05 June 2003

There is an article in this week's Newsweek which was emailed to the Right to Life group at my university. I found it interesting; perhaps you will too. I'm afraid that I can't say much more than that I found it interesting. I don't really have any other thoughts on it. But maybe you would like to share yours. That's what the comment box is for. There seem to be a lot of other articles on similar topics. I haven't seen the whole magazine, just this article online.

This article from the Catholic World Report in 2000 called "The Gay Priest Problem" is a bit outdated, but it has caused quite a stir among the both the Catholic and the homosexual communities of my university after being sent to both email lists last week. It's understandable why it made a stir. While the parts of the article that I believe are interesting and frightening, I also think the columnist is unclear or just plain wrong on several points.

He seems to think that homosexuals should not be admitted to seminaries because it will be impossible for them to keep a vow of celibacy. That is ridiculous. Living with a number of people one may be sexually attracted to may make it more difficult, but not impossible. (If there are other, more valid reasons gay men should not become priests, please tell me.)

He also quotes Bishop Thomas Gumbleton as saying, "How to be celibate and to be gay at the same time, and how to be celibate and heterosexual at the same time, that's what we were never really taught how to do." The columnist, Fr. Shaughnessy, responds to this with, "It is difficult to imagine a psychologically healthy fifteen-year old boy, much less a seminarian, who would not have a wholly adequate and complete idea of 'what celibacy is.'" Is it just me, or did Fr. Shaughnessy totally misinterpret Bishop Gumbleton's quote?

I would like to point out that, for myself and the vast majority of people that I have met, knowing what celibacy is and putting it into practice are two very different things, and the latter requires much advice and assistance. "How to be celibate" is something that all seminaries ought to spend a lot of time on, though from what I hear and from the things that have come to light in recent years, it seems that the subject of how to live up to one's vows has been ignored in places. Just as a point of interest, I'd like to know whether homosexual priests are more likely not to live up to their vow of celibacy than heterosexual priests.

Also, I'm not sure I buy the conspiracy theory stuff. I believe that some people in the Church push a liberal agenda, and that it is probable that they are quite an organized little network (the conservatives seem to me to be pretty darn organized as well), and there is probably a feminist faction in this liberal group, but a gay agenda? That just seems a bit...queer.

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