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Pope's position on GAYS, and Celebacy

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Pope reasserted church teaching that gays are intrinsically immoral, that their behaviour is contrary to natural law, that their acts are grave sins and that they are objectively disordered.  50% of all those in training are gay estimated by seminary head in his book.

 

Vatican rules firmly against gay priests

Pope's first order rejects active homosexuals
Move may cause problems in number of seminaries

Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
Wednesday November 30, 2005, The Guardian (UK newspaper)

 

 

The Vatican yesterday {Friday, 23 September 2005} attempted a damage-limitation exercise in the wake of sexual scandals in the priesthood by insisting that homosexuals may not be considered for training or ordination unless their orientation is transitory and they have been celibate for at least three years.  In a move which may send shivers through seminaries across the world, a long-awaited document issued in Rome as the first substantive order of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy reasserted church teaching that gays are intrinsically immoral, that their behaviour is contrary to natural law, that their acts are grave sins and that they are objectively disordered. But it then also called for them to be treated with respect and sensitivity.  The document, which relates specifically to admissions to seminaries and ordinations, states that the church will not ordain "those who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called gay culture".  The document adds: "The negative consequences that can result from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies should not be obscured. When dealing with homosexual tendencies that might be only a manifestation of a transitory problem as for example delayed adolescence these must be clearly overcome at least three years before diaconal ordination."

Rigid enforcement of the rule, which is a restatement of traditional church teaching, would equally apply to heterosexual sexual activity had the document not separated them out. It would however cause problems in a number of seminaries for a church which in many western countries is desperately short of vocations. Five years ago a book published in the US by a former seminary head estimated that 50% of all those in training were gay.  {Father Donald Cozzens, Faith Dares to Speak, Nov 2004}.   The document, apparently eight years in development, was released yesterday without additional comment or clarification by the Vatican. The 1.1 billion-strong worldwide church has been battered in recent years by sexual scandals in the priesthood, by no means all of it homosexual. But paedophile priests have wrought havoc to its reputation in many countries, not least Britain.

"Perhaps [the document] is best understood as meaning ... someone whose sexual orientation is so central to his self-perception as to be obsessive, dominating his imagination. This would indeed pose questions as to whether he would be able to live happily as a celibate priest. But any heterosexual who was so focused on his sexuality would have problems too. What matters is sexual maturity rather than orientation."

Example of the press misleading

Critics have pointed out since the document was leaked to an Italian news website last week that the Vatican has not said how such tendencies are to be defined or what the so-called gay culture involves. Father Timothy Radcliffe, the English former master of the worldwide Dominican Order, who is now based at Blackfriars, Oxford, wrote in last week's Tablet Catholic magazine: "I have no doubt that God does call homosexuals to the priesthood and they are among the most dedicated and impressive priests I have met. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the church in England and Wales, said: "The instruction is not saying that men of homosexual orientation are not welcome in the priesthood. But it is making clear that they must be capable of affective maturity, have a capacity for celibacy and not share the values of eroticised gay culture."  

 

From the about website at http://atheism.about.com/od/catholicismandgays/a/gaypriests_2.htm

This is now a critical juncture for the Roman Catholic Church, particularly in America. Most studies put the number of gay Catholic priests at around 25 percent or higher - dismissing them would devastate an already imperiled American priesthood. The median age of American priests is nearly 60 and getting older. The number of people entering seminaries has dropped by more than 80 percent since 1966, even as the Catholic population in America has increased dramatically.

Most studies put the number of gay Catholic priests at around 25 percent or higher - dismissing them would devastate an already imperiled American priesthood. The median age of American priests is nearly 60 and getting older. The number of people entering seminaries has dropped by more than 80 percent since 1966, even as the Catholic population in America has increased dramatically.

The History of Marriage and Priesthood

 

 

http://atheism.about.com/od/romancatholicism/a/celibacy_2.htm

As a consequence, married priests were prohibited from celebrating the Eucharist for a full day after having sexual intercourse with their wives. Because there was a trend to celebrate the Eucharist more and more often, sometimes even daily, there was great pressure on priests to be celibate just to fulfill their basic religious functions - and eventually they were prohibited from having sex at all with their wives. Because of this, celibacy among priests was already somewhat common by 300 A.D., when the Spanish Council of Elvira required that bishops, priests, and deacons who were married abstain from sex with their wives.

It wasn't until 1139, with the Second Lateran Council, that mandatory celibacy was officially imposed on all priests. Any marriage entered into by a priest was regarded as invalid and anyone currently married had to separate from their spouses - leaving them to whatever fate God had in store for them, even if it meant leaving them destitute. Of course this was an immoral thing to do to those spouses, and many clergy realized that there was little religious or traditional basis for it, so they defied that order and continued in their marriages.

Perhaps the final blow against priests' ability to marry came during the Council of Trent (1545-1563) - and through a technicality. It was at this time that the church asserted that no one could be considered to have a valid Christian marriage unless that marriage were performed by a valid priest and in front of two witnesses. Before this, private marriages performed by priests or, indeed, just about anyone else, were common in some areas. Sometimes the only people who were there was the officiant and the couple. Now, however, such clandestine marriages were impossible - and this effectively eliminated marriage for the clergy.

Married Catholic Priests

You aren't likely to hear a great deal about married Roman Catholic priests, but they do exist. First there are the priests who are part of the Eastern Catholic Churches, also known as the Eastern Rite, who can be found in places like the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, the Ukraine, and other nations along the border between Western and Eastern Christianity. These churches are under the jurisdiction of the Vatican and they recognize the authority of the pope; however, their practices and traditions are much closer to those of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and one of those traditions is allowing priests to marry.

They are Roman Catholic priests and many are married - so many, in fact, that some estimates place their number at around 20% of all Roman Catholic priests in the world. This would mean that 20% of all Roman Catholic priests are officially and legally married, even though celibacy continues to be a requirement. But marriage is not limited to priests who are part of the Eastern Catholic Churches - we can also find about 100 Catholic priests in America who are married and who are part of the Western Catholicism that comes to mind when most think of Roman Catholicism.

Why are they married? They got married while serving as priests in other Christian denominations, usually the Anglican or Lutheran churches. If such a priest decides that he would be better off within Roman Catholicism, he can apply to a local bishop, who then submits a special application to the pope, with decisions being made on a case-by-case basis. If accepted, he is certainly not expected to get divorced or otherwise separate from his spouse, so his wife comes right along as well. This exception to the celibacy rule was created on July 22, 1980.

 

A similar phenomena concerning cloistered nuns in France was chronicled by Denis Diderot (a leader of the reformation and associate of Voltaire) in his Memoirs of a Nun (La Religieuse)--a few juice pages here.  

 

There is a problem of source:  1),  Encyclopedias such as Britannica don’t wish to offend Catholics, so they avoid the topic.  2) Catholic sources are biased.  Thus there are few if any authoritative sources.  Wikipedia has relied on the Catholic spin to the history of marriage for priests—their footnotes confirm what is gleaned from the contents.  The Catholic Encyclopedia buries the reader in councils, published works, and position statements, but has scant little on practices.  The written record makes reconstruction of the practice difficult at best.  However, I would assume that Will Durant has adequately researched the practice.  He places the ban as being enforced in the 14th century, with the practice thus declining—jk.

 

WIKIPEDIA

{Written from Catholic sources—and in conflict with other sources.  Will Durant places it in the 14th century as to when the practice of marriages for priests ended.}

Celibacy for Roman Catholic priest is a discipline not a doctrine; viz., a church regulation and not an infallible divine teaching.  The practice of married clergy fell out of favour around the time of the Council of Elvira (306 BC) and made law in the 800’s.   Wikipedia.org

 

 

 

More News articles on sexual abuse in the Church

 

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