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.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 13 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jun. 21, 2006 6:03 AM ET USA

    Stories such as these will never cease, but do not lose heart. The earthly institution has always been plagued by liars, poseurs, and deviants who are, for reasons no one has adequately explained, drawn to a life that entails such a radical rejection of their impulses. The divine construct, that supernatural mystery that is constantly at work in human lives, can never be vanquished. Prayer and personal piety are antidotes that will never fail the faithful. Thanks again, Uncle Di.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jun. 19, 2006 6:31 PM ET USA

    Benedictusoblatus, that's a dreadful, horrible thing to say about the men whom we in the pews rely upon for spiritual leadership---the most important of all. It is an appalling, revolting thing to say of those upon we must rely for teaching of the true faith. It is shameful and shocking. Downright nasty. Also, alas, true.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 19, 2006 4:52 PM ET USA

    Viewing the current landscape within the American Catholic Church we see a body of largely ignorant people willing to be led about by the nose by corrupt clergy who have little supernatural faith. This is why you never hear sermons on the Last Things. This is why bishops crow about making their churches "safe for the children." You never hear about promoting the salvation and sanctification of souls because these guys couldn't care less. This is the fruit of Apostasy.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 18, 2006 8:40 PM ET USA

    Ignacio, your comment betrays an ignorance of any knowledge of the psychology of homosexual attractions. Homosexual men do not want what heterosexual women want. The origins of their attractions make them seek male love in unhealthy ways. Perhaps you might take the time to read this article by Richard Fitzgibbons, a preeminent Catholic psychiatrist who treats many men with homosexual difficulties.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 18, 2006 5:34 PM ET USA

    Let's see... a cardinal wears red. What does a cardinal whose doctrine is diluted wear? Pink?

  • Posted by: shrink - Jun. 18, 2006 1:17 PM ET USA

    It is not a matter of compliance with the doomsday doc. When an organization becomes corrupt, it cannot be reformed, it must simply be closed, and if re-opened, it must be under completely new management. If no seminaries are closed as a result of the seminary visitations that concluded last spring, it is as clear an indication as any that the Vatican and this Pope are not ultimately interested in fixing the problem.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 18, 2006 10:19 AM ET USA

    This is the predictable product of a document that is seriously flawed in the first instance. The ambiguities, qualifications, equivocations of the document (could there be a more asinine formulation than "affective maturity"?) seem almost designed to permit this sort of thing. When one has to resort to extraneous "explanations" of the document's meaning, the efficacy is lost. "Defiance"? No; interpretation and exegesis. Nothing is as it seems.

  • Posted by: Eagle - Jun. 18, 2006 9:05 AM ET USA

    I agree with Novak. For offenders, when there's no penalty or enforcement, there's no compliance. It would be wonderful if belief in the particular and final judgment would be a sufficient inducement to effect compliance. But that belief didn't prevent the conditions which led to the Reformation, and it won't insure compliance with the "Doomsday Doc" or other moral doctrine. For ecclesial discipline, that leaves Rome for the Church militant. Why Rome has abdicated this duty I don't know.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 17, 2006 11:01 PM ET USA

    Fr. Neuhaus warned that the gay doc will be a defining moment for this pontificate as Humanae Vitae's was for Paul VI. So far Rome has been silent on the various subterfuges and tendentious readings of the document on the part of the "usual suspects" and various bishops. Will this be yet another document that Rome has floated without any will to back it up? Is Rome serious about homosexuality in the clergy? The clock is ticking.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 17, 2006 2:55 PM ET USA

    The admission process has been woefully deficient in screening out candidates with homosexual preferences. This has earned St. John's the dubious distinction of being called a "pink" palace. How does the Cardinal intend to correct this issue? Strict compliance with Rome's directives might be a start.

  • Posted by: NonSumDignus - Jun. 17, 2006 1:21 PM ET USA

    And learn to spell!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 17, 2006 10:36 AM ET USA

    Your "point" about what healthy women want makes no sense at all. Healthy women, faithful to Church teaching, want and embrace chastity. You have gone off the deep end and need to do some serious re-thinking - and do it before the sun sets!

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Jun. 17, 2006 8:59 AM ET USA

    The fact is that vicious sodomites have their wills corrupted. They want what a healthy woman wants. The will is the rational appitite not just sensual appitite. When the will becomes corrupted it chooses to follow the senual impulses without placing them under rational control. At worst they willfully deny the truth of human nature and divine vocation to holyness and at least are vencibly ignorant. Such a man should not be a priest.