Skip to comments.Cardinal's words on gay priests surprise scholars
Posted on 05/03/2002 6:38:30 PM PDT by history_matters
Cardinal Anthony M. Bevilacqua's sweeping rejection of gay men becoming priests diverges from mainstream thinking by U.S. Catholic theologians and policymakers, a range of church scholars said in interviews this week.
But his remarks echoed a little-known Vatican decree issued four decades ago that may come into play as church leaders labor toward a national response to the sex-abuse scandal in the church.
Upon his return last week from the cardinals' summit conference in Rome, Cardinal Bevilacqua weighed in on the debate about gays in the priesthood - a hot issue in the scandal - with a categorical pronouncement.
No "homosexually oriented" men, not even chaste ones, are "suitable candidates" for the priesthood, he told a news conference, because heterosexual celibates "are giving up" the good of family and children, while gay celibates give up what the church considers "a moral evil."
With his remarks, and the hard line taken against homosexuals at the archdiocese's St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Cardinal Bevilacqua has put himself in the front rank of church conservatives who staunchly oppose the ordination of gays.
The cardinal's views reflect an antipathy toward homosexuality that is found in the Catholic catechism, but his statements about banning even celibate gay priests surprised most of the 14 Catholic theologians and other experts contacted for comment. Two of the 14 voiced support.
Most said the dominant view among theologians, bishops, seminary officials and other policymakers is that the decisive factor should not be a candidate's sexual orientation but whether he is "acting out" sexually.
"He's the first one I've heard make this particular argument" distinguishing between gay and straight celibacies, said the Rev. John Baldovin, professor of historical and liturgical theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and "contrary to the natural law," while urging tolerance toward gays and saying they are "called to chastity."
But to say homosexual orientation alone disqualifies a person for diocesan priesthood takes church teaching into an area where doctrine is unsettled, several of the theologians said.
Church leaders "weren't willing to admit for the longest time that they had gay people in the priesthood," said Father Baldovin, so "nobody was trying to construct the difference between straight celibacy and gay celibacy."
Cardinal Bevilacqua is a canon lawyer, not a degreed theologian, but he has the last word on this matter in the archdiocese, as any reigning bishop has over a diocese. Unless rules bearing papal authority are imposed - which has not occurred regarding gays in diocesan seminaries - a bishop can interpret scripture and doctrine as he sees fit.
Cardinal Bevilacqua will have no further comment on his statements, archdiocese spokeswoman Catherine Rossi said.
The Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, a theologian at the Catholic University of America in Washington and a consultant to the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference's committee on doctrine, was among the theologians who questioned the cardinal's views.
A gay person "can't give up his orientation," Father Komonchak said. "... That particular application of theology I've never heard before. If it's anywhere in church teaching, I've never seen it."
A Catholic University colleague, theology professor John Grabowski, said he had seen the cardinal's position "argued by a few others, but I must say it's not a common position... . It's an isolated view."
Grabowski said the argument "doesn't work. The church does teach that homosexuality is an objective disorder, but every person has disordered inclinations. That's the human condition. I don't know how you can bar a person from ordination because of that."
The opposite view was voiced by the Rev. Ray Ryland, who teaches theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.
"I have not come across this distinction [on gay celibacy] that the cardinal makes, but I think he's quite right in saying it," Father Ryland said. "As a prudential judgment, I agree that persons of that orientation should not be admitted to the priesthood because of the very grave temptations they face" in seminary and parish life.
The Vatican has taken a similar stance. In 1961, Pope John XXIII issued a decree concerning people entering convents, monasteries and other religious orders. The directive, which remains valid, instructs that "those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty [man-boy love] should be excluded from religious vows and ordination."
Scholars said the decree, developed by the Sacred Congregation for Religious, does not apply to diocesan seminarians. According to Catholic News Service, Vatican officials are considering updating and reissuing the document as part of their internal discussion about whether to impose standards for selection and training of priests.
The matter of gays in the priesthood has emerged as a thorny aspect of the abuse scandal. Some Catholic conservatives, noting that many of the reported molestations have involved priests and older boys, have renewed their complaints about the relatively high number of gay priests.
Gay priests and rights activists have said the cardinal and other conservatives are scapegoating gay priests. Homosexuals, they argue, are no more likely to be pedophiles than anyone else, and no more likely to break their promise of priestly celibacy than heterosexuals.
In his news conference last Friday, Cardinal Bevilacqua said without elaborating that he believed gay priests were at a "much higher" risk of becoming sexually active. "When a heterosexual celibate chooses to become a celibate in the priesthood," the cardinal said, "he's taking on a good - that is, his own desire to become a priest - and he's giving up a very good thing, and that is, a family and children that could follow. That would not be true of a homosexually oriented candidate. He may be choosing the good, but... he's giving up what the church considers an aberration, a moral evil."
The Rev. Donald Cozzens, a onetime Cleveland seminary rector and the author of The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A Reflection on the Priest's Crisis of Soul, said the cardinal's priesthood theology harked back to the tradition of asceticism. But the church, he said, primarily teaches that a person chooses priestly celibacy "because it feels like the path God has ordained for me for spiritual maturity, not as an ascetical practice like giving something up for Lent... . His framing of the issue is creative. It is fairly new to my ears."
The Rev. Richard McBrien, a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame and a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, said Cardinal Bevilacqua's outlook seemed to be based on "a fundamentalistic interpretation of Scripture" that "no one with any serious scholarly credentials in the field of biblical studies" shared.
The cardinal's point of view is "rather fundamentalist," said the Rev. Don Clifford of St. Joseph's University, a longtime professor of dogmatic theology.
Further, the 72-year-old priest said, "many people who had the most positive influence on me, on reflection, were very likely gay... . They presumably were living chaste lives and had tremendous influence on their ministries."
The debate about gays is part of a "long-term discussion" within the church, Father Clifford said, and "I always bet on the Holy Spirit to see how it comes out."
Am I correct in assuming that the phrase was never heard before the Church had to deal with homosexuals?
Purge the seminaries of pederasts, pedophiles, homosexuals and enablers and protectors (liberal or conservative, normal or homosexual). End all experiments in AmChurch heterodoxy and heresy. Restore order. Get pushy parishioners out of positions of governance. Expect, according to Canon Law, priests not "eucharistic ministers" to distribute the Eucharist at Mass. End the narcissistic practice of "communion in the hand" to thwart theft of the Eucharist by satanists. Remove from the priesthood and any position of authority anyone who acts so as to undermine the truth of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Nuke any nervy bishop or archbishop like the Mad Monk of Milwaukee Rembert Weakland at the first instance of willful disobedience. Just for starters. AND stop kowtowing to every fashionable and politically correct trend of the week and of the weak. Anyone who finds actual Catholicism too much of a challenge to their morally flabby attitudes can just get out. There are plenty of less rigorous churches.
Instead of having to put up with lavender priests, lavender bishops, heretical priests, heretical bishops and the enablers of them all, Roman Catholics who actually ARE Catholic have a right to a Church led by leaders who are in communion with the Holy See. The Church is not, thank God, a democracy and it ought not to behave as though the iron rule of 50% + 1 is any trustworthy guide in moral matters.
Though I attended a Catholic Prep School during high school ... I am not Catholic. I belong to the Episcopal Church ... which because it has FALLEN to the liberal agenda in the last thirty years [esp. the last 20 years] ... has almost completely destroyed itself.
This just in: Pope John Paul II has announced that he will retire from the papacy effective upon the convening of a conclave to determine the policy of his successor and the election of his successor. The pope said: "My heart is broken by the condition of Holy Mother the Church in the United States and a few isolated locations elsewhere where notions of "progress" have replaced the truth of Jesus Christ. Twenty years ago, armed with the information that has recently come to light, I would have eagerly embraced the responsibility as universal pastor to remove the offenders from their positions in the Church and find worthy successors to reverse the damage they have done."
"I am, unfortunately old beyond my years and broken by the infirmity of my health. The circumstances require that I lay down the wonderful but crushing burdens of serving the servants of God while my faculties remain and I am able to do so. The Church in this hour of crisis must have a pope, not only thoroughly orthodox in belief but thoroughly vigorous in his exercise of authority to root out the evils which are choking the Church of Jesus Christ, compel the obedience of the rebellious in the ranks of clergy and hierarchy and set the Church firmly on the path of genuine renewal according to the Teaching Magisterium and wisdom of all who have gone before us."
"I trust the members of the Sacred College of Cardinals, most of whom it has been my privilege to raise to that honor, to enact a strict and effective policy to deal with disobedience as well as sexual profligacy and dereliction of hierarchical duty, and to elect as our successor one who has the capability, determination, and doctrinal spine to confront for the foreseeable future this latest coordinated effort within and without by those who would exercise their enmity toward the Mystical Body of Christ."
"Make no mistake. We will govern firmly and decisively until that conclave. We will resume our status as cardinal upon our papal resignation and we exempt ourself and any future resigned pontiff from the age restriction on participation and voting imposed by Pope Paul VI.
"We have ordered the formal excommunication of a list of individual members of the clergy and hierarchy because of their respective roles in the current crises of disobedience and disordered sexual abuse. The list will be provided later today. The lifting of these excommunications, should that ever occur, is reserved to the Holy See alone.
"We have also accepted the resignations of Roger Cardinal Mahoney, Bernard Cardinal Law, Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, Bishop Thomas Daily and 43 other diocesan ordinaries in the United States. The full preliminary list will be announced later today, together with the names of their successors. Those of them who have been cardinals will no longer serve as such and will be ineligible for conclave. Their priestly faculties are hereby suspended pending further investigation and until further notice. The successors of the resigned cardinals will themselves be simultaneously designated as cardinals before any ceremony may be held to enable them to participate in conclave.
"We hereby order the abolition of the American seminaries, their replacement by four regional seminaries to be administered from the Vatican by Dario Castrillon de Hoyos and the Sacred Congregation for Priests until a new archdiocese of American seminaries is established and its ordinary appointed. There will be no faculty or administrative tenure and, due to the abolition of the existing seminaries, none will be honored. Cardinal Castrillon de Hoyos knows our mind and will carry out this reform immediately. The newly appointed archbishop for American seminaries will also be responsible for enforcing Ecclesia Dei and compelling within that nation obedience and submission by theologians and institutions of higher education claiming to be Catholic.
"We hereby reinstitute the disciplinary measures imposed in Pope St. Pius X's 1907 encyclical Pascendi Domenici Gregis and all of the provisions of administrative discipline ordered therein to combat the modernist heresy. Any papal act since 1907 to the date hereof cancelling or suspending those measures is or are hereby removed and abolished.
"Be not afraid."
[I am sure that I am not adept at papal cadence but I have no doubt of the outcome, if that were the essence of a resignation message or that his successor would make his enemies long for the "good old days" when he served.]
Many of them act as if they're above all that "Pope and Magisterium stuff."
Please pray for theological fidelity within the Church's hierarchy and scholars.
It is intrinsically disordered (and quite prohibited by both Scripture and Tradition) for a man to have intercourse with another man or a woman with another woman whether or not one or both of the participants have become convinced that it may not be so disordered. Objective reality is objective reality. A is A. Likewise as to the sexual abuse of children (which would in most jurisdictions include those up to 17 years of age).
On many of these threads, you have eloquently argued for suppression of the abuse and the enabling of abusers. To welcome into the priesthood those whose sexual orientation is intrinsically disordered while attacking abuse is analogous to campaigning for inclusive attitudes towards bank robbers while professing opposition to bank robbery.
Apropos of another of your posts, the closer the bishops hew to the Bevilaqua position stated here, the less likely they are to be flat, black and glowing in the dark from a universe of attack from those ranging from Catholic to secular to outright enemies of the Church. Cardinal George is a good man but his desire to keep on board those with previous strikes will not stand. If he is not prepared to do what is necessary and purge the lavenders, all of them, from the priesthood, then it is also time for him to go.
Nonetheless, fornication with a willing heterosexual partner or adultery, for that matter, while certainly sinful does not take on the additional burden taken on by impossibly inappropriate and intrinsically disordered acts between man and man, woman and woman and/or either with Bowser. What is so hard for those moderns obsessed with a Tidy Bowl sense of equality or "civil rights" to understand?
A man who daydreams about experiencing whatever joys the nether regions of a six-year-old boy may have to offer him is not fit material for the priesthood even though he is not "sexually active." This is not nuclear physics.
I am sorry that so many of you overlooked what Cardinal George said about being a spiritual father and the need to marry the Bride of Christ which would,at least to me,mean that theologically it is not possible to ordain those who prefer or are attracted to men,sinceyou would be taking a vow to act in Persona Christi,married to your Bride the Church. A man who was disordered in his sexuality would be starting out with a lie,thereby entering the Culture of Death.
He also said fidelity to Church teaching was imperative.This is significant both before entering the seminary and as an ordained priest.
Preach it, brother!
Or a satanist who dreams of desecrating the sacraments.
Strange that a Catholic cardinal would condemn someone who gives up something bad for something good. So what is the celibate homosexual to do? Go out and kill himself?
I had that thought, too. It may just be something he didn't quite think through all the way or one of those things that don't quite sound in words the way they "sounded" as an unspoken thought (I've had that happen often enough).
I still wonder whether these things happened when and where the local bishop was trying to weed out gays in the seminaries. I've heard they've been doing some of that over the past ten years or so. And I don't think I've heard of incidents in the sees of the truly left wing bishops.
The Latin word from which it's derived means "unmarried." In normal present-day English it means refraining from sex. I enjoy etymologies, but they do not determine current meanings, else, for example, we wouldn't be able to use the word "arrive" unless we meant by boat or swimming, since it means "to reach shore," and we wouldn't use the word "dreary," except as it is used in Beowulf to describe the bloody mess left by Grendel.
Am I correct in assuming that the phrase was never heard before the Church had to deal with homosexuals?
The concept of moral evil has been around since there have been people, as far as I know. A staple of philosophical discussion for centuries has been the distinction between moral and physical evil. My own field of study has been literature, where the theme of moral vs. physical evil has been played over in all variations.
I am a grown man, one who does not get fooled easily these days. It is clique to the Homo's to infiltrate the church...Why?, I have my suspicions. No one can tell me that "...oh, only a small percentage of these Homosexual Priests who are gay, act on the urges". There are too many cases old and new, of Priests dying from aids to proove me wrong.
The act is not normal, regardless of what the socialists say. To have same sex urges is not normal, no matter what the socialists say. The human race are mammals made to multiply. A woman gives birth and the new life grows to do it again. Being Homosexual among Normal human beings is a flaw. You want to call it genetics, fine call it genetics, but it is still a flaw no matter what the socialists say.
If a Homo kills himself, this would be another flaw. As in a Normal human being the same. Killing one's self is a cop out...a flaw in their thinking.
Or do you honestly believe that people choose to have same-sex attraction (as opposed to choosing to act on such attraction)?
As stated above, I do believe people choose to have same sex attraction, and it is a flaw; a quirk if you will in the head. I do not think other mammals desire another member's appendage in their anus, or orally. Sure, they hang out together as human friends would, but when the run across some babes(female), they generally fight for the domain don't they. Only humans, with the ability to think, act upon urges of same sex attraction.
There may be a few Homo Priests out there who do not, nor ever acted on the mental quirk we speak of. Because of this, I will never, send my son with a priest if he is even suspected of bieng a Homo, away for camp. And because of this, I say, keep the mentally flawed out of areas that contact our Children. Keep the mentally flawed out of our Churches, Scouts, Schools, Society. Anywhere they can contact our kids.
With this, I think it should be law that if one of these creatures do infact make contact with a kid, it be the parents of said child who determine the fate of said predator.
God forbids Homosexuality. If a Church down the street has a Mentally flawed priest giving Sermons and in charge of a house of God, he should be ousted on premise alone. The Bible rejects and lashes out at Homosexuality, so the followers of the good book should at least turn away from the sinner instead of embracing/accepting the act.
HAD he done what you, falsely, asserted he had done, that would have been strange.
The only "strangeness" involved here is your misinterpretation of his words.
Yes, it does seem like that is so. IMHO only, it seems to me that it springs from always putting sex at the forefront of your life. Living in Boston, all the radio shows are all about "the scandal" all the time. Any caller who calls up the shows who is gay, announces it within 30 seconds of his call. It always strikes me "so? why do I care"? But it is so important for them to let you know where they are coming from. It is who they are. It's sad when someone's sexual orientation defines them as a person.
I know two men very well who were in the "gay lifestyle." One is now married with 6 children (yes--six). If you listened to his story about being a homosexual, I betcha $50.00 you would cry. It was tragic. He sought help to get out of it-- and the psych "doctors" told him the problem was he was THAT HE WANTED OUT OF IT!
You should see this man today. He is one of the most perfect husbands and fathers you would ever want to meet. But he will tell you the truth about what it is to chained to that Hell.
Today, we have exhanged that truth for a lie.
Homosexuals are being scapegoated by various members of the Church in an attempt to deflect criticism away from the fact that they've been harboring known molesters of children of both sexes and other criminals for years, but it's "not germaine" to outside commentary?
Sorry, but it became relevant as soon as the scapegoating started.
Now, whether or not a commentator is Catholic is only germaine while discussing the Church's policy on priests -- I really don't think a non-Catholic has any business voicing an opinion on celibacy, banning homosexuals from the priesthood, etc. If the discussion is about the criminal actions of the Church, it's irrelevant.
Straight out of the "talking points" being circulated in e-mail, pro-homosexual websites, and fed to sympathetic reporters.
If you can't dispute the facts (homosexual men are attracted to young boys), pound the table about being "scapegoated."
Well, well, well, what do we have here..."diverges from the mainstream thinking by U.S. Catholics"????? I don't think so. The Catholic church is still strongly against homosexuality unlike the radical pro-gay media. The media is so far gone, they just can't believe such a simple truth.
If you want decent people to come to church, remove the degenerate priests and put them in prison. It can't get any simpler than that.
Is Homosexuality Normal?
By Reed Irvine
December 2, 1999
Why have the establishment media ignored the horrible murder of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising by two homosexual men in the little town of Rogers, Arkansas? That is a question that was first asked by The Washington Times on October 22, nearly a month after the seventh- grader was found dead after he had been brutally assaulted sexually by Davis Carpenter, 38, and his lover, Joshua Brown, 22, on September 26.
The front-page story in the Times by Joyce Howard Price brought the story, which had been on the front page of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on three days, out of Arkansas. But a Nexis search at the end of November found only a half dozen news stories about it outside of Arkansas and a dozen editorials, opinion columns and letters.
The contrast between the coverage of homosexuals murdering a seventh-grader in Arkansas and straights murdering Matthew Shepard, a homosexual college student in Wyoming, was striking. The Washington Post printed over 80 stories about the Shepard case since the murder last year. It has run one 59-word story about the Dirkhising murder, on Saturday, October 30, and that didnt even appear in the edition that is widely distributed in the greater Washington, D.C. area.
That was eight days after The Washington Times put the story on page one, five days after Les Kinsolving, a Baltimore radio talk show host, had asked White House spokesman Joe Lockhart if President Clinton would comment on the Dirkhising murder as he had on the Shepard case, and a day after the AP finally put the story on the national wire. The Washington Posts ombudsman explained her papers failure to cover the story, saying, in effect, that it doesnt report murders outside the Washington area unless, like the Shepard murder, the editors think they teach a lesson or are exceptionally newsworthy.
Jonathan Gregg, a senior editor at Time, gave this explanation in a column in Time Daily on line: "The reason the Dirkhising story received so little play is because it offered no lessons. Shepards murder touches on a host of complex and timely issues: intolerance, societys attitudes toward gays and the pressure to conform, the use of violence as a means of confronting ones demons. Jesse Dirkhisings death gives us nothing except the depravity of two sick men. There is no lesson here, no moral of tolerance, no hope to be gleaned in the punishment of the perpetrators. To be somehow equated with these monsters would be a bitter legacy indeed for Matthew Shepard."
Anyone who called Brown and Carpenter monsters before they killed Jesse Dirkhising, would have been accused by other homosexuals of gay-bashing. Practicing sadistic sex and seducing young boys is not uncommon among homosexuals. Those who do so are not labeled monsters and cast out. The day Jesse was killed, the annual Folsom Street Leather Fair was being held in San Francisco, celebrating sadomasochism with public demonstrations of whippings and bondage. During the 1993 Gay Rights March on Washington, a government auditorium was put at their disposal to show the tools of "rough sex" like whips, chains, bondage devices and electric cattle prods. There was also a large photo of "fisting," a form of sodomy even more revolting than that done to Jesse.
Seducing young boys is called "inter-generational sex" and is promoted by the North American Man-Boy Love Association. In 1983, Cong. Gerry Studds was censured for having sex with a young page. He wasnt expelled from Congress, much less the gay community.
Jesses murder came at bad time for the homosexuals who were organizing a campaign to get every public school in the country to teach children that homosexuality is normal. They were lining up support from the teachers unions and national associations of school administrators, psychologists, social workers and pediatricians. On Nov. 23, they announced that booklets proclaiming homosexuality normal would be sent to every school district in the nation.
Stories describing the horrible things done to Jesse Dirkhising could have aborted this ambitious project. Homosexuals are very influential in the newsrooms of the establishment media these days. If there was any debate about publicizing the Dirkhising story, arguments like those in Jonathan Greggs Time on line column prevailed.
Much of the behavior that homosexuals want children to believe is normal is too revolting to be described in a family newspaper. That is why educators should be shown the police reports on the Dirkhising murder and asked if what they describe meets their definition of normal. The reports can be found on Americansfortruth.org or obtained from AFT, PO Box 4552, Washington, DC 20026.
1) Priests have molested children of both sexes.
2) The Church bought the silence of the victims and hid the guilty.
3) The excuse offered: It's all the homosexual's fault.
4) The solution offered: ban homosexuals from the priesthood.
Sorry, but ain't gonna cut it. A "drunken priest molesting an underaged girl", to borrow an example offered, is just as evil as a sober priest molesting an underaged boy.
As a non-Catholic, the only thing I want to hear is that the Church will be turning both of those molesters over to law-enforcement authorities and they will pay for whatever counseling those victims require.
And then you proceed to give an outline of 4 talking points.
Hey, you forgot to use Power Point, change the font to Times New Roman and fax it to "Gays and Lesbians Against Defamation".
Speaking to your first one
1) Priests have molested children of both sexes.
Did you know that Father Cozzens said on Meet the Press that 95-98% of the abuse victims were teen age boys; and that Father McBrien backed him up on that statistic? You know why? Because it is true.
For what possible reason would you want to shift this fact to the doldrums? Hmmm? Why? On your talking points of 2-4, yes the church covered it up, and yes it is the fault of their leadership. But it was homosexual men who raped these lads, and homosexual men who are sexually perverted. It is a word that Paul used in his letters--perverted. Let's say it a few more times, shall we?
Perverted. Perverted. Perverted.
They should be dealt with. I am sick and tired of people apologizing for them.
This article mentions Catholic conservatives noting that molestations involve priests and boys. Why the use of the word "conservative?"
All child-molestation is bad and banning homosexuals isn't going to stop all the child-molesting priests.
The Church can ban anyone who ever had a dog named "Spot" for all I care, but they need to tell me how they're going to deal with all child-molesters.