Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Your Thoughts?

As the release below is a big thing -- and, yet again, another break for this outlet (I don't need to recount the other stories which got there legs here, I hope) -- I'm opening comments to get your collective mind on it....

Knock yourselves out.

-30-

33 Comments:

Blogger GregY said...

Concise, balanced, and fair. Clear on doctrine, while recognizing the importance of compassion toward those who carry this cross. What more could one want?

22/11/05 17:33  
Blogger Jeff said...

Congratulations and THANKS for getting this out, Rocco. You da man!

***

"cannot admit to Seminary or Holy Orders those who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture."

"transitory problem, as, for example, delayed adolescence, these must be clearly overcome at least three years before diaconal Ordination."

These appear to me to be the money quotes on the contentious issues.

The second quote means to me that the "extreme" "homophobes", like Dom Bettinelli, who think that any tiniest twinge of attraction to a man in one's whole life means that there is something ineradicably wrong with you--that extreme party LOSES.

But the first quote--especially the words "have deep-seated homosexual tendencies" mean that the "mild" "homophobes"--including Yours Truly--WIN. Anyone who has that univocal tendency, though it is not sinful in itself, ought not to be a priest.

A person who had a passing problem and is over it is FINE, but that person would reject the notion that he is a "homosexual" or is "gay."

A person who has an long-standing and intractable problem and who might likely identify himself as "gay" or "homosexual"--whether he resists it a la Courage or embraces it a la Dignity--gets our love and prayers, but is not fit to be a "spiritual father" because he is conflicted about his maleness.

All questions of enforcement aside, this is EXACTLY what I had hoped for. I'm sure though that there will be LOTS of people who will try to interpret it away, just as they try to interpret Paul in the letter to the Romans away. Let's not let them get away with it.

Oh, and let's stop using that silly word "homophobe" and start talking about this stuff and quit accusing people of being "haters" for saying no more than what this document says.

22/11/05 17:38  
Blogger Gregg said...

The language in the purported instruction is generally fitting and proper, if somewhat susceptible to being interpreted to meet the reader's preconceptions.

There is some vagueness in at least two of the three disqualifications:
1. actively homosexual (pretty clear, if not always readily discernable to an outsider);

2. deep-seated homosexual tendencies (some wiggle room there); and

3. support for the so-called gay culture (lots of room for interpretation).

For example, would support for "civil unions" qualify as support for the so-called gay culture? If not, why not?

If this is really the document, it doesn't answer more questions than it raises.

22/11/05 18:04  
Blogger Brigid said...

Ditto to Greg above. Lots of questions still. Not the "hammer" that Catholic blogs, web sites and MSM said it would be but still lots of questions. Gosh, I guess we are allowed to do that, huh, esp. in areas like homosexuality.

22/11/05 18:30  
Blogger Jeff said...

To Greg and Brigid:

"Deep-seated homosexual tendecies" surely must mean more than "exclusively homosexual", right? I can't think of any HONEST exegesis of that phrase that could come out meaning LESS.

I suppose it might let off someone who doesn't really like men all that much, but has gotten into the odd habit of consorting with them---someone in jail perhaps.

But what person who honestly would fit under the label "homosexual" would be admissible to the priesthood under that definition?

Put it another way: suppose you wanted to exclude folks who weren't attracted to women for the most part, but WERE attracted to men, and pretty much exclusively. Could you put it more clearly than the document does?

My guess is that neither of you guys WANT to exclude what we would loosely call "chaste homosexuals". But surely THAT standard appears NOWHERE in the document, does it? Chastity doesn't make it all better, does it? Tendencies which are controlled are still tendencies. Chastity only helps with people who "got over" a "transitional" problem that no longer afflicts them; it doesn't help with those whose problems are characteristic.

No, I think the only people who won't understand this stuff are people who don't WANT to understand it and who want somehow, anyhow to allow for people who are characteristically homosexual but still chaste to be ordained.

If it's not a "hammer", how would you design a "hammer" that didn't hammer people who had occasional or transitional problems?

22/11/05 18:43  
Blogger George Collie said...

Am I, as a heterosexual who supports gay culture, also barred from the priesthood?

I think this policy in sinful in its treatment of celibate gay candidates for the priesthood. A person's orientation is irrelevant in a celebate priesthood.

As I think about it, I have no idea what the term gay culture means. Symphonies? Tasteful liturgies? Empathetic listening?

I will ignore it, and suspect it won't matter too much. Not with the guys in the Vatican in charge.

If it was lesbians, they would have something to worry about.

22/11/05 18:46  
Blogger RightJack said...

“(T)his Dicastery… deems it necessary to clearly affirm that the Church, even while deeply respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to Seminary or Holy Orders those who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture.”

One can certainly and reasonably expect that a man (straight or gay) seeking admission to a seminary (usually a process of several years) will have begun to live a chaste life as part of his discernment and preparation for seminary formation. It’s also obvious that a man (straight or gay) who is sexually active should not be admitted to orders since his activity fails to recommend him for a chaste priestly life. Not much new here, folks.

But this deserves attention: a man with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should not be admitted to seminary or orders. Several questions come to mind.
-Can something that is deep-seated truly be considered a “tendency”?
-Do straight men have “deep seated heterosexual tendencies”?
-Can a man’s sex drive and orientation be considered a “tendency”?
-Can the document possibly be hinting that “basically” straight men who have only occasional and therefore not deep-seated homosexual tendencies may be admitted to seminary and orders?

And this: a man who “support(s) the so-called gay culture” may not be admitted to seminary or orders. What is “ the so-called gay culture” and what would constitute “support” of it? Watching Will and Grace? Fussing over lace surplices? Gourmet cooking? Wearing a Speedo at the beach? Clucking over diocesan gossip? Agreeing that gays and lesbians “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity” (CCC no. 2358)?

“Such people, in fact, find themselves in a situation that seriously obstructs them from properly relating to men and women.”

What in God’s name, then, have healthy, mature, gay priests and bishops been doing all these years? If they are so “intrinsically disordered” that they cannot “properly relate” to other *human beings* - how have they been able to: preach the gospel effectively? celebrate the sacraments with reverence and grace? found and develop parishes? deepen the spiritual life of communities and individuals? help Catholics survive the criminal negligence of the hierarchy in the abuse crisis? How could deeply disordered men, incapable of properly relating to human beings, have achieved all they have?

Finally: what reason has an ordained faithful, chaste, gay priest to remain in ministry in light of this document’s failure to accept him with respect, compassion and sensitivity?

22/11/05 18:56  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

This document does not refer to male and female non-ordained religious. Will there be another document relating to them? Will there be a document relating to the employment of homosexuals by the Church?

The primary harm done by the Church's homosexuals would be that done to their victims.

Secondary damages are the financial liability and public relations harm that has been created for a Church and its religous and educational institutions that have been unwilling to properly discipline ministers and employees who have been accused and convicted of homosexual activity?

These damages have greatly contributed to a loss of vocations and decreases in Church membership and financial contributions.

How much more of this must the Church continue to assume in the name of human rights?

22/11/05 20:18  
Blogger Ben said...

FROM THE DOCUMENT.......read it twice

"According to the constant Tradition of the Church, only baptised males validly receive sacred Ordination. Through the sacrament of Orders the Holy Spirit configures the candidate, with a new and specific designation, to Jesus Christ: the priest, in fact, sacramentally represents Christ, Head, Shepherd, and Spouse of the Church. Because of this configuration to Christ, the entire life of the sacred minister must be animated by the gift of his entire person to the Church and by authentic pastoral charity."

Did everyone catch that??? Do you remember the debate about mystical marriage? That was a point I brought up why men must have a heterosexual orientation for ordination. Because they must be able to be a Spouse to the Church. That is why being male is necessary and being straight is important in aiding to the maturity that the Church is talking about in the next paragraph. For those that argued with me over the issue...I hope this helps you understand me better and know that is in the mind of the Church. I really hope future priests will be taught better. Being a father and a spouse of the church is a high calling. Something that involves the 'whole person' as the document. And I think the document is clear in saying that the person selected for Sacred Ordination must be 'whole'. Homosexual tendencies must be overcome well before ordination for that person to be considered 'whole'.

Ben

22/11/05 22:52  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Finally: what reason has an ordained faithful, chaste, gay priest to remain in ministry in light of this document’s failure to accept him with respect, compassion and sensitivity?"

Yes, it's always about THEM and their wounded feelings.

How about, keeping your promise and continuing to serve as best you can? Isn't that what we are all trying to do on earth anyway, whether we're fit for our jobs or not?

But, of course, if it's all about wounded feelings and they don't believe in stuff like the Church's disgusting, retrograde sexual morality, then perhaps they had best ask to be relieved.

Well, I have to hand it to RightJack anyway; at least he sees and admits that--in his terms--this document is, not to put too fine a point on it, not what had been hoped for. Rather, it's a triumph for the Eeeeeevil Forces of Darkness.

So, now the few who are willing to resist the constant secularized drumbeat to "accept" and "show compassion" will just have to keep soldiering on, trying their best to convince Western society not to continue with its stubborn attempt at suicide. And those who look for change will be bitterly disappointed, as they have been on Contraception, while God's Catholic Church keeps bucking all the trends and proving Herself to be what She always said She was.

22/11/05 22:55  
Blogger Liz said...

This document is just an enormous can of worms...

- Homosexual persons are obstructed in proper relationships with men and women? This is not only an insult to homosexual persons, but resolutely un-Christian. Are they not made in the image and likeness of God? (Even if homosexual acts scar the image of the divine, this image is surely present before any act is comitted).

Additionally, if the obstruction to relationship due to homosexual orientation disqualifies them from the ordained priesthood, then what's next? Is all ministry out? That would be the logical conclusion...

- Spiritual directors as enforcers of the document? Call me crazy, but making the spiritual directors the effective enforcers of this policy is not going to do any good for the seminarian or the Church as a whole. (YES, I know that the spiritual director is not given specific authority to give the potentially gay seminarian the boot, but this policy is not going to encourage open discussion of how a man who is committing to a chaste life is dealing with the challenge of celibacy.)

- Allowing those whose homosexual feelings are the result of delayed adolescence? Okay - so we're going to allow sexually immature men to be ordained, which was the cause of the entire absue crisis in the first place! Attraction to adults is one thing; attraction to children is quite another. HOMOSEXUALS do not molest children. PEDOPHILES or EPHEBOPHILES do. (There is a difference, Ray Marshall!)

- Spiritual fatherhood. Blah. I won't even get into the male-female gender issues that this implies, although they're what are REALLY making me want to tear my hair out.

Sigh. Yet another reason to be Catholic in spite of the Church...

22/11/05 23:21  
Blogger Donna Bethell said...

There is no "reason to be Catholic in spite of the Church...." There is only one reason to be Catholic: you believe that the Catholic Church has faithfully preserved the teaching of Jesus Christ in all its essentials and continues to embody His presence and acts. "He who hears you hears me." This means learning the think as the Church thinks (Bravo, Ben) and to understand how She understands Herself. Yes, it takes time and effort. Most of all it takes humility and patient prayer. We are not encouraged in those attitudes in our self-esteem training. If that is not acceptable, the honest response is to say so and stop demanding change or playing the role of a martyr to what should be.

God bless you all.

22/11/05 23:48  
Blogger Liz said...

Okay, the comments that went up in between when I begam the comment and when I posted have inspired me to comment on the gender thing.

1. Jesus of Nazereth was male. No arguments here.

2. God is NOT male! God can be described metaphorically as male (and as female). (Yes, I am aware that the Church has said that the most appropriate way to speak of God in worship is male.)

3. The Church as the Bride of Christ is inherently oppressive. God is greater than humanity - husbands are not greater than wives! And what about the Church as the BODY of Christ? (Oooh, wait! If Jesus was a male, then that means... But of course, the Church is the Body of CHRIST, and the second person of the Trinity has no gender).

4. Does anyone know the history of the Church being a 'she'? Ecclesia is a feminine noun - is there more to it than that historically?

As for learning to think as the Church thinks, I have only two words: sensus fidelium.

There is more than one way to think about the relationship of the triune God to the Church - and the nuptiual metaphor with its accompanying gender assertions doesn't necessarily need to be the totality of it.

This is probably rather inarticulate, as I am dead tired and trying to pack/clean, but just something to think about. And before everyone gets all 'theology of the body' on me, just do a little thought experient: You are a man. The entire hierarchy of your religious denomination is female. The female head of your religion, the vicar of the founder of your religion, has outlined a theology of the body, reflecting on what it is to be male and female. She tells you what maleness means. How would you, as a male, respond? It's a challenge to take it seriously - and I don't mean challenge in a 'let-me-roll-my-eyes-at-it' way. It's a profound challenge.

22/11/05 23:55  
Blogger RightJack said...

Jeff wrote:
"Yes, it's always about THEM and their wounded feelings. How about, keeping your promise and continuing to serve as best you can? Isn't that what we are all trying to do on earth anyway, whether we're fit for our jobs or not?"

Evidently, Jeff, you read my post as self-pitying. I don't think that's what I'm about here. What the document says is that ordained chaste gay priests are invalid matter for the sacrament of orders, "seriously obstruct(ed) from properly relating" to other human beings." We're not talking here about priests in illicit relationships or priests marching in gay pride parades. We're talking about many of the priests who celebrated Mass and preached the gospel in our churches this past Sunday. Perhaps these posts sound like they are "about THEM" and that may be becuse the document is about THEM.

23/11/05 01:07  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Liz said:

"Homosexual persons are obstructed in proper relationships with men and women? This is not only an insult to homosexual persons, but resolutely un-Christian. Are they not made in the image and likeness of God? (Even if homosexual acts scar the image of the divine, this image is surely present before any act is comitted)."

If someone, whether pedophilic or ephebophilic, commits a crime by violating the body or person of a minor, must the Church wait til it happens and then is reported one, five or twenty years later?

Give me a break! Many thousands of children have been and still are being put at risk because people with statistically known predilictions for such crimes are given the opportunity to commit those crimes.

There is no right to be a priest! We're not talking about equal employment opportunity. We're talking about children's lives.

And we're talking about the organizational, political, social and economic health of the Church, though nobody seems to want to talk about that.

How much have YOU increased your contributions to the Church to pay for the cost of the defense of and financial liabilities of Church ministers and employees who have harmed children?

23/11/05 06:05  
Blogger Ecclesiastes said...

The document sends out a clear signal that men with a definite homosexual orientation are not suited to be priests. That is all any document could ever be expected to do. Ultimately it is up to the candidate himself, and not to you or me, to be honest with himself and his director in coming to terms with the Church's teaching. Such regulations as these cannot be policed. One suggestion: anyone who thinks this document too lax should please present us with an alternative text, and let us make our comments.

23/11/05 07:09  
Blogger Jeff said...

RightJack and Liz:

"What the document says is that ordained chaste gay priests are invalid matter for the sacrament of orders, "seriously obstruct(ed) from properly relating" to other human beings.""

No, not invalid matter, but perhaps something like illicit matter. The Church--insanely!, insanely!--teaches that there is something wrong with contraception. She is right. The Church also teaches that homosexual desires are intrinsically disordered. That should be obvious to the merest nincompoop; it just shows how far down the road toward lunacy we have gone that it no longer is, that it isn't so obvious to many. But, of course, the Church is right about that one, too.

"Perhaps these posts sound like they are "about THEM" and that may be becuse the document is about THEM."

No, Jack. It's about how to serve the People of God and who we should choose to do that. It's not about who "Gets to be a priest." If you're worrying about not being wanted and being undervalued, etc., etc., you're probably unfit to be a priest anyway.

Liz:

In order to find the "sensus fidelium", you first have to identify who the "fidelii" are. In order to be "Faithful", you have to believe the Catholic Faith, whole and entire. If you feel entitled to pick and choose what you believe, the mere fact that there is a Vatican flag in the building where you worship on Sunday doesn't make you entitled to be considered "Faithful." Come to think of it, you don't have too much "Sense", either.

Donna:

Nice comment!

23/11/05 09:18  
Blogger A. Carlton Sallet said...

Great comments; I have also done a thorough analysis and reached some interesting results. I will post them by 7PM tonight (Nov. 23).

23/11/05 09:27  
Blogger Deep Furrows said...

Liz,

You ask some excellent questions, questions that I have wrestled with for a number of years - despite (or perhaps because) being male.

I'm not so sure that God as bridegroom and Church as bride is inherently tyranical. Jesus told the apostles:

John 15
12 This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15 I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.

In Christianity, the groom/bride image is well developed by St. Paul, but the imagery is also deeply rooted in the New Testament (the Song of Songs, Hosea, etc.). Drawing deeply on the Holy Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church continued to contemplate these images. To demythologize the church at this point would be to de-Christianize the church.

If you are interested in exploring gender more profoundly, I would recommend the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar, which elude easy summary.

Fred

23/11/05 10:01  
Blogger Deep Furrows said...

correction - above I said:
"To demythologize the church at this point would be to de-Christianize the church."

I see that this sentence is ambiguous, suggesting that I mean at this point in time. No, to clarify, to strip the church of this imagery would be to lose what is distinctive to Christianity: the universal revelation of God in the particularity of one man who lived in a certain culture at a certain time.

23/11/05 10:08  
Blogger Gregg said...

The documents that I work with on a day-to-day basis generally include definitions for the most important terms. In this document there are two terms that ought to be defined. Of course I can’t say that my suggested definitions are those that the Dicastery would choose, but they seem like reasonable starting points.

Deep-seated homosexual tendencies would include situations such as the following: a man for whom one of the primary foci of the spiritual life is resisting temptation to homosexual behavior; a man who, despite diligent efforts to the contrary, has repeatedly succumbed to homosexual temptations; or a man whose associates are predominantly homosexual.

Support for the so-called gay culture would include any of the following: membership in organizations that identify as specifically homosexual organizations, unless such organization exists to help such persons live a chaste and holy life in Christ; advocating political and legal structures that facilitate the practice of homosexual acts; and public statements regarding homosexual acts that contradict, ignore or minimize the Church’s teaching regarding the moral status of such acts.

23/11/05 10:59  
Blogger Jon said...

Hmm...there seems to be some ambiguity here about the correctness of this document and what it really means. Let me help clear it up.

Genesis, Chapter 19.

23/11/05 12:23  
Blogger Gotpraecht said...

Genesis, Chapter 19

What. You mean candidates for the priesthood shouldn't try to rape angels?

23/11/05 13:41  
Blogger RightJack said...

"What. You mean candidates for the priesthood shouldn't try to rape angels?"

But apparently it's ok, instead, to hand over one's daughters to the men of the town for their pleasure, Gen 19:8. And there's that really nasty business in Gen 19:30-38!

23/11/05 13:48  
Blogger Ben said...

Maybe I can say a few words to help Liz understand her Church's teachings.

First, God is our Father. All fatherhood comes from Him. It is not the other way around. To understand oursevlves we must first try to understand God as our Father.

Second, God is our Bridegroom(husband), in Jesus Christ. The Church is called the Body of Christ because she is. The same as my wife and I are one flesh by marriage. How does Christ operate in the world today? Through His Bride, the Church. He is the head of His body just as the husband is the head of his bride. Without going into tremendous detail, the bride and groom are but one body. This is made physical in holy communion/intercourse and will be fully manifest in heaven.

There is no oppression hear. I think with great study and pray you can come to understand the sensus fidelium. These things the Church believes(oh, by the way, the bishops are also included in the sensus fidelium) are not just opinion, they are reality. You can't just decide that you want to explain God or know Him some other way that is contradictary.

Ben

23/11/05 13:51  
Blogger Gotpraecht said...

First, God is our Father. All fatherhood comes from Him. It is not the other way around.

Absolutley. Except that the theology of the body folk seem to be trying to do their theology the other way round.

imperfectum non est mensura perfecti

St. Paul describes the nuptial union of Ephesians 5 as a mysterion whereas theologians of the body seem to be trying to use Christian marriage in order to exhaust its significance.

23/11/05 14:30  
Blogger Liz said...

Gender: God is indeed (metaphorically) our father. God is the source of all that there is. But to say God = Father, without the caveat of metaphor is very dangerous. God is beyond any human categories.

Sensus fidelium: I agree that bishops are included in 'the faithful.' But they are not the entirety of the faithful. As far as affirming what the Church holds to be true, the Church has done some flip-flopping... Usury is no longer a mortal sin, slavery is no longer a-ok, and the right religious freedom (once condemned) was affirmed by Vatican II These changes didn't fall out of the sky. I don't take Church teaching lightly by any means, and I can't stand it when people simply reject what the Church teaches out of hand - the teaching on contraception being the most obvious example. But there are other things that just seem sinful to accept, for example, that chaste homsexuals cannot properly relate to other human beings. They are made in the image and likeness of God - how can they be prevented from right relationship with other human beings (especially if they are chaste)?

Deuteronomy: Recent exegesis tends toward viewing hospitality as the main message of that passage - protecting the guest that you have taken in. I'm no biblical scholar, and I need to look into this further, but it's a fairly widely held perspective that is at least deserving of consideration.

PS - no one on why the Church, historically, is a 'she'?? :-)

23/11/05 18:43  
Blogger Donna Bethell said...

For Liz, very quickly (I have to get up and cook dinner tomorrow!): God is Father absolutely. This is not a metaphor. We learn what human fatherhood should be by looking to the Father. We don't speak of God as Father meaning He is like a human father. That is the name of the First Person of the Trinity as revealed by Jesus Christ, although Fatherhood, like the spousal relationship, is already found in the OT. Cf. Eph 3:14-15.

The Church is She because Christ is He. Books can be written. The Church is the Bride of Christ. Start with 2Cor 11:2 and Rev 19 and 21.

It is important to get the absolute realities straight and not confuse them with the dependent realities. The spousal union of Christ and the Church is an absolute reality: it is spousal because they are given to each other. It is built on the relationships of the Trinity, in which each Person gives all and receives all from the Other. Christian marriage is a sign of the unity of Christ and the Church and also of the Trinitarian relationships. All of the relationships are both self-giving and receptive. Marriage,like fatherhood, is perfected in being like the divine model.

On the theology of the body, read it again. It begins with the gift of God and the Trinitarian relationships, although I grant that there are some interpreters out there who are not quite on track.

A blessed and happy Thanksgiving to all.

24/11/05 01:18  
Blogger Augustus Meriwether said...

Thank you for making this important document available. I have linked your Instruction page.

I'm glad to see at least some folks are picking up on the scandalous aspects of this Instruction.

Essentially, looking closely at the text of this instruction, The Vatican, the Pope, is officially teaching the world that all homosexual people are socially dysfunctional and their personalities are disordered.

It is an attempt to re-pathologize homosexuality not just for priests but for ALL.

If anyone's interested in one gay Anglican perspective, I talk about the Instruction on my little blog.

I have lost all respect for the RC leadership with this appalling document.

24/11/05 05:45  
Blogger Brian said...

What troubles me in all this is the attempt to have differing ethical or moral standards for ordained and non-ordained church workers--and we are all church workers.

The Bible does set certain standards of competence and probity for leaders (e.g. Titus ch.1). Yet, it seems to me that if one is morally unfit to be a a pastor/priest, one is morally unfit for any service, even the most humble. It is the relationship with God that is critical here. God does not make hierarchial distinctions when it comes to good conduct.

Given the Roman Catholic church’s unequivocal disapproval of homosexuality in any form, why is there any need of a separate Instruction of this kind? Why make a particular issue of gayness? Perhaps they also need ‘instructions’ on heterosexual behaviour, financial affairs, truth-telling, use of alchohol and tobacco, etc., etc., etc.

-----------

"[T]he Church . . . cannot admit to Seminary or Holy Orders those who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture. Such people, in fact, find themselves in a situation that seriously obstructs them from properly relating to men and women."

This statement is appallingly offensive. It is beyond belief that a credible institution could say such a thing. I leave aside the question as to what is meant by 'gay culture'. The Instruction seems to say that no gay man (or woman?) is capable of "properly relating" to any other person. Or rather that their gayness "seriously obstructs" them from any proper relationship.

How could Benedict XVI sanction such nonsense and still retain any credibility?

24/11/05 21:16  
Blogger Donna Bethell said...

Brian, your logic is correct but some of your premises are wrong, or missing. There are not differing standards for priests and non-priests. Homosexuality is intrinsicly disordered whenever it occurs and homosexual acts are always wrong. What you are missing is the nature of the sacramental priesthood. This is not surprising because it has been carefully suppressed in both instruction and liturgical texts for the last 40 years. The priest stands in the Person of Christ in a way that the merely baptized do not. The Church is responsible for the exercise of the priestly ministry and must exclude anyone who suffers from some intrinsic disorder, whether it's homosexuality, kleptomania, or schizophrenia. There is an instruction on the admission of homosexuals to Holy Orders because that is a clear and present problem (we are not suffering from a rash of shoplifting padres).

No one is picking on homosexuals as opposed to others who are likewise barred from ordination. It's just that this is the current, and big, problem. As Bishop Wilton Gregory said in April, 2002, in a fleeting moment of outspoken honesty, it is a constant struggle to keep the priesthood from being dominated by homosexual men.

As for the inability to form proper relationships, given that the Church recognizes the centrality of sexuality to the personality, a disordered sexuality will necessarily affect all personal relationships to some degree. Although some people think that the Catholic Church undervalues or even disapproves of sexuality, the opposite is true. The Church sees sexuality as part of how we image God: "God created man in His own image.... Male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it." Gen. 1:27-28. Our sexuality is sharing in the very creative power of God. That is why it is so important and why the Church insists on correct sexual morality.

I am sorry that you find a simple restatement of a long-standing position to be so offensive. But given what the Church believes and has always taught, what else can anyone expect? I am afraid that you and many, many others are suffering from the failure of our bishops and priests to teach the faith effectively, in season and out. Now those who have such a poor foundation in their faith are shocked to discover it is more than just going with the cultural flow.

24/11/05 23:07  
Blogger Liz said...

I think Donna misunderstands the way those of us who have a negative reaction to this document view the Church. I don't attempt to speak for everyone, but many do understand and appreciate the way the Church values sexuality. While I have some deep questions about the Church's position on homosexuality, I do understand it, and this document is NOT entirely a restatement of a long-held position. It does not reflect the distinction between homosexual acts as sinful, and homosexual orientation as merely 'disordered.' This document effectively tears down that distinction. It doesn't call homosexual orientation a sin; it calls those with homosexual orientation less than human by stating that they are severely obstructed from proper relationship with other persons (which, in my opinion, is even worse). If one is living a chaste life, then one's sexual orientation is effectively irrelevant, other than in one's own personal discipline of chastity. If I decide not to watch television, is it relevant which television show's I'm not watching? Which shows I would prefer to watch? Yes, sexuality is an important component of life - but it's not all-defining.

As for Genesis 1:27-28 - It's not entirely a slam dunk of an argument. Verse 27 is not an outright condemnation of homosexual acts, let alone tendencies (deep-seated or not). Couldn't verse 28 be used to argue that the celibate life subverts God's commandment to be fruitful and multiply? (I'm not arguing that it does...) What I get from the passage is: human beings are male or female; male and female are equal; male and female are in God's image; and procreation is good b/c it is commanded by God. I'm not sure that, onjectively, there's more than that to be found in the passage.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

25/11/05 01:59  
Blogger Gotpraecht said...

The Church is responsible for the exercise of the priestly ministry and must exclude anyone who suffers from some intrinsic disorder, whether it's homosexuality, kleptomania, or schizophrenia.

The poverty of this analogy can be seen if I add the following to your list of intrinsic disorders: eating horse-meat and communicating in sign-language. Why are these inappropriate additions to the list (or why not, for that matter)?

Homosexuality is often glibly compared to various other disorders, the chief of them usually alcoholism. But the question left begging
here is whether this is an appropriate analogy. You have grouped them together on the basis of the a-priori assumption that they are are indeed disordered and natural. But what criteria are you using?

The church's teaching is the obvious one, but that can never be used as way of simply silencing discussion. If all truth, whether of faith or reason, is
ultimately one, then it is simply not Catholic to use the magisterium, as it is so often used in the Catholic blogosphere, as a kind of megaphone for shouting down your opponents. The Pontifical Biblical Commission's "Interpretation of the Bible in the Church" once described Biblical Fundamentalism as a form of intellectual suicide. The Magisterium must never demand this of the Catholic faithful either.

So, to return to your analogy. What is it, apart from your a a priori that they in fact are disordered, that makes homosexuality similar to, say, kleptomania?

It is certainly the case the homosexuality -- like heterosexuality -- is associated with pathological and objectively immoral behaviours. And this
is perhaps increasingly the case because of the kinds of societies we Westerners have created for ourselves.

But to suggest that these things may or often, in my experience do attend homosexual orientation, is not the same thing
as being able to demonstrate that they necessarily or always do.

I can think of very few cases in which it could be argued that an alcoholic or kleptomaniac had acted upon his disorder in a way
that was beneficial to him or those around him. But that is a much more difficult case to make in terms of homosexuality.

I realise that I am making my case consequentially here, but even natural law argumentation involves an element of consequentialism
and I don't think, either, that traditional assumptions about what constitutes human good are so inflexible as to include
homosexual sex in certain circumstances.

25/11/05 08:24  

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