At the start of September, Lawler & Co. said
The text, which was approved by Pope Benedict at the end of August, says that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers.But by contrast, and to repeat, Allen reports that the Instruction
[W]ill insist that seminary officials exercise "prudential judgment" that gay candidates should not be admitted in three cases....If anything, that sounds like a liberalization of the 1962 "evil tendencies towards pederasty and homosexuality" line. It acknowledges the presence of gay seminarians, and sets extreme, subjective conditions under which they will not be admitted to formation. This new policy seems to want questions and openness in the seminary process, not silence.
- If candidates have not demonstrated a capacity to live celibate lives for at least three years;
- If they are part of a "gay culture," for example, attending gay pride rallies (a point, the official said, which applies both to professors at seminaries as well as students);
- If their homosexual orientation is sufficiently "strong, permanent and univocal" as to make an all-male environment a risk.
Fessio said on Fresh Air the other day that you don't bring even celibate gay men into seminaries because "it'd be like a pyromaniac applying to serve in a fire department." He may have to eat those words now and apologize.
We don't see much word-eating, however, from Diogenes
John Allen is now reporting that a Vatican official told him the Doomsday Doc will not, as earlier suggested, ban all homosexual candidates from the seminary, but only those who use the wrong fork for their salad.And he's got a photo of Bob Lynch up. How typically contrite.
OK, what his source actually said is that the text would exclude gays who "have not demonstrated a capacity to live celibate lives for at least three years" -- (verified how? by checking with the candidate's laundress?) -- but it amounts to the same thing: business as usual.
The issuance of the Instruction could hardly be expected to change Church practice. However it's worded, after all, it will be implemented by bishops who -- with impunity -- rub down triathletes for fun.
The universal ban wasn't just "suggested" earlier, darlings. It was reported by CWNews. ("Pope approves barring gay seminarians" is not a headline which implies suggestive indications.)
You can see the semantic exercises of a rowback beginning.... But Lawler's trying hard to play-down the NCR report
Philip Lawler, conservative editor of the U.S.-based Catholic World News Web site, urged caution because he had been told the document as approved by the pope "did not have that sort of maneuvering room."
Lawler believes "people who have homosexual tendencies, whether or not they're active, should not be in seminaries." He said that "what the document says ends up as much less important than how the document is followed up and enforced."
So what if the document clashes with the Golden Calf of The Conservative Agenda? What then? Widespread conservative dissent? Again?
And I think our Fresh Air friend is back again.
A gay American priest, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals from church leaders, said the policy would be a step forward for homosexual candidates for the priesthood.
All's clear, Father -- you can show your face now. Just beware of the homophobes.
"If they actually put something like this out, it will be the first time that the church will have formally said that gay men have been and can be accepted by seminaries," the priest said.