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Condition Rose

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 11, 2005

It's Gaudete Sunday, and Robert McClory dons tinted specs to pitch a fit about the Doomsday Doc.

The Vatican's recent instruction on barring gays from the seminary may be the worst document issued by the church since it declared in 1866 (three years after the Emancipation Proclamation) that "slavery itself ... is not at all contrary to the divine and natural law."

For centuries, gay priests, bishops, even cardinals have served the church and all its people with dedication and dignity.

Easy now, Robert my lad. Let's do a little stock-taking here.

It's unlikely that you have discovered secret diaries in which, "for centuries," priests, bishops, and cardinals have confided they were gay. By what means, then, do you arrive at your conclusion? We're talking about those who served the Church honorably, remember, so that puts them below the normal historical radar. It seems to me there are two ways of proceeding.

1) You could assert what you elsewhere deny and, by looking for evidence of twee-ness or effeminancy among upright clergymen of the past, deduce their homosexual libido from their abnormality, from minor defects that set them apart from their contemporaries. This is doable, but I doubt it's a path you'd be inclined to take.

2) Alternatively, you could claim that upright homosexual clergymen, viewed from outside, are entirely indistinguishable from their heterosexual colleagues. How then can you know they existed? You'd need to argue that, in any given population of men, a predictable distribution of proclivities will obtain, and therefore a certain percentage will be homosexual. The fact that these men are all bachelors lends a prima facie plausibility to the claim.

Fine, so we posit a number of "stealth" homosexuals -- chaste, unflamboyant -- who are unidentifiable by any historical means. It won't do to quote Lady Fotherington's letter expressing suspicions about Archbishop LaCasse because, if she's right, his Grace was guilty of a lapse of dedication or dignity or both. So what we're talking about, Mr. McClory, is the color of cats in a dark room. "There's an invisible tortoiseshell in the cellar!" How do you know? "Well, the cellar looks empty, doesn't it? Q.E.D."

Now here's the crunch. Once you remove the rose-colored specs, you realize that these invisible homosexuals "look" a lot like what the Doomsday Doc has in mind in speaking of men with tendenze superate, tendencies that have been fully overcome. You can put such a guy next to a normal hetero priest and, if both are committed and honorable, they can live out their entire priestly lives in spiritual tranquility, such that those not privy to their adolescence can't see a difference. So meet me halfway. I'll concede an intuitively reasonable number of unidentifiable homosexuals in the Church's past, if you'll insist that those in her future remain unidentifiable as well -- if you admit, that is, that the DDD is right. Deal?

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