Wednesday, December 11, 2002


The inside buzz in the Vatican, according to TIME, is that the current scandals involving the American Catholic Church--and particularly the Boston archdiocese--are to blame on media manipulation:

German Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, perhaps the most powerful policymaker in Rome besides the Pope, told a Catholic news wire that the U.S. sex-abuse scandal was an "intentional, manipulated ... desire to discredit the church" by the media. The conservative Ratzinger offered a virtual Vatican seal of approval for recent comments by two Latin American Cardinals — each considered possible papal successors — who also blamed the pedophilia crisis on the American press.

Now that the media has sensationalized the situation goes without saying. The American media generally targets the religious in an effort to denigrate them. But the recently released documents in Boston show the truth behind the scandal; the press didn't make it all up.

Another (and more realistic viewpoint) in Rome is that the problem can be blamed on the high percentage of homosexuals in the American Catholic priesthood:

A growing number of officials in Rome have become convinced that the cause of the U.S. crisis is the prevalence of gay priests in American parishes. In his letter, Medina Estevez called the ordination of homosexual men "inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky." A Vatican official told TIME the letter "represents the mind of the church" and hints that a watershed document on rules for seminary admission, expected next year, will bar gays from entering the priesthood.

I have it on good authority from a former Catholic who studied for the priesthood that a common (but hushed) practice over the years has been for Catholic men seeking religious counseling to deal with homosexual feelings to be encouraged to seek a celibate life in the priesthood. Certainly such a policy on its face seems doomed to disaster.

Swinging the pendulum from encouraging a homosexual priesthood (I realize all priests are not homosexuals) to actually banning homosexuals is problematic, it seems to me. Someone who may have homosexual desires or tendencies is not a sinner. One who acts on the desires, i.e., engages in homosexual conduct, is.

In the end, a separate 'priesthood' is a practice unsupported by Scripture and thus illegitimate. No amount of tweaking the rules will fix that.

No comments: