A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Monday, November 14, 2005

If you believe in the Catholic Church . . .

. . . you must follow its teachings. Catholic Doctrine has this to say about homosexuality:

2357: Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
So, these "men" are struggling with Catholic Doctrine, not just "Vatican rules." Too bad for them. They have made their choices. If they don't like the Bible, they can just get out.

AP: Gay Priests Struggle With Vatican's Rules---

The Rev. Fred Daley, a gay, Roman Catholic priest, had grown increasingly disturbed by Vatican pronouncements over the years that homosexuals were unfit for the clergy.

Then the situation escalated — some church leaders suggested that gays were responsible for the clergy sex abuse crisis. Daley was so angry, he did something last year that almost no other gay Catholic cleric in the country has done: He came out to his bishop, parishioners and his entire community to show that homosexuals were faithfully working in the church.

"I'm as much a member of the church as anybody else," said Daley, of St. Francis de Sales Church in Utica, N.Y., who was ordained in 1974 and said he has never considered leaving the priesthood. "I love being a priest."

Researchers have estimated that thousands of homosexual clergy across the United States have dedicated their lives to a church that considers them "intrinsically disordered" and prone to "evil tendencies." Soon, the Vatican will back up that teaching with a document that could set new restrictions on candidates for the priesthood — a pronouncement U.S. bishops may discuss in private during their national meeting starting Monday in Washington.

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A key 1961 Vatican document on selecting candidates for the priesthood made clear homosexuals should be barred. But the instruction, and others that followed, have clearly not been enforced in many American seminaries and religious communities. Estimates of the number of gays in U.S. seminaries and the priesthood range from 25 percent to 50 percent, according to a review of research by the Rev. Donald Cozzens, a former seminary rector and author of "The Changing Face of the Priesthood."

A gay priest who had been worried that he would be expelled if seminary administrators discovered his sexual orientation said his disclosure was welcomed instead. He said his spiritual director told him, "I'm grateful for your honesty."

Historically, many gays and lesbians chose religious life partly because it was a socially acceptable alternative to marriage and protected them from questions about why they were single, Cozzens said. But the gay priests interviewed for this story insisted they were not hiding out. They said they found religious communities where they could be relatively open with fellow clergy.

"My superiors encouraged me to keep talking about it as a way to help me understand how to better live a celibate life in a real healthy way," said a gay priest, who attended seminary in the 1980s and refused further identification.

Such support may be harder to find after the new Vatican guidelines are released.

The Italian newspaper Il Giornale reported Friday that the document from the Congregation for Catholic Education will bar from seminary men who "support" gay culture or have "deeply rooted" gay tendencies. The newspaper said the instruction will be made public Nov. 29.

The document would not apply to homosexuals who have already been ordained, but gay priests said it would challenge anew their decision to work within a church whose pronouncements they consider discriminatory.

Anticipating the Vatican pronouncement, some gay priests are discussing collectively staying away from pulpits on a Sunday to show how much the church relies on them. Other priests said they were considering revealing their sexual orientation to parishioners. Some are contemplating "outing" gay bishops who would be called upon to enforce the new guidelines.

Any new restrictions would be "discouraging," said the West Coast priest, but "I prefer to work for justice in this area within the church structure."

Another gay priest said the new restrictions would amount to the church telling him, "to sit on the back of the bus."

"But this is my family," he said. "You don't leave your family if there's a problem. I feel God has called me here and that takes precedence over everything else."
This isn't about forcing people to "sit on the back of the bus." This is about preaching and living true Catholic teachings, rather than Liberal, immoral behavior. If one joins a club based on certain criteria, then one is expected to abide by those criteria. If one decides he does not fit the criteria, he ought to leave the club, not force the 2,000 year old club to conform to his twisted ways. The Catholic Church should be populated by good Catholics, who believe in its teachings and the Bible.

The Vatican is right to insist upon strict guidelines for Priests. After all, these men are charged with the leading of millions of Catholics. If they do not believe and live what the Church believes, then they should not be a part of the priesthood.

If, for example, priests were secretly members of a Devil worshipping group, would not the Vatican have the right to create guidelines, based on Church teachings and the Bible, to keep them out or bring them back to the straight and narrow?