requisite gifts to live out the priesthood.

Indeed, a moment’s thought should convince anyone that this is true of every vocation, not just priesthood. Someone who panics at the sound of gunfire must not be sent into combat. People who faint at the sight of blood should not become surgeons. Narcoleptics should not be night watchmen. And so forth.

This is not discrimination. It is simple realism. It is God’s deep knowledge of us, calling us to true self-knowledge, the prerequisite of wisdom.

The hue and cry over the instruction on vocations is part and parcel of the “clericalization of the laity” since the Second Vatican Council. Vatican II sought to recognize the proper, transcendent value of the role of lay people. But instead of honoring the irreplaceable call of the laity to sanctify the world, some Catholics have distorted the council’s teaching, in order to justify giving lay people more and more clerical functions.

This process has now advanced to the point that some people think the lay vocation is meaningless, that lay people are somehow worthless unless they can be called to the priesthood.

This is not the way of God’s Kingdom, where the last shall be first, and each calling has the proper dignity assigned to it by God.

For myself, painful as my disappointment was, I soon realized that priesthood was not the only way I could strive to do “something beautiful for God.” I should have known that my real calling was to be a writer, and shortly after I accepted my lay vocation, God gave me the opportunity to publish a book. He rescued me from a vocation to which I was ill-suited, and led me to a fulfilling apostolate in keeping with my natural aptitudes.

Since my collapse, which was really a conversion experience, I have often reflected on one of the lesser-known sayings of Jesus. “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish’ (Luke 14:28-30).”

I wish I had pondered those words before I began my misguided request for priesthood. And I wish that the instruction on vocations with respect to homosexuality had come out sooner. Thank God we have it now. It will be remembered as one of the most compassionate acts of a merciful pontificate.


TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; General Discusssion; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; exgay; exhomosexual; gay; homosexual; homosexualagenda; instruction; ordination; pope; priesthood; vatican
Scott McDermott’s biography,
Charles Carroll of Carrollton:
Faithful Revolutionary, is available
at www.scepterpublishers.org.
1 posted on 12/14/2005 12:05:45 PM PST by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
I wish that the instruction on vocations with respect to homosexuality had come out sooner. Thank God we have it now. It will be remembered as one of the most compassionate acts of a merciful pontificate.


2 posted on 12/14/2005 12:07:35 PM PST by NYer ("Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: NYer

That's brilliant. There is absolutely no compassion in confirming someone in their sin--especially in this most grotesque form of sinful behavior. That's the opposite of compassion. It is the abandonment of a human being to depravity as if to say, "There is no salvation for you. You were born a sinner, so sin and don't repress your desires."


3 posted on 12/14/2005 12:32:17 PM PST by Antoninus (Hillary smiles every time a Freeper trashes Rick Santorum)
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To: NYer

Fantastic article. It reverberates for every Catholic in the search for God's will.

Thank you for posting that.


4 posted on 12/14/2005 12:50:32 PM PST by Rutles4Ever
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To: NYer

What a great article! The directions who kindly directed this honest, and psychologically troubled, man away from a religious vocation showed true compassion.


5 posted on 12/14/2005 1:07:47 PM PST by Tax-chick ("You don't HAVE to be a fat pervert to speak out about eating too much and lack of morals." ~ LG)
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To: Antoninus
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish’ (Luke 14:28-30).”

How many times have I just passed over this saying. But how true, how true. See what gifts you have been given and use THEM.

6 posted on 12/14/2005 1:17:06 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: RobbyS
See what gifts you have been given and use THEM.

In the turbulence of our teen years, we often overlook our natural talents and inabilities, looking more towards fortune and fame. Youth feed off a culture of *bling*, perpetual tans, and duded up cars. Surviving this stage of life can be challenge enough. I was actually relieved when my teen years were over. And I will be doubly relieved next year, when my daughter leaves them behind.

7 posted on 12/14/2005 1:22:01 PM PST by NYer ("Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: NYer

Wonderful article. Saving it for the "Seminary" group!


8 posted on 12/14/2005 1:28:18 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Great article.

But why did it take so long for a Pope to announce the new policy? It was needed decades ago, before the Pink Palace seminaries set up shop in the USA.


9 posted on 12/14/2005 1:33:55 PM PST by Palladin (Merry Christmas! God bless us, every one!)
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To: NYer
Excellent Post!!
10 posted on 12/14/2005 2:29:45 PM PST by rzeznikj at stout (Liberalism: The world's singular leading cause of truth decay...)
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To: Palladin

"But why did it take so long for a Pope to announce the new policy?"

Now that John Paul II has passed on, it seems that it has come to be regarded as extremely bad form to criticize, or even question, his decisions. It will probably be years before people can seriously begin to explore your question.


11 posted on 12/14/2005 4:21:23 PM PST by dsc
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To: dsc; Palladin

Tend to agree with your answe to Palladin. There is still too much emotion stirred up when Pope John Paul II is discussed. There can be no objectivity at this moment in time.

What would you say? Maybe three years?


12 posted on 12/14/2005 5:08:31 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Palladin; Salvation
But why did it take so long for a Pope to announce the new policy? It was needed decades ago, before the Pink Palace seminaries set up shop in the USA.

The policy has always been there. Unfortunately, certain bishops winked, nodded and simply ignored it in order to pursue their own personal agendas. This pope, in his previous position, was privy to the thousands of letters from worldwide catholics complaining about the problem but was unable to act.

In March of this year, on Good Friday, with JPII too ill to lead the Stations of the Cross at the Colisseum, the task fell to Cardinal Ratzinger. The MSM paid it little heed ... until ... the 9th Station - "Jesus Falls for the Third Time". After reading from the Book of Lamentations, (then) Cardinal Ratzinger offered his personal commentary, which follows.

MEDITATION

What can the third fall of Jesus under the Cross say to us? We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us (cf. Mt 8: 25).

Always on the lookout for some fresh new tidbit, the MSM grabbed this commentary and splashed it across their worldwide newspapers.

In the short time since assuming the role of pontiff, Pope Benedict has made short shrift of this task. He began by establishing a team to visit the US Seminaries (still ongoing), and followed that with a fresh 'reminder' in the Instruction published in late November. Some bishops are challenging it. Good! I think they underestimate the power of this pope. In October, he took the bishop that oversees the Franciscans in Assisi to task, removed him from those responsibilities and re-assigned him to one of the smallest dioceses in Italy (only 40,000). The Bishop was replaced by a "like minded" individual to the Holy Father. No doubt he intended this move to serve as a lesson for those who would question, much less challenge, his authority.

Pray for Benedict XVI! The enemy list is growing (not that he cares).

13 posted on 12/14/2005 5:28:54 PM PST by NYer ("Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: Salvation

"What would you say? Maybe three years?"

I really can't guess. I hope it will be that soon.


14 posted on 12/14/2005 5:58:04 PM PST by dsc
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To: NYer; Palladin; Salvation
In October, he took the bishop that oversees the Franciscans in Assisi to task, removed him from those responsibilities and re-assigned him to one of the smallest dioceses in Italy (only 40,000). The Bishop was replaced by a "like minded" individual to the Holy Father.

Just to clarify what you said here, the previous bishop who oversaw the Franciscans in Assisi had tendered his resignation which was accepted by Benedict XVI. The former Secretary of the Congregation of Divine Worship, Abp. Sorrentino, was assigned to the diocese that includes Assisi. His replacement at CDW is a "like-minded individual to the Holy Father."

15 posted on 12/14/2005 6:54:23 PM PST by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: NYer
Pray for Benedict XVI! The enemy list is growing (not that he cares).

I hope they still have that bulletproof Popemobile...

and a taster for his hot chocolate.

But, seriously, I like this new Pope and everything he has done so far.

16 posted on 12/14/2005 6:55:49 PM PST by Palladin (Merry Christmas! God bless us, every one!)
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This is not to say that people, like me, who struggle with emotional difficulties and same-sex attractions, cannot be great, committed Christians.

Indeed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 2358) teaches that Catholics who experience unwanted same-sex attraction, like those afflicted with any other cross whatsoever, can offer up their sufferings for the good of the Church and the salvation of others.


This is something that, I think, can not be repeated enough. If someone is struggling with sin (addiction, homosexuality, rage, etc) you can still be a committed Christian and a committed Catholic. Fight the good fight, offer the sufferings of your struggle for the salvation of the lost. Sacramental confession is there when you fall, use it. That you have fallen does not make you less of a Catholic, giving up and giving into the sin does.
17 posted on 12/14/2005 7:12:33 PM PST by Talking_Mouse (Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just... Thomas Jefferson)
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To: little jeremiah; DirtyHarryY2K

Ping!


18 posted on 12/14/2005 7:29:41 PM PST by NYer ("Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: NYer

Reading the article gave me goosebumps. What a good man, and an honest one. May God bless him.


19 posted on 12/14/2005 8:19:14 PM PST by little jeremiah
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To: dsc; Palladin
"But why did it take so long for a Pope to announce the new policy?"

Now that John Paul II has passed on, it seems that it has come to be regarded as extremely bad form to criticize, or even question, his decisions. It will probably be years before people can seriously begin to explore your question.

*It has taken me three seconds. There WAS a law against this. In 1961. AmChurch queers ignored it.

20 posted on 12/15/2005 2:56:18 AM PST by bornacatholic
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To: bornacatholic
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- VATICAN CONGREGATION RULES MEN WITH HOMOSEXUAL TENDENCIES CANNOT BE ORDAINED

Vatican has confirmed that men with homosexual sexual orientations should not be ordained. The December bulletin of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments contains a letter indicating that men who have homosexual tendencies should not be ordained priests.

Catholic News Service reports that the letter written last May was signed by Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez who retired as the head of the Congregation in October. The letter was in response to a query on the matter from an unidentified bishop. The letter said ordaining such men would be imprudent and "very risky."

While a new document on the matter is set to be released soon, a prominent Vatican document dealing with the issue was released as early as 1961. The 1961 document from the Sacred Congregation for Religious prohibits the admission of homosexuals to the diocesan priesthood and religious orders. The document states: "Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination," because priestly ministry would place such persons in "grave danger".

Earlier this year in the midst of the exploding scandal around sexual abuse, Pope John Paul II's official spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls cited canon law on homosexuality and said, "People with these inclinations just cannot be ordained."

21 posted on 12/15/2005 2:58:07 AM PST by bornacatholic
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To: EdReform; backhoe; Yehuda; Clint N. Suhks; saradippity; stage left; Yakboy; I_Love_My_Husband; ...
Homosexual Agenda Ping.

If you want on/off the ping list let me and little jeremiah know.

Free Republic homosexual agenda keyword search

22 posted on 12/15/2005 4:07:03 AM PST by DirtyHarryY2K (http://soapboxharry.blogspot.com/)
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To: bornacatholic

"It has taken me three seconds. There WAS a law against this. In 1961. AmChurch queers ignored it."

Yes, but when John Paul II was still with us, a lot of us wondered why he let them get away with it. People seem awfully sensitive about such things today.


23 posted on 12/15/2005 6:01:53 AM PST by dsc
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To: dsc; bornacatholic
but when John Paul II was still with us, a lot of us wondered why he let them get away with it.

A while back, I came across an article that offered the best explanation of this. Unfortunately, I forgot to bookmark it. According to the journalist, during the war years, when the communists wanted to destroy someone's credibility, they would accuse him of being a homosexual. JPII, he claimed, upon learning that certain high ranking church leaders were homosexual, dismissed these claims as efforts by others to denigrate them.

24 posted on 12/15/2005 6:27:19 AM PST by NYer ("Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: NYer

"JPII, he claimed, upon learning that certain high ranking church leaders were homosexual, dismissed these claims as efforts by others to denigrate them."

I guess that's plausible, but it is not, ultimately, satisfying.

How many times can you dismiss charges on those grounds without starting to wonder if there's truth to them? Was he so insulated that the information never reached him? And if so, was that not negligence?


25 posted on 12/15/2005 6:31:00 AM PST by dsc
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To: NYer
Many scientific studies have shown that homosexuals have a much higher incidence of clinical depression, suicidal tendencies, and drug and alcohol addiction than the general public.

You mean they're not gay?

26 posted on 12/15/2005 6:33:22 AM PST by PeoplesRepublicOfWashington (How long do we have to pretend that the vast majority of Democrats are patriots?)
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To: NYer
"For myself, painful as my disappointment was, I soon realized that priesthood was not the only way I could strive to do “something beautiful for God.” I should have known that my real calling was to be a writer, and shortly after I accepted my lay vocation, God gave me the opportunity to publish a book. He rescued me from a vocation to which I was ill-suited, and led me to a fulfilling apostolate in keeping with my natural aptitudes."

Well said. I would have been a terrible priest, but I'm a better apologist and lay worship leader. Thanks be to God!
27 posted on 12/15/2005 7:28:49 AM PST by GAB-1955 (being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the Kingdom of Heaven....)
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To: dsc
The reason is that every Bishop has the Divinely-Bestowed authority/power to Bind and Loose and Popes are famously reluctant to interfer in the Jurisdiction of another, preferring to instead Build up their Brother Bishops.

I know I wish things were different but Rome and the Pope takes a long term view. Sadly, pederasty and open queerdom was worse in the old days - google St. Damien + Gomorrah

28 posted on 12/15/2005 2:34:28 PM PST by bornacatholic
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To: NYer

I wonder what Hubbard thinks about this?


29 posted on 05/02/2006 11:49:00 AM PDT by Coleus (I Support Research using the Ethical, Effective and Moral use of stem cells: non-embryonic)
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To: Coleus

He would probably give him a personal tour of his seminary.


30 posted on 05/02/2006 12:53:25 PM PDT by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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