Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

unclear on the concept?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 02, 2005

Bewilderment, from Judy Thomas's 2001 Kansas City Star series:

"When young men go into seminary, they don't even know what celibacy is," said [Fr. Harry] Morrison, a California priest who has AIDS. "A lot of this technical language, these Latin phrases, all you know is there's something to be afraid of. You don't even know exactly what it means."

Not buying it, Father. Maybe it's true that some of the dimmer seminarians aren't sure which technical label goes with which sin, but every normal 12-year-old knows when it's wrong to lower his trousers. Your pretended confusion is simply a fiction used to evade moral accountability.

And the fiction lives on. Have you noticed how many clergymen are claiming to be totally baffled by the language of the Doomsday Doc? They'd have us believe, Morrison-like, that every key phrase of the Instruction leaves them less instructed than before:

deeply-seated homosexual tendencies -- "whatever that means ...!"
objectively disordered -- "whatever that means ...!"
spiritual paternity -- "whatever that means ...!"
transitory -- "whatever that means ...!"
gay culture -- "whatever that means ...!"

Not buying it, Fathers. Methinks, indeed, your bamboozlement doth protest too much. The standout second baseman "Buzzy" Wittgenstein used to distinguish between a criterion and a symptom. To borrow Buzzy's terminology: the claim to be confused by the Church's instructions concerning this objective disorder, though not a criterion, is a symptom of the disorder in question. Vide Harry Morrison, passim.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach five million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our April expenses ($26,306 to go):
$35,000.00 $8,694.48
75% 25%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 12 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Dec. 03, 2005 10:30 AM ET USA

    As I have said before, it will take more than words "to clean the stables." The Church needs to act. She will have the support of most of the laity. The Vatican has issued more forceful documents in the past, only to have them ignored. Sack a few bishops and most seminary faculties, and vocations will sky-rocket. You mark my words.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 03, 2005 10:10 AM ET USA

    I'm not buying his complaint, either.

  • Posted by: snowbird - Dec. 03, 2005 5:08 AM ET USA

    Once again, Dio. has said it so well. Our house needs to be cleaned and cleansed. We heard a lot about celibacy in our very first year at the Sem and it continued thereon.. .in formal talks given by the Spiritual Director and the Rector of the Sem. I say: we well knew what we were choosing way before we got to the "Latin phrases" in Theo. I. The problem? Some chose to change their decision and married later on. That's another story.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Dec. 02, 2005 7:22 PM ET USA

    These bewildered academics who are now saying "whatever that means" were supposed to be the intellectual wunderkind of the American Church. How on earth did they get to be so dumb, so fast?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 02, 2005 5:13 PM ET USA

    "but every normal 12-year-old knows when it's wrong to lower his trousers" That's why I don't buy the "deep-seated" thing. Say those "tendencies" disappear for three years, and then come back later-- when pressure to marry from parents lifts now that the perfect solution has been found? People can convince themselves of much, minds are tricky things, desires in general change as we age, others influence...wouldn't it have been more prudent to say, unequivocally; "no homosexuals of all shades "?

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Dec. 02, 2005 5:07 PM ET USA

    Further, let's hope a few more Father Morrisons step forward to be counted among the validly ordained traitors and dissenters. We can certainly clean the stables a little more swiftly that way. Although I am not sure where they might serve in the Church, I am certain their service should NOT be in a parish or seminary. And as for bishops with Father Morrison's protracted problems with responsibility & obedience, may they step forward for a Canon 401-2 certificate.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Dec. 02, 2005 4:57 PM ET USA

    Yes, Diogenes, there are some amongst my brothers who would actually try (and they continue to try) to convince us that they are so confused about the Church's Teachings... to the point of trying to confuse others. As you well point out, we (priests and laypersons) are to stand with Jesus and His Church, the Magisterium, the Holy Father. There is no other place to be if one is truly striving by God's grace to be a Catholic.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Dec. 02, 2005 1:47 PM ET USA

    it would seem, in the context of the doc, that "deeply seated" would be those tendencies that a young man has not grown out of - tendencies that are not transistory; tendencies that the young person doesn't grow out of. In other words, those who have homosexual tendencies in that 3 year period before ordination may well not be eligible for the priesthood because since they haven't grown out of them--- they may not be transistory problems and are thus "deeply seated."

  • Posted by: - Dec. 02, 2005 1:16 PM ET USA

    Wittgenstein, Habermas, nonce and jot and tittle. Uncle Di, you are a learned man. Wish I knew where to buy your books.

  • Posted by: FrPhillips - Dec. 02, 2005 1:13 PM ET USA

    I may be clueless, but after reading the story linked from the Kansas City Star, I still can't figure out how being more "open" and "understanding" about homosexuality would lessen the incidences of AIDS. Presumably, homosexuals are "open" and "understanding," and yet it is within that group that there are found the most cases of AIDS.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 02, 2005 12:25 PM ET USA

    "Deeply-seated" is a very appropriate term. Without being vulgar, it is quite descriptive of homosexual tendencies. Yes, even the dimmest of seminarians ought to understand that.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 02, 2005 11:09 AM ET USA

    "deeply-seated homosexual tendencies -- "whatever that means ...!" That was the one area that did seem gray to me....tendencies can vary in degree---who defines deep-seated and what is the cut-off point between deep-seated and transitory? Also, since the Church is rather slow to weed out dissidents and the idea of an honor system is a foreign concept to homosexuals, it seems that there is a lot left open to interpretation.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Improving the Church 12 hours ago
Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 2: The Impact of Grace 14 hours ago
Smaller Church, Bigger Faith? The Problem of the New Evangelization April 14
Significant Items on the Verge of Holy Week April 11
How same-sex marriage erodes personal freedom and enhances state power April 11

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days