on the ground

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 28, 2004

John Allen's Word from Rome includes several interesting items this week, including excerpts from an interview with Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright -- one of most original intellects in Christendom -- as well as a discussion of Cardinal Law's new posting. He also gives a (regrettably) plausible prediction concerning the fate of the long-awaited document on non-admission of homosexuals to seminaries. According to Allen's sources, the document has few episcopal backers but will probably get through because of the Pope's personal insistence. The language of the final document, however, will in all likelihood be nuanced enough that it can be safely ignored.

It seems therefore probable that bishops will retain some flexibility in deciding how to apply whatever standards are set out in the document. Dioceses that have a strict policy against the admission of homosexuals will continue, but those who emphasize a candidate's capacity for celibacy, rather than sexual orientation in se, could argue that such a candidate is not "homosexual" in the sense intended under the norms. It's possible, therefore, that the thunderclap the document will cause in the press will not be matched by changed realities on the ground.

A nicely worded euphemism.

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  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2004 10:12 PM ET USA

    "altar boy" is on the right track. Like a sprout of poison ivy in a forest, a celibate homosexual priest constitutes limited risk to colleagues who keep a watchful distance. That prudent isolation by tentmates fosters his urge to nourish pals of like attraction, a psychological imperative. Contagion replaces unit cohesion. Through political activism, administrative neglect and cultural collapse, the vine creeps to embrace nature. A wise troop disdains playing with it. He must be transplanted.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2004 5:05 PM ET USA

    In fairness to Wright, one can argue that capitalism affect the human spirit, leading persons to see all things in terms of economic units, as commodities which have 'price', rather than 'dignity'. If so, then abortion might be said to be a hideous symptom of the capitalist approach (similar, ironically, to the socialist/communist approach). If all Wright means that there has been a movement in terms of the nature of valuing, from intrinsic to economic, he is not far off of the mark...

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2004 3:51 PM ET USA

    I can already hear the whining about invading a candidate's privacy and mindreading. This ought to go the way of the directives from the Vatican..just a little breeze, nothing more.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2004 3:20 PM ET USA

    The issue isn’t homosexuals in the seminary, it’s homosexual ideology being taught to seminarians in an attempt to gain acceptance for the perverse behavior that inevitably follows. It is the “homosexual sub-culture” (re. Michael Rose) that Church fathers need to destroy. Certainly, some homosexuals can be celibate and can be good priests, but their numbers in the priesthood should not vary greatly from the 2-3% range of all society. Beware this behavioral formulation: Often = Normative = Good.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2004 2:05 PM ET USA

    As much as I enjoy N.T. Wright's books, his political stances are absolutely wacko. According to don Wright, the biggest moral failure of the second half of the 20th century is not abortion, but rather "global capitalistic structures"!!?! That makes me SICK! 40 million dead babies (in the U.S. alone) and Wright is wringing his hands over economics? Please temper your praise or you will encourage earnest seekers to follow his absurd lead.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2004 11:19 AM ET USA

    After the last four decades of experience, I am not sure that it's a good idea to leave the bishops retain any flexibility about anything. If ever there was a collective group that needed "tough love" they are it. At the same time, thunderclaps at the top and from the press usually do not produce rain on the ground. Like most of pronouncements, they are full of sound an fury signifying nothing.