the tribute paid by vice
By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 05, 2005
Father Donald Cozzens-- the researcher who noted that the priesthood is becoming perceived as a gay enclave-- opposes a ban on homosexual seminarians. One point he raises is that "in many cases the seminary official, religious superior or diocesan bishop who informs a gay candidate for seminary admission that he is not acceptable will be gay himself."
That's undoubtedly true. But is it really an argument?
Let's take another disorder, less freighted with political controversy. Let's imagine that Church leaders discover-- as well they might-- that alcoholism is a major problem in the priesthood. So the word goes out that alcoholics should not be admitted into seminaries.
(Notice that a disposition toward alcoholism, like an attraction to the same sex, is a condition that virtuous people can and do fight; there are many admirable men who identify themselves as alcoholics, and never take a drink. Let's assume, for the purpose of our discussion, that everyone involved falls into this category: someone with a disordered disposition, who struggles-- successfully-- to lead a morally upright life.)
So the time comes when a young man, who has identified himself as an alcoholic, is told by the seminary rector-- himself a recovering alcoholic-- that his weakness disqualifies him from the priesthood. By Father Cozzens' logic, that rector is being a hypocrite. A more charitable reading of the facts would be that the older man, knowing the severity of the struggle that he himself has faced, wants to spare the young seminarian from a fight in which the odds are stacked against him.
Things would be quite different, admittedly, if that rector were still drinking. Then he would be a hypocrite. But his hypocrisy would not be an argument against the policy. The proper solution would be for the rector to go on the wagon, not to deny that he and the seminarian both had a problem.
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