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Homosexuals Need Not Apply

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Even though the Vatican refuses to connect the two, it is apparently ready to release a directive that will prevent homosexuals from entering the priesthood, and thereby taking the first steps towards curbing its “pedophilia” problem. The Vatican claims that it has been working on this issue for over 10 years and that it is not related to the pedophilia scandal that began surfacing in 2002. Even so, current seminarians are worrying that despite the celibacy vow, their “sexual orientation” will play a Part 1n whether or not they become priests.

It is no secret that almost every one of the pedophilia cases was homosexual in nature. Young girls were not the ones being molested; it was boys. The very fact that this announcement by the Vatican is causing concern and consternation among many of the Catholic religious orders in the United States is reason enough to ask the burning question: Why is it that so many homosexual men want to enter the priesthood in the first place? If any of the Catholic leaders actually took the celibacy vow seriously, one’s “sexual preference” should not even matter. This is the heart of the matter that I think the Catholic leaders are trying to address without admitting it.

Although I am a Protestant and don’t find any scriptural validity for a “celibacy vow,” I still try and look at this from the viewpoint of the average Catholic in the pew, as well as from the church leaders’ perspectives. Whether or not a vow of celibacy is biblical, it is a church belief and directive, which, in Catholic tradition, makes it just as authoritative as Scripture. The vow is meant to be taken seriously; it is not open for discussion. It is just as applicable to homosexuals as it is to heterosexuals. Furthermore, if this ideal is really attainable, as the Catholic Church believes it is, then priests in the Catholic Church could really be thought of as asexual or androgynous. Since the vow is meant to be adhered to, a priest’s sexual attraction would be meaningless—he would be a non-practicing heterosexual or homosexual. He’s celibate, after all.

This “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy seemed to work, and the recruitment difficulties of the late 1980s and 1990s were but a distant memory, until it started to get out that priests weren’t really celibate, after all. As the cases piled up, it became readily apparent that homosexuality was the main perpetrator. But the media decided to play the pedophilia card and mostly de-emphasize the fact that the overwhelming majority of the cases were homosexual. The near social acceptability of homosexuality with the majority of Americans dictated that the media needed something more sensational. Controversy sells more papers and advertising. So, as the scandal hit parish after parish and town after town, the Catholic Church opened up its fat wallet and began paying the piper with million-dollar bills. Now, three years later, they are quietly making repairs to the breech that caused the mess in the first place.

Msgr. Francis Maniscalco, spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the Vatican began examining whether to ordain gays long before the abuse scandal broke in 2002, and not because of pedophilia.

“The church is not saying anything like that,” Monsignor Maniscalco said. “Pedophilia is its own psychosexual illness, and has its own kind of syndrome. This is looking at another issue, which is the training for celibacy and the ability to live a celibate life. We live in an age in which people are told to express themselves, in which the gay rights movement says to come to grips with your orientation and to live it. And in that environment, there can be confusion, even in seminaries.”[1]

Unfortunately for the Catholic Church, it just so happened that they ended up with a whole bunch of fellows inflicted with this “psychosexual illness” in charge of their churches and young boys. Maniscalco’s smokescreen is unconvincing to say the least. The “gay rights movement” has nothing to do with this. The celibacy vow is one of the major reasons why heterosexuals opted out of the priesthood, and why homosexuals opted in. Now that the door is being slammed shut on this, the Catholic Church is going to have major problems in ten to fifteen years. Unless they can find new ways to recruit young men to join the priesthood, the Catholic Church as we know it could be on its way out. Watch for the Vatican to rescind the age-old celibacy vow within the next five years…it could be their last hope.

Endnotes:

[1] Laurie Goodstein, “Americans Plan Rome Trip Over Ban on Gay Priests,” New York Times, September 30, 2005. Online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/30/national/30catholic.html

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