Reactions to ‘The Document’ on Homosexuality & Discernment of the Priesthood

Reactions to the document:

“Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”
Congregation for Catholic Education. Rome, 4 November, 2005
Memoria of St. Charles Borromeo, Patron of Seminaries.
  • For Scott Carson (An Examined Life), it’s all about “Means and Ends”:

    One reason why the recent Vatican document regarding homosexual priests has been so poorly received among some circles of Westerners is the fact that, as a culture, we no longer recognize the causal structure of the world that the Church has so carefully illuminated for us over the centuries. . . .

  • Vatican Ban On Gay Priests Arrives (Sort Of) And Doesn’t Ban Gay Priests – John Heard (aka. Dreadnought) comments on the unofficial publication of the document and sets straight some misinterpretations (and misrepresentations) of the critics.
  • Dave Morrison Sed Contra) critiques an interview with Father Gerard Thomas, a self-identified gay priest and believes it Proves the Document Right. One of the best analyses of the document and the public reaction. As Jeff Miller comments, “the more they complain about the document the more they prove its need.”
  • Fr. Joseph Fessio debated Father James Martin, SJ on the PBS Online Newshour:

    But I distinguish between two types of priest here: Someone who accepts the Church’s teaching that homosexuality is an affective disorder but realizes it’s a disorder he has and suffers under that and accepts it as his cross and unites himself to Christ crucified can be a holy, devout and good priest.

    But someone who promotes the gay lifestyle, who is claiming that homosexuality is a gift, is ipso facto dissenting from Church teaching. And we may call him a good priest; he may be compassionate; he may be helping the poor, whatever. He may go in to take people out of the World Trade Center when they’re burning. But that does mean he’s teaching what the Church expects him to teach.

    A priest, after all, is acting in the name of Christ and in the name of the Church. And if a priest is not going to accept the fundamental teachings of the Church, which includes the hard saying that homosexuality is an objective disorder, then he’s a dissenter; he’s doing a disservice to the Church. It’s failure to be truthful in advertising.

  • Vatican instruction on gays in the seminary: What it means. How it will be enforced, by John Allen, Jr. National Catholic Reporter Dec. 2, 2005.
  • “Deep Seated Tendencies” – Jimmy Akin reflects on the meaning of the term in responding to one man with such who is obedient to the Church and is called to the priesthood. He asks Jimmy: “what does “profoundly deeply rooted homosexual tendencies” actually mean? Do you think, with the description I gave to you, that I would be excluded from the priesthood? What about the brotherhood?” (See also “Deep Seated Tendencies: Some Clarification”.
  • Responding – a roundup of reactions from Amy Welborn (Open Book, Nov. 30, 2005), including her own:

    . . . The bigger problem is that there seems to be a consistent connection between sympathy for the secular gay agenda and ethos and a disinterest or even antipathy to traditional Catholic teaching on sexuality and family, period. And we’re not talking about little points of minutiae here: we’re talking about the big picture, that big picture in which the relationship between male and female is an anaology for the relationship between God and humanity, and even a template for understanding creation, period. Disconnect from that, and you are slowly, but surely, disconnecting from Catholic Christianity as you depend on your own personal revelation, rather than the public revelation of Scripture and so on, to define your faith, and the faith which you are teaching, preaching, and being guided by in your pastoral ministry.

  • “Very Good Because It Does Not Try to Answer Every Question” – Zenit Interview with Fr. John Harvey, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales and director of Courage International: ” I was not sure what we would get. I cannot really say what I was expecting; I was just hoping it would not be a big universal statement like “Anyone with same-sex attractions is automatically eliminated.” It does not say that and allows that there are a lot of distinctions to be made. I was surprised by the moderation of the document. It did not touch on every situation and left a lot to discretion of theologians and psychologists. I was delighted with it.”

[Note: This thread will be updated over the course of this week].

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