Action Alert!

bait & switch

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 17, 2006

No, they don't come out and say "We're ignoring the Doomsday Doc," but it amounts to the same thing. LA seminary rector Helmut Hefner, ostensibly commenting on Pastores Dabo Vobis, seizes on the term "affective maturity" so as to spin it in precisely the opposite direction of last November's Instruction. This from The Tidings:

"We pay close attention to the human formation of the individual, both in the application process and in the admissions process, as well as here at St. John's," says Msgr. Hefner, ordained from St. John's in 1969 and its rector since 2001. "John Paul used the phrase 'affective maturity,' which he called 'the result of an education in true and responsible love.' We use the term 'psychosexual maturity,' but both reflect a stable, firmly grounded sexual life. That is what we seek to determine in the interview process of candidates before they even set foot in the door."

Note the fatal equivocation in the phrase "firmly grounded sexual life." Firmly grounded in what? The Holy See's Instruction addressed and answered the question so as to exclude men who have not overcome homosexual tendencies. Los Angeles is keeping its options open:

In this process -- including interviews with Vocations Office directors and seminary officials as well as staff psychologists -- "you weed out those who are likely to be sexual offenders because you discover the warning signals: for example, an unclear sexual orientation, an interest in juvenile or non-age-appropriate activities, a lack of adequate peer relationships, whether that person was himself a victim. These are among the indicators of psychosexual immaturity, and psychosexual immaturity is present in those who are sexual abusers."

The red flag, note, is an "unclear sexual orientation," and candidates with a homosexual libido, provided it's unambiguous, obviously meet LA's standards for maturity. Bracketing the question of the extent to which homosexuality is a contributing factor in sexual abuse, this reading of affective maturity is in flat defiance of the Holy See's. The name of Pope John Paul is purely incantatory, invoked to reassure the inattentive that, while the Archdiocese is accepting candidates they were instructed not to accept, folks who quote the pope can't be up to mischief. Ironically, the incapacity to confront the disputed issue head-on is a performative confirmation that it's the Vatican that has it right.

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