Saturday, July 09, 2005

Rome to Bishops: No More Homo Seminarians

After who-knows-how many $gazillion in settlements, Church authorities in Rome have re-stated a 1961 prohibition on the formation and ordination of homosexuals.

Briefly, the document says Just Say NO.

The whining and prancing crowd just can't STAND it. Here's John Allen's report:

Sources indicate that the long-awaited Vatican document on the admission of homosexuals to seminaries is now in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI. The document, which has been condensed from earlier versions, reasserts the response given by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2002, in response to a dubium submitted by a bishop on whether a homosexual could be ordained: "A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency, is not fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders."

That reply was published in the November-December 2002 issue of Notitiae, the official publication of the congregation.

It is up to Benedict XVI to decide whether to issue the new document as it stands, to send it back for revision, or to shelve it on the basis that for now such a document is "inopportune."
Several American bishops were in Rome last week for the June 29 pallium ceremony, and I spoke to some of them about the document.

Privately, some hope Benedict will decide to put the document in a desk drawer for the time being, on the grounds that it will generate controversy and negative press without changing anything in terms of existing discipline.

Controversy? Negative Press? About what, exactly?

As one bishop put it to me, the policy against ordaining homosexuals is already clear -- the only interesting question is, what do you mean by a "homosexual"? At one end of the continuum, it could refer to anyone who once had a fleeting same-sex attraction; at another, it could be restricted to someone who is sexually active and openly part of a "gay pride" movement. Most people would exclude those extremes, but where is the line drawn in between?

"Oh, my dear, it's so AWFUL to have to figure this out. I just don't KNOW what I can DO....."

Vatican sources have made clear the document will not enter into these details, and hence this bishop believes it's an unneeded headache.

Further, the bishop said, the document may make candidates less likely to be honest with formation directors about their psycho-sexual development, even though some degree of experimentation and ambivalence about orientation is not unusual, and by itself should not disqualify potential priests.

Now that's a ridiculous pile of crap.

"The risk is that we drive the conversation underground," he said.

Yes. With a silver stake through its heart, Your Excellency (or Your Grace-in-Lace.)

Others, however, hold that the document is needed for two reasons.

One, it will come with a higher level of authority than a response to a dubium published in the bulletin of a curial agency. This document will come with the clear authorization of the pope, perhaps in forma specifica, meaning that it draws on his personal authority. In that sense, the bishop said, it's like the relationship of John Paul's 1994 document Ordinatio sacerdotalis, on women priests, to the 1976 document Inter Insigniores from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the same subject. The teaching didn't change, but the level of authority and clarity did.

What this Bishop is saying is that a lot of US Bishops are rebellious, divisive, snippy twerps who will stamp their feet and snivel. By the way, if the Pope signs off, in forma specifica or not, they will continue to snipe, whine, snivel, and pout, don't you know...

Two, the document will reject a solution that some seminaries, religious communities and bishops have tended to adopt in recent years -- that it doesn't matter if a candidate is gay, as long as he's capable of remaining celibate.

Easy to gamble with Other People's Money, eh?

"I suspect some people, in good will, have gravitated to this idea," one bishop said. "But that's not what the church is saying, and this document will make that clear."

To date, there's been no indication of what the pope intends to do.


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