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The Chaste Ghost in the Gay Machine

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 12, 2003

Picking up on Leila's post on homosexual priests, I was struck by Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's line in the June CWR:

"The Church must judge the people who are ordained on what kind of person they are, not their sexuality."

Had Murphy-O'Connor said, "The Church must judge the people who are ordained on what kind of person they are, of which their sexuality is only one of many factors," one could profitably argue about how important a part sexuality plays, but as it is the Cardinal's remark is bewildering. Does he really mean that, e.g., a man's necrophiliac libido has nothing to do with what kind of person he is?

In the 1960s and 1970s, liberal Catholics were characteristically enthusiastic about the personalist and humanistic trends in philosophy and psychology, especially those aspects which invited us to embrace a more "wholistic" view of the perceiving, judging, acting person. Today, of course, liberal churchmen are overwhelmingly gay or gay-friendly, and have either purged themselves of convictions embarrassing to homosexuals or pledged themselves to silence about them. In terms of the history of ideas, it's ironic that fuzzy, feel-good Catholics like Murphy-O'Connor have reversed course and sought refuge in a Cartesian anthropology, simply to make the case for homosexual priests less implausible.

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  • Posted by: Phil - Jul. 12, 2003 2:18 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, I'm sure you also picked up on the fact that Murphy-O'Connor spoke of the "people" who are ordained, and how "they" deal with "their" sexuality. If you knew nothing about the cardinal before reading this statement, you'd already have reason for concern: Why is he backing away from the obvious fact that these "people" are men?

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