Defending Chastity in the Priesthood

Human Nature as God Created It

Father Burns Seeley of the Chicago-based Society of St. John Cantius:

“Note that the document (I have not seen it yet, obviously) seems not to be touching principally on priestly chastity. I think 'Even if they are celibate…,' should read, 'Even if they are chaste….' We are all called to be chaste, whether we are clergy, religious or laity. I certainly don't know if fallen homosexuals are more inclined to be unchaste than fallen heterosexuals.

“The key point seems to be that homosexuals possess 'a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers.' I take this to mean that they are incapable of perceiving human nature as God created it, consisting of male and female persons meant for mutual attraction, complementarity, and, God-willing, marriage and children.

“Instead, they see members of their own sex as mutually attractive in a sexual sense. They do not see females as such. In other words, they do not see or experience objective reality. Since this is so, it follows that homosexual priests possess a serious handicap which makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to serve well as our Lord's faithful ordained ministers.

“Additionally, it seems to me, that as teachers and preachers of Catholic faith and morals, homosexual priests must have great difficulty preaching and teaching frequently and with conviction the Church's teaching on human sexuality.”

Ordination Is Not a Right

Father Richard Perozich of the Diocese of San Diego, currently ministering in Honduras as a Maryknoll priest associate:

“Ordination to the priesthood of Jesus Christ is a call by the Catholic Church to men who demonstrate conformity to the Lord in the complete sacrifice of self in order to be joined to the Lord and His Church for the salvation of men and women from sin and death for goodness and eternal life.

“Ordination is not a right. Ordination is a privilege of service granted to men deemed mature enough in all aspects of their lives to be able to be faithful to that service.

“Practicing or promoting homosexuals say there are good celibate gay priests. The word celibacy is a diversionary argument by practicing homosexuals. The word 'gay priest' is oxymoronic. All priests take a vow of celibacy, a promise of total dedication of self to God and Church which precludes marriage. The question is chastity.

“Homosexual attraction is an objective disorder. If a man with homosexual inclination is to be a priest, he would have to be in continual cooperation with God's grace. The history of priests with same-sex attraction has shown that a not insignificant number after ordination still show the following signs: self-image as a gay instead of a man; acting out; encouraging others to do so; campaigning for rights to practice homosexuality in all aspects of society.

“Since there is little motive for change for a practicing and promoting homosexual priest after ordination, one solution is not to ordain him before ordination or not to admit him to formation.

“This Vatican correction may seem to be an over-reach, but seminary faculty in many places have preached homosexuality as good and normal, have lived this out, and have pushed the ordination of other active homosexuals, thus seeding the Church with dissent on the matter, keeping the laity in ignorance on the matter, and leaving those with same-sex attractions without the truth to help them grow in love and sexual integration.”

We Are the Better for It

Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International:

“It appears that Pope Benedict XVI has given his approval to a policy statement that men with a homosexual orientation should not be admitted to seminary and should be barred from receiving Holy Orders in the Roman Catholic Church. The Congregation for Catholic Education has prepared the statement for the pope's signature which will likely be issued in the form of a standard 'Instruction' at the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October and will be one of the first actual official documents promulgated in Benedict's pontificate.

“While this statement and position is not new — it is actually a re-statement of a clear position of the Church since the time of Pope John XXIII — it is nonetheless a controversial stance given our radically sexualized culture, and we expect the reaction from the media gay-activist community and from the liberal wing of the Catholic Church to be apoplectic.

“Following the priest pedophilia scandal in 2002 and following, the US bishops commissioned a study on this terrible sexual perversion infiltrating the priesthood, and the results were shocking. The John Jay study noted that fully 80% of the supposed pedophilic activity in the priesthood did not so much involve boys as adolescent males, which means that the core of the problem is one of homosexuality, not strictly pedophilia.

“A relatively minor percentage of the abuse cases involved boys, but those were the cases that got the media attention and led to the whole genre [sic] of priests being labeled as 'pedophiles' in order to discredit the work and authority of the Church in general and priests and bishops in particular. The Church is no stranger to attacks, but it is and always should remain vigilant about scandal in its own ranks.

“Thankfully the Church's highest authority has recognized the problem and has now taken concrete steps to address it. It is not that the Church has been silent in the past. It's just that churchmen have not enforced the Church's own teaching. If there have been pedophilic priests abusing their office, committing massive crimes against children and causing scandal to the faithful and society alike, then it only means that they were let through the sanctuary doors by gatekeepers who were either asleep or worse, knowingly allowing them to pass.

“That era seems to be coming to an end. We could not be more grateful to Pope Benedict and the Congregation for Catholic Education for their courageous guidance on this matter.

“Our message to the media, to the homosexual activists and to the [progressives] is clear. You can't have it both ways: you can't complain about Church negligence in the pedophilic priest problem and also complain about the Church's diligence in addressing it. Either you grab the problem by its root and yank it out of the soil of the priesthood or you keep asking the faithful to subsidize deviant behavior and the resulting legal liability. Benedict has made his choice, and we are the better for it.”

Matt C. Abbott is the former executive director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee and the former director of public affairs for the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League. He is a

Catholic journalist and commentator.

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