Vatican moves toward ending ordination of homosexuals
A change in the wind? In an official response to a bishop’s request about whether gay men should be ordained, a letter written by Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez and published in the bulletin of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship stated: “The ordination … of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and from a pastoral point of view, it is very risky. Therefore a homosexual person or a person with homosexual tendencies is not qualified to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 06, 2002 04:16 PM | Send
Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful!Posted by: P Murgos on December 6, 2002 5:34 PM
Just curious — what’s the objection to having a category of Catholic priests who can marry, as I think Jamie Glazov (and others, of course) have proposed?
I am a complete know-nothing on the subject of religion in general and of Catholicism in particular, so folks like Larry Auster, Matt, Remus, and Mr. Sleighback, who seem to know about these matters: please excuse what must be a REALLY DUMB quesion.
(I’m talking about fully-fledged priests with full priestly functions, etc., not deacons or what-have-you. Priests.)Posted by: Unadorned on December 6, 2002 7:48 PM
Christ was unmarried, His apostles (I think) were unmarried, tradition, and to enable priests to devote their full attention to the Church instead of to sex and to a family.Posted by: P Murgos on December 6, 2002 8:18 PM
Mr. Murgos, thanks for your answer. That answer I knew about. If that’s the whole answer, I wonder if it’s not time to consider letting priests get married if they want.
It’s not the homosexualness of homosexual priests that’s the problem — plenty of homosexual priests have integrity. It’s the immorality of certain weakminded ones — not being able to resist taking their vice outside a closed circle of consenting colleagues wherein perfect discreetness is observed.
Weakmindedness among heterosexual clergy leads also to sexual abuse.
Doesn’t celibacy impose unbearable obligations on all but the nearly superhumanly strong?
St. Paul counseled celibacy for Christian men (being careful to add that that view was not “from Christ” or binding, but was just his own recommendation). However, St. Paul suffered from temporal-lobe epilepsy, a condition which in his case — together with other characteristics he possessed, all very admirable — made celibacy a less-formidable burden.Posted by: Unadorned on December 6, 2002 8:42 PM
The Church does teach that homosexual desire is objectively disordered (as is any desire to sin). See e.g.
There has been far more said about celibacy than can possibly be even alluded to in a comment on a blog. But Unadorned does bring up an important point when he asks:
“Doesn’t celibacy impose unbearable obligations on all but the nearly superhumanly strong?”
A celibate priesthood, which we have had for millennia, is many things. One of the things that it is, is a concrete repudiation of the notion that sexual activity is a *need* and that one has to be superhumanly strong to resist it. Another aspect is that you aren’t likely to argue that resisting temptation is just too difficult with a chaste, celibate priest. Celibacy represents a moral high ground and a repudiation of the sexual revolution. That is part of why moderns hate it so much (see e.g. Sullivan, Andrew). Even if it is arguable that under some social circumstances a celibate priesthood would be OK, in the context of morally confronting the sexual revolution it is absolutely critical.
Now in light of recent events this may seem almost laughable; but the reality of the current Catholic clerical scandal is that the rates of abuse are no more than among the general population, and — not to minimize the sin of the abuser and the horror of the abused — the truly shameful thing about the scandal is the derelection of duty, coverup, and blame-shifting on the part of the American heirarchy.
All of that said, there are in fact some married Roman Catholic priests: specifically Anglican clergy who converted when already married, I believe.
Matt’s presentation alone is pretty darn compelling, in my opinion.
To add to Matt’s statistics, I have heard (from Catholic sources) that the rate of pedophilia among Catholic clergy is less than the rate among other clergy.
I have been trying to convince a Jewish friend for years that there is no relationship between celibacy and Catholic pedophilia. He has Unadorned’s notion that celibate priests are so sexually frustrated that they become mentally disordered. I pointed out nature’s ways of releasing sexual energy. I also said we are talking about a major criminal act not fondling a nun or an adult female parishioner. I also asked him to realize that the vast majority of priests (including Jesus) are not pedophiles.
The publicity has helped in bringing to the surface one of the many myths about Catholicism. This provides an opportunity to debunk one myth: celibacy creates mental disorder.Posted by: P Murgos on December 6, 2002 10:31 PM
I would, if I may, question Unadorned’s statement, “It’s not the homosexualness of homosexual priests that’s the problem.” I am hearing (again from Catholic sources) that homosexual priests are indeed the problem. In other words, the vast majority of priestly pedophilia is homosexual. Moreover, the vast majority of sexual contacts between priests and the young are homosexual.
Perhaps it is even still a secret that homosexuality is rampant and open in Catholic seminaries since Vatican II. Can you imagine placing men and women in seminary dormitories together and not expect rampant fornication?
Also, while I’m excited, perhaps few would mind if I sneak in an observation. For as far back as I can remember, I luckily knew I was not attracted to men and I knew what Catholic inappropriate contact was; it was the kind of contact I wanted to have with girls. According to the nuns, even thinking about it was a sin. (I had pretty nuns, and I adored them.) Inappropriate contact with an adult would have had me immediately tell my parents. (My mother probably would have battered the priest.) So it is difficult for me to understand intuitively how young (9…15, etc.) boys end up in these abusive sagas. Don’t get me wrong. I believe it happens, it is horrible, and I do sympathize. I hope I don’t seem flip.
Mr. Murgos’s question is a good one. How is it possible that the paedophile in so many cases gets such control over his victim?Posted by: Lawrence Auster on December 7, 2002 12:53 AM
The Orthodox churches, which have been around at least as long as the Roman Catholic church, allow priests at the parish level to marry. Bishops and other hierarchy are drawn from the celibate monastic priesthood, apparently. Rome’s insistence on celibacy at all levels only dates from the later middle ages, as I understand it from some church historian friends.Posted by: Carl on December 7, 2002 12:58 AM
No. The Orthodox Churches have not been around as long as the Roman Catholic Church. Still, we in the Roman Church very much desire union with our Orthodox and Anglican kin.Posted by: P Murgos on December 7, 2002 1:47 AM
The good cardinal’s exposition against the elegibilty of homosexual men for the priesthood appears as a public relations device to restore lost reputation to a church, moribund for many years, and now in an accelerating decline.
Mr. Auster asks how pedophiles (and, he would no doubt add, ephebophiles) get such control over their victims. The answer, I think, is that they choose their targets and “groom” them by putting them in their debt, accustoming them to ever-more-intimate contact, share secrets with them, and so on. Like other people with radical personality disorders, they’re inhumanly patient and extraordinarily manipulative. The obsession takes over their life.
To Carl: the Catholic Church tightened up its discipline and among other things cracked down on priestly concubinage at the beginning of the high middle ages, but the rule that priests shouldn’t be married or if married should live with their wives like brother and sister goes existed in Constantinian times.Posted by: Jim Kalb on December 7, 2002 10:57 AM
As I understand it the evidence does not support Sandysot’s interpretation of the homosexualization of the Catholic priesthood over centuries as a result of celibacy. The homosexualization of the Catholic priesthood (which is to say the phenomenon of the priesthood becoming more homosexual than the general population) correlates directly with the “reforms” of Vatican II. So rather than being the result of being too sexually strict, it is the result of giving in to demands for liberalization.
I can understand why moderns would want to spin the celibate priesthood as a weakness rather than a strength. Moderns want to view the human world as one in which sexual activity for everyone is inevitable, and where abstinence is a repression that results in dysfunction. That way moderns are excused for their contraceptive culture that Mother Theresa clearly identified as one of the roots of the culture of death. Moderns can continue to view their own unrestrained sexual-activity-for-gratification as the healthy natural state of things (against all the evidence), and can therefore suppress their own personal guilt. So there are very strong reasons for moderns to attempt to discredit the celibate priesthood, and homosexuals by becoming priests themselves since Vatican II have made one of the strongest gambits against the celibate priesthood to date.
E. Michael Jones talks about the general pattern of modernity as rationalized sexual misbehavior in his indispensable book _Degenerate Moderns_. If you take his well documented chapter on the homosexual as subversive and view what has happened in the heirarchy since Rahner’s Vatican II (which Jones does not address in his book) through that lens the pattern is quite clear. I personally know someone (a Catholic) who has spent about ten years studying theology, and as far as I can tell the primary motivation has been to find some way to justify the use of contraception.
In our post sexual revolution modern context it is clear that a celibate, manly, heterosexual priesthood is indispensable. The revolution must be pushed back and the double-agents laicized.Posted by: Matt on December 7, 2002 12:23 PM
Matt opines that the Catholic priesthood became sexually inverted beyond general population stats only since the 1964 Vatican II’s Ecumenical Outreach Declaration.I think it may have gone critical mass about that time coincident to the corruption in the leadership and staff positions in the seminaries, resulting in super attractive conditions for same sex behavior without penalty.
Alas I no longer think so.The events Ive witnessed in my lifetime lead me to say that the time of the warrior-priest has come and gone.The modern liberals have killed the last vestiges of instutionalized church masculinity.Better that the priests be allowed to marry- then at least those who dont will be looked at with scepticism and their behaviors examined more closely.This way the innocence of the young ones can be more closely guarded.
Both Matt and sandy make reasonable points, but I prefer to think that Matt is right. The survival of our civilization, of all the dimensions of our civilization, depends on a principled rejection across the board of false beliefs and values that the modern world has assumed to be normal and irresistible. The great lesson is that we don’t have to accept falsity, that falsity can be defeated by truth. So (while I am not a Catholic myself) I stand with those who think the restoration of the traditional priesthood as described by Matt is both possible and desirable.Posted by: Lawrence Auster on December 7, 2002 9:38 PM
Well, it is true that Vatican II didn’t happen in a vacuum so in that respect Sandy’s point is well taken. There were no doubt numerous celebrations in liberal households upon the death of Pope St. Pius X, and Rahner didn’t suddenly appear from the void in 1963. On the other hand the notion that Vatican II is only about ecumenism is clearly wrong (Pope Paul VI actually said, with astonishing candor, “the smoke of Satan has entered the Church”), and clearly the homosexualization of the warrior-priesthood is a product of liberalism rather than celibacy. I don’t see how handing liberalism another victory would be progress for traditionalism.Posted by: Matt on December 7, 2002 11:38 PM
As I understand it, one reason for celibacy is the lesson learned from familial “dynasties” in the past where bishops (who are preists after all) abused their power and shared their power with their family. I think in some cases their children “inherited” the diocese as if they were noblemen succeeding their fathers to the kingdom/dukedom.
I do like Matt’s explanation though. There is definite truth in asserting that human beings are not absolute slaves of their senses. There is a certain despair when one instead accepts that man cannot live without sex.
I tend to think that celibacy isn’t so much a problem if those who take the vow are absolutely committed to it. If they’re not then they shouldn’t take the vow. If they want to serve without the vow, there’s nothing stopping them from doing so — but not as priests. Their families in fact can help them in fact, e.g., in visiting the sick or the aged. While priests “enjoy” a special privilege in administering some sacraments, e.g., matrimony, baptism, there’s nothing keeping the laity from serving in other worthy functions, e.g., serving communion, holding religious studies courses, caring for the upkeep of the parish.
BTW the Orthodox Churches have actually been around for as long as the Catholic Church. For example, the Churches of Antioch and Alexandria were established by St. Paul, I think, and are mentioned in the New Testament. They are also legit from the Catholic standpoint because their episcopal leaders are bishops ordained in succession from the original 12 apostles (Matthias in place of Judas Iscariot). The division is primarily political, as they are doctrinaly united with the Catholic Church.
As for mention earlier about stastics, I think the Washington Post (I may be wrong) released the figure that only about 0.7% of the priests in the US have ever been accused of sexual misconduct. As I said, my source may be wrong. I don’t know about comparing it with other clerical denominations, though, as it doesn’t mean anything if our Church has fewer criminals among its clergy. The fact that it happens at all is bad enough.Posted by: Jeff Tan on December 11, 2002 9:45 PM
While P. Murgos is mostly correct:
It should be pointed out that Peter, for instance, was married, but separated from his wife prior to receiving his priesthood.
Further, marriage is a common practice in the Catholic Eastern Rite, such as the Ukrainian Rite. The only stipulation is that marriage shall take place prior to ordination. The ban on marriage, except for the rare anglican type exception, is for the Western or Latin Rite, which is the Rite which predominates the U.S..
The Rites follow their tradition, the Western was, and is, tranditionally celibate, the Eastern tradition allows for a married clergy.