Sunday, January 30, 2005

Be Afraid:

A gay priest has written (anonymously) a moving piece in Commonweal about homosexuality, the priesthood, and the "much-anticipated document addressing the issue of whether gay men can be ordained priests" that the Vatican is expected to release shortly. He notes that some expect the Vatican to issue an outright ban on homosexuals in the priesthood, and that already gay priests in many jurisdictions are forbidden from speaking openly about their sexuality.

He also writes:

Throughout the history of the church, homosexual men and women have found the priesthood and religious life both a refuge and a fulfilling way of life. As Richard John Neuhaus noted (First Things, June-July 2002): “It would seem more than likely that, in centuries past, some priests who have been canonized as saints would meet today’s criteria as having a ‘homosexual orientation.’”

. . . Some have suggested that the Vatican may simply ask gay men to affirm that they have never been sexually active, or sign a document asserting their adherence to the church’s teaching on homosexuality and rejection of the “gay lifestyle,” or pledge never to discuss publicly their experience as gay men. Such restrictions can only be seen as tacit acceptance of the stereotype that homosexuals are inherently less psychologically healthy than heterosexuals-less capable of living celibately, less trustworthy, less valuable as members of the clergy, and, in general, less valuable as human beings. Restrictions would therefore represent an unjust discrimination against gay men. And as the Catechism instructs, concerning gays and lesbians, “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in this regard should be avoided” (2358).

All in all, it's a sad, sorry state of affairs for the Church, particularly in light of how eloquently Pope John Paul II has written about the need for Christians to heed the angel's message first given to Mary and the shepherds:
I state right from the outset: "Be not afraid!" This is the same exhortation that resounded at the beginning of my ministry in the See of Saint Peter ... Of what should we not be afraid? We should not fear the truth about ourselves.

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