« The Infinite Present in America's Suffering | Main | Hans Urs von Balthasar »

Sep 17, 2005


joe russell

It appears from the 09/15/05 New York Times report that the Vatican has initiated The Inquisition of the 21st century. I am ashamed to have been baptized a Catholic and, in good conscience, must renounce all association with the Holy See. The Pope has declared a "holy war" and the German Shepard's action legitimizes, and will lead to, the increased persecution and slaughter of gay and lesbian people. The Church is purging its sins of negligence by crucifying a scapegoat, a familiar story to every Christian and Jew. Has a Nazi risen to the Throne of St. Peter? History shows us how the tragedy will end - charred pink triangles scattered amongst the ashes. Others will surely perish too. All who do not speak out against inhumanity share the shame and the sin. Will no one stand up against this horror?
I am in a profound state of fear and despair.


i am saddened for you Joe. the Christ I know offers hope and joy as opposed to fear and despair.


If men feeling same-sex attraction should not be ordained because of pastroal prudence, should Church ordain men feeling opposite-sex attraction? A young handsome priest doesn't run the risk of falling in love with his secretary, or a lonley housewife in his parish and might break the promises of celibacy? Shouldn't the question be on the seminarian's ability to resist those attractions and other forms of temptations? Otherwise, we should only admit "a-sexual" men into seminary.



I see it a little different. It seems to me that the priesthood and seminary formation are designed to work with men who have a natural, opposite-sex attraction. The chastity formation and the psychological and social formation that seminarians received is geared toward heterosexual men. Along with that, the seminary is a place where adult men are encouraged to operate under a spirit of fraternal correction and support. When you have a significant portion of your seminary dealing with an issue such as same sex attraction, it's not conducive to building brotherhood and in fact it's divisive. Go figure, but most straight men would rather not have intimate friendships with men who might be attracted to them. I'm not saying it doesn't or can't happen, I'm just saying it's not something most heterosexual men are comfortable with. You end up with a seminary that is divided, and the "gay" seminarians actually form a sub-culture within the normal culture of the seminary. Subcultures have a tendency to hiding indiscretions and becoming secretive to protect themselves. A young man with same-sex attraction doesn't really get what he needs in a seminary, in respect to his human formation. He either takes hides it and suppresses it, or he joins in the subculture. Needless to say there are those in the subculture who have less than good intentions, or rather whose ideas are contrary to the Church's teachings. This is a recipe for disaster and doesn't create healthy priests.

Hence, you have a pastoral problem. Certainly chastity is an issue for all men, but let's not pretend that those with same sex attraction and those with opposite sex attraction are dealing with the same issue. If you locked me up with a bunch of beautiful buxom women and told me that I needed to be chaste and so did they, would you pretend this is the best place for me to learn chastity? This is exactly what we do to same sex attracted guys in a seminary.

I'm not part of the crowd that says men with same sex attraction can't or shouldn't be ordained. I'm just saying that I understand the prudential and pastoral issues involved. I think that maybe there is a solution beyond the previous laissez faire position and the alternative "throw the bums out" position.


Hello Stephen,
Thanks for your comment and I agree with your perspective of the issue. We can see this also in military and police context where men work closely with each other, and sometimes even entrust their lives to the hands of their brothers; therefore, the fellowship should exclude homosexuality.
Your perspective is very realistic, in the good sense of the term, (in Fr Giussani's sense, precisely), i.e. considering the nature of human activity, not in a pre-conceived ideology, but in the fullness of reality.

I think that my concern is how to define this "attraction." I don't know enough American customs to comment, but I know that some "friendly" gesture in asian or european culture could be construed emotionally charged, and thus should be avoided. And also, in my opinion, it is necessary to see if this "attraction" is real or imaginary.

I am no theologian in this field and I am happy to be corrected. I think your analysis on the "subculture" of same-sex attracted men in a seminary is very correct. And I agree that they are unlikely to be formed into a happy and healthy priest. But in the meantime should we treat these guys like the lepers in the past?

Priests and seminarians should leave an edifying life to sanctify themselves and others, and homosexuality is definitely not an option. However, where is mercy in all these? Laissez-faire is extremely irresponsible and harmful to those guys, because they would not learn the right way; total rejection is also harmful because they are not adequately helped.


sorry, last paragragh should read "Priests and seminarians should LEAD an edifying life...." not LEAVE.

Aidan Maconachy

This decision really goes against the spirit of christianity. I can't imagine Jesus being concerned about any latent tendencies in his disciples. He was more concerned about their love for God and their capacity to serve their fellow men and women.

A homosexual person can love and serve God with the same devotion as a heterosexual.

This is an over-reaction to the moral lapses of the past, and to the rampant pedophilia that has disgraced the church. Better internal safe guards need to put in place, not simply taking the knee jerk approach of banning a man or woman because of their orientation.


First of all, pedophilia isn't rampant. This scandal has involved less than 5% of all priests, I'm not sure that you can call that rampant. Scandalous? Yes. Rampant? Harldy.

I agree with much of what you say, and I'm left wondering, then, what is a truly human response? A resonse that is adequate to our hearts and the circumstances involved.

The comments to this entry are closed.