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Friday, September 16, 2005
Although it seems that the Vatican has not yet officially ruled on whether homosexual men can serve as priests--even when living celibate and godly lives--there are signs that such a ruling, and possibly even a purge, may be coming.
This article in the New York Times discusses the investigations now beginning in the seminaries, intended to locate and root out any support for or toleration of (and one presumes, even compassion for) homosexual inclinations among future priests.
Andrew Sullivan, whose analysis of the Church I almost always agree with, points out that this is not a case of the RCC finally getting around to an issue that it had previously neglected, but that it's an actual reversal of the Church's position on gays and lesbians, which has long been that, while homosexual acts may be sinful, the orientation itself is biological--apparently an act of God--and thus morally neutral. Sullivan writes,
(Complete post here; it's worth reading in full.)
A more emotional case is made by an anonymous gay priest in this great essay that appeared in Commonweal several months ago. The priest writes,
I don't know that I have anything to add, except my fury at the direction the Church appears to be going. I'm angry, of course, at the Church's treatment of gays and lesbians, its willful blindness to the real causes behind the sex scandal, and its apparent lack of concern about what barring homosexuals will do to the already steeply declining number of priests*--but ultimately I'm most angry about what is to me the larger issue: the fact that the hierarchy seems so unable or unwilling to recognize that the church IS, in the final analysis, its members. Especially as the number of priests declines, and religious orders completely disappear, most of the work of a given parish is done by the lay men and women who run the religious education programs, act as eucharistic ministers, organize fundraisers, or even just sit quietly in the pews week after week.
My parish is blessed with a large and lively (and socially progressive!) community of Franciscan friars, but even so the work of the church wouldn't get done without the hours of mostly unpaid labor by dedicated laypeople. And in many churches, where there's only a single priest--or no full-time priest at all--the situation is even more extreme. I'm well aware that the Church isn't a democracy, but shouldn't the governed at least be asked their opinions now and again? And shouldn't those who are on the front lines of the faith--teaching religious education and confirmation classes, running the choir--be allowed to speak from their experience?
And doesn't Benedict believe in the sensus fidelium--the unerring sense of the faithful--as to when a teaching is consonent with true faith? Or does he simply think that what he senses is what we sense?
link | posted by La Lecturess at 10:40 PM |
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