bombing the ban

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 23, 2005

"I feel like a Jew in Berlin in the 1930's," said a 48-year-old gay priest who has spent 18 years in a religious order. He said he was considering donning a pink triangle -- the symbol used by the Nazis -- and getting heterosexual priests and members of the laity to wear the triangles as a protest.

You have to laugh at the palm-to-the-forehead dramatics of gay priests (and their, ahem, fellow travelers) pretending that the Vatican's prohibition of homosexual seminarians means doomsday is nigh. Whatever the document ultimately says, the U.S. bishops, being the men they are, will implement it with exactly the same alacrity and punctiliousness with which they implemented Ex Corde Ecclesiae and Redemptionis Sacramentum -- in short, the document will make not the slightest concrete difference in the conduct of a single bishop. Those disposed to enforce it have already been doing so unbidden. Those who are hostile, lazy, or weak will make the linguistic policy adjustments needed to feign compliance while continuing to turn a blind eye to the sordid realities.

Does that mean the new doc will be useless? Not entirely. Even unenforced regulations have a value in planting a flag where one believes the truth to be, and in unexpected ways they announce to a community the dimly-remembered nobility of its own ideals, as Hadley Arkes explained in discussing unenforced civil laws against sodomy:

The point was suggested, in a simple example, several years back. A Florida prostitute brought an action in a court of small claims complaining about a bad check she had received from one of her clients. The judge sympathized in a way with the person defrauded, but he had to remind her that prostitution was, after all, against the law. That law was not typically enforced in a rigorous way, or with any serious expectation of purging from the public the vice of prostitution. But the practice was made slightly more hazardous by the fact that judges could not be called upon to enforce a contract for a purpose regarded as immoral or wrong in the law.

I think the Instruction should be viewed in the same way: as an educative and hortatory measure. Of course it won't purge the clergy. Probably a third of the bishops are afflicted with the disorder that the CDW declared renders a man "not fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders," and however the ban is finally worded, were the strictures to be taken seriously, the legitimacy of their own ministry would be imperilled. For the USCCB, the easiest tack will be to welcome the document publicly, simultaneously declaring that it amounts to a Vatican confirmation of their own efforts, back when the U.S. bishops fixed the problem (of course you remember!) three, or five, or seven years ago. That way -- as with Ex Corde Ecclesiae and Redemptionis Sacramentum -- verbal loyalty is upheld and no one gets hurt but the faithful. The upshot: Rigidity will continue to be screened out, flexibility will continue to be screened in, hot tubs will continue to parboil the liturgists of tomorrow, and mitred heads will stay mitred.

They'll have to eat a few bad checks, though.

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Sep. 25, 2005 11:31 AM ET USA

    Dear grainsofhope, Jesus is NOT sleeping in the boat, but Peter most certainly is, Jesus continues to give strength and wisdom to those who ask but will certainly not force those graces on anyone. If the leaders of the Church Militant refuse to be so who suffers? Souls will go to Hell... and they will answer for it.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Sep. 24, 2005 7:00 PM ET USA

    Thank you for that beautiful meditation "grainsofhope." It is of the utmost importance that each of us possess like humility as we commiserate on this forum about the disorders buffeting the Church. Each of us is radically in need of God's Mercy! Jesus, I Trust in You!

  • Posted by: - Sep. 24, 2005 1:21 AM ET USA

    Jesus sleeps in our boat. We are buffeted by the storm: the wind howls; the waves crash around us; we fear the boat is about to capsize. Yet, when Jesus awakens and takes charge of the elementals, we are even more firghtened because His Authority shows us that others are not greater sinners than we are. God our Father, please send us holy priests: all for the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus; all for the sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary;all in union with St. Joseph

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Sep. 24, 2005 12:54 AM ET USA

    (1) When a man uses the word "gay" he is an active homosexual. (2) Since 1961 or so, the Church has had a rule on record that any man who is homosexual should not be admitted to the seminary for the priesthood. The rule has NEVER been officially changed or abrogated since that time. (3) Catechism ##2357-2359: Homosexual inclination is objectively disordered. Homosexual acts are of grave depravity & intrinsically disordered. A priest i.d.'s himself as "gay"? Bye, bye. Pray for his conversion.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 24, 2005 12:48 AM ET USA

    Hannah I agree with you that the press has demonized the church, but I'd be careful to blame only the democrat/catholics. The American Conservative has an article about a great Catholic basher, Christopher Hitchens, who is a darling of republican neocons in National Review, The Weekly Standard, and even by DubbaYa himself. The Democrats aren't the only ones cuddling up with the gay community. The Repubs are not far behind.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 24, 2005 12:41 AM ET USA

    Punch, How does he know he is gay?That is just ludicrous. When I was a child beer looked so good to me in the glass, I thought I really wanted it until I tasted it. I then realized it wasn't for me. This nonsense people have of identifying their personhood as gay is a bunch of bologna. Are people who are attracted to animals or blowing alfalfa animalsexuals or agrisexuals. People and creatures are male or female, they reproduce. It is natures way. More naval gazing will not change the fact

  • Posted by: - Sep. 23, 2005 11:23 PM ET USA

    Because Punch, I imagine that for straight Priests it would be rather uncomfortable to be in close quarters with someone who found them sexually attractive...considering what we ask of them, isn't their comfort a priority? Look at it this way---If I had a tendency toward thievery would it be a wise thing to have me work in the U.S.Treasury?

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Sep. 23, 2005 10:49 PM ET USA

    Punch: thank God the Priest you mentioned is living a celibate life! But that exception doesn't DISprove the rule: homosexuality is gravely disorder. BTW 1952, Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) listed homosexuality among the sociopathic personality disturbances. -1968, DSM II removed homosexuality from the sociopathic list, categorizing it with other sexual deviations. -1973 DSM III homosexuality was considered a problem only when it was dissatisfying to the person. hmm

  • Posted by: - Sep. 23, 2005 6:44 PM ET USA

    In 2000, researching fot a book I was writing, I interviewed a UK priest who said couldn't tell even his closest friends in the parish that he was gay because the would presume he was sexually active. "I've haven't had sex with anybody ever," he said. "I prize my celibacy because it allows me to give my heart and soul to my Lord and Saviour and to serving his people in his church." According to some of the posts on here, this man is not worthy of priesthood. Why?

  • Posted by: - Sep. 23, 2005 6:19 PM ET USA

    Any priest who self-identifies as 'gay', has already condemned himself. He is not someone who is struggling with a Pauline 'thorn in the flesh' - prepared to fight temptation and cooperate with God's grace ("My grace is sufficient for you..."). He is not looking for redemption, but affirmation. But Our Lord will not affirm him - though his like-minded bishop may. But it is not his bishop who has the "words of eternal life". Woe to him who has heard the word of God but has not kept it.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 23, 2005 5:48 PM ET USA

    Father V: I couldn't agree more. The press has spent the last few years demonizing the whole Church for pedophilia, and when the Church finally decides to make deeper changes within to change the problem, the press sympathizes with the sinful! I think the socialist/secularist press will only be content when the Church is completely dismantled...have to get rid of the competition! For you loyalist Democrat Catholics, remember whose side you're really supporting.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 23, 2005 5:12 PM ET USA

    I wonder reading all these testimonies of woe and dismay how many of them are real? Given the penchant of the press and PC crowd today, it is not beyond the realm of probability that some of these quotes and testimonies are phony. The certitude of people interviewed that seminarian/priest X is gay and that he is celibate is also amazing. A lot of anecdotal evidence is surfacing towards which a healthy skepticism should be directed. It will ohly get worse when the actual document arrives.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Sep. 23, 2005 4:08 PM ET USA

    Go ahead, put on the pink triangle... BUT, just remember, no authority in the Church is demanding you do so.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 23, 2005 3:52 PM ET USA

    Hopefully the document will acquire more significance as new bishops are consecrated and old ones retire. I predict that Pope Benedict will pay close attention to whom he is appointing.