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Why haven't you heard about THIS papal quote?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Nov 30, 2010

If you want to drum up controversy on the basis of one quote pulled out of the Pope's book-length interview Light of the World, how about this one, found on page 152:

Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.

Unlike the now-famous quotation about condom use, this sentence isn't pulled out of context. The Pope isn't merely speculating. He isn't raising a possible objection or exception to his own argument. His point is clear. 

Pope Benedict reminds his interviewer: "The Congregation for Education issued a decision a few years ago to the effect that homosexual candidates cannot become priests..."

Oh, sure; we all remember that decision. As soon as it came out, American seminary administrators rushed to "clarify," saying that the Vatican intended that rule to apply only to active homosexuals. The Pope thinks otherwise; he speaks of homosexual orientation, not homosexual activity. He explains that homosexuals cannot become priests "...because their sexual orientation estranges them from the proper sense of paternity, from the intrinsic nature of priestly being." 

This isn't a trivial concern, the Pope adds:

The greatest attention is needed here in order to prevent the intrusion of this kind of ambiguity and to head off a situation where the celibacy of priests would practically end up being identified with the tendency to homosexuality.

Somehow this passage of the book has, to date, escaped the attention of commentators. It does come 34 pages later. Maybe they'll get there soon.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: unum - Dec. 02, 2010 12:50 PM ET USA

    The U.S. bishops could learn a lot from the Holy Father ... if they would only listen.

  • Posted by: mamato085337 - Dec. 02, 2010 8:09 AM ET USA

    Thank you for this; I didn't know what the Pope said on this issue. I applaud our Pope for his courage and for his clear explanation of why a homosexual cannot be a Priest. I find it a teaching lesson, which is of course what a Pope is supposed to do. Vive il Papa!

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