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Condition Red

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 30, 2005

The New York Times's Laurie Goodstein is reporting that leaders of U.S. men's religious orders plan to travel to Rome to protest the Doomsday Doc:

Responding to reports that the Vatican may be close to releasing a directive to exclude most gay candidates from entering the priesthood, leaders of Roman Catholic men's religious orders in the United States are planning to travel to Rome to voice their objections in person. The trip is one of the steps by leaders of Catholic religious orders to try to reassure priests and seminarians who have been rattled by news of a possible Vatican ban on the ordination of gay men.

The disputed document has not yet been released, so everyone --including your Uncle Di -- is reacting to surmises based on press reports and the 20th chapter of Leviticus (issued only a couple millennia ago and yet to be digested by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men). The letters of two Jesuit provincials are quoted by the NYT, the superiors of the provinces of New York and Oregon:

The provincial of the New York province of Jesuits, the Rev. Gerald J. Chojnacki, also sent a letter to his priests on Monday denouncing any move to exclude homosexuals. "We know that God does not discriminate," Father Chojnacki wrote. "We know that gay men who have responded to the call have served the church well as priests and religious -- and so why would we be asked to discriminate based on orientation alone against those whom God has called and invited?"

He wrote that he had participated in the funerals of "some very fine and distinguished Jesuits" who were also gay men. "I find it insulting to demean their memory and their years of service by even hinting that they were unfit for priesthood because of their sexual orientation," wrote Father Chojnacki, who leads one of the largest Jesuit provinces in the country, with 437 men.

Father Chojnacki forbears to mention by name any of the "very fine and distinguished Jesuits" who were gay, so we're not in a position to examine the evidence and make our judgment of the matter. All the more curious, then, that he claims the presumed directive would "demean their memory." If I don't know whom we're talking about, how can I attach a memory to them, demeaning or otherwise? If you won't show me your poker hand -- fine, you're under no obligation to do so. But then you can't complain when my pair of treys scoops the kitty. By the same token, if Staten Island's most distinguished priest-theologian was a necrophile (by orientation rather than lifestyle, let us say), yet did not see fit to advertise this fact, we do not demean his memory by contending that necrophiles are unfit for priesthood.

Maybe the folks in Rome can explain it to them.

Postscript: apart from his misguided contention that, for Mediterraneans, No means Maybe, John Allen has some very judicious remarks on the Doomsday Doc in this week's NCR.

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Show 16 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2005 1:23 PM ET USA

    I was ordained in 2004, and I knew several men who were dismissed for various reasons. It was good that they left; had they been ordained it would have harmed them and the Church. At the same time, I didn't see their departure as a cause for gleeful, smug rejoicing. They entered hoping to serve God, and their disappointment was painful to witness. I'm wondering about the lack of charity of some of the contributors to this website. The Gospel demands speaking the truth with love, not hatred.

  • Posted by: Pete133 - Oct. 01, 2005 1:37 PM ET USA

    I'm horrified that the upcoming document might be issued in Latin--still the official language of the Church. Will ICEL then become involved in the translation? Will the English version take the same decades to translate as it has taken to "correctly" translate the Novus Ordo of Pope Paul VI? How much "latitude" will be allowed the cardinals and bishops in "interpreting" the REAL INTENT of the document? Unfortunately Pope Benedict needs to issue an English version simply saying "STOP!!!!"

  • Posted by: Mike128 - Oct. 01, 2005 1:35 PM ET USA

    Every time I read the comments of Diogenes I want to start a campaign to place him in the Vatican as " Assistant Pope" His wisdom and ability to zero in on the essentials of the problem are sorely needed in the Church where he can advise and get the word through the hard heads such as these leaders of these religious orders. The resistance to Rome on almost any subject, by these gay leaders and their obstinate disobedience in the face of Church teachings and the gospels is disgraceful & sinful.

  • Posted by: Mike128 - Oct. 01, 2005 1:25 PM ET USA

    Those priests and bishops who are gay are going to know the feelings of "being different" just as those Marian priests felt who were persecuted by the gay priests and bishops and sent to pyschaitric clinics to "heal" them( that is, bring them in line with the gay culture which has permeated the Church).Some five or more years back I read in a Jesuit magazine that they estimated the gay population of that order to be 76 percent or more. Should Fr. Chojnacki's fight for his troops surprise us?.

  • Posted by: SentimentalGent - Oct. 01, 2005 11:54 AM ET USA

    Please, please, let us all pray that the Vatican is taking names in all this. When the seminaries (and hopefully chanceries and other church offices) are being surveyed, hopefully these protestors (protestants?) are inadvertantly provide a short list of the earliest places to go. It is sad state of affairs when so many priests who have taken vows of obedience are so blatantly disobedient. Now they take to Rome their own version of the "95 Theses." They're nothing more than "Little Luthers."

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Oct. 01, 2005 6:44 AM ET USA

    It is not by chance that these provincials issued these comments they are the two of the provinces in the S. J. most infested with this diabolical plague. The General needs to appoint new provincials, novice masters, formation directors and vocation directors who are solid heterosexual, devout, orthodox men. Then the purging process can begin: punishing the ideologues of homosexualism, isolating the infected elements, and renewing the blood supply with new vocations.

  • Posted by: hUMPTY dUMPTY - Oct. 01, 2005 6:21 AM ET USA

    Quite simply, the Religous Orders worry about Chastity, whereas the Diocesan Prelates and Rome worry about Celibacy. Perhaps we married Lay Persons can demonstrate that non-Celibates can be Chaste, e.g. that Chaste Persons can be married whilst observing that Celibates can be Chaste. WWJD

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Sep. 30, 2005 9:25 PM ET USA

    it would seem that with this report being out front & center in major publications (no, not CWNews!) that if it were not true then the Vatican would have said something denying it. Or, at least some Cardinal who has submitted his resignation (which has not yet been accepted) would come out and tell us why he FEELS it's not true.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 30, 2005 8:48 PM ET USA

    God does indeed discriminate! Man is told not to 'judge lest yea be judged'. God ALONE is final judge, and judge He will. He separated night from day, land from sea, and He has declared right from wrong. God discriminates between good & evil. God created order from nothing while heterodox Catholics continue to seek to equate God to man's level; God has made clear that His ways are not our ways. So these gay priests need to go back to scripture, pray, repent, & reform their lives... as do we all!

  • Posted by: principle not pragmatism - Sep. 30, 2005 7:01 PM ET USA

    Maybe "Father" Walter Cuenin will join them!

  • Posted by: Elias566 - Sep. 30, 2005 6:46 PM ET USA

    This gives a whole new meaning to the expression, "the fruits of Vatican II", doesn't it?

  • Posted by: patriot6908 - Sep. 30, 2005 5:13 PM ET USA

    "We know that God does not discriminate," Father Chojnacki wrote. Oh? And how exactly does Fr. Chojnacki "know" what God thinks? What are we then to make of Scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality? One enters very arrogant and/or ignorant areas when claiming knowledge about God that just seems to be in line with one's own thinking. While this condition is common to us all, those of a progressive religious bent seem to be most severely affected. And the consequence for such hubris is?

  • Posted by: - Sep. 30, 2005 4:31 PM ET USA

    Uncle Di, if the Doomsday Doc is promulgated, do you think the Vatican will send the complete text of the English translation only to Teddy Cardinal McCarrick (in order that His Eminence might properly instruct his brother bishops on what is certain to be a highly nuanced document)?

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Sep. 30, 2005 2:28 PM ET USA

    Building on Fr. V's remarks: How odd of Fr. Chojnacki to talk about "funerals" and "the memory" of now-dead priests. When we think of, say, Polish priests, or tall priests, do we instantly think of dead ones? Why does Fr.C think of dead priests when he thinks of SSA priests? Let's face it, it's because a lot of them are recently dead of AIDS, which disease they got while and from committing gravely sinful acts. Fr.C knows these guys were (pervertedly) sexually active and thinks that's okay.

  • Posted by: Lucius - Sep. 30, 2005 10:38 AM ET USA

    I find the certitude amazing that religious/priest X is a) gay and b) a fine guy serving the Church. Are there files on gay members of the community and isn't this acknowledgment of a gay subculture within the order protected by gay superiors? Diogenes is right about lack of specification: how many of the funerals that the Jesuit provincial attended were deaths from AIDS, for example? These superiors need to be removed because they are in open rebellion against Church doctrine and discipline.

  • Posted by: benedictusoblatus - Sep. 30, 2005 9:56 AM ET USA

    While these "leaders of U.S. men's religious orders" are in Rome, perhaps they can do something actually useful for the Church and society. The facades of many churches in Rome are being cleaned ... perhaps they can be prevailed upon to take part in the process. When they are done in Rome they can move on to France.

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