The gay priest debate renewed

8700228457There’s more big news from the Catholic Church this week. As most of you probably already know, the Vatican is considering a ban on homosexuals from the priesthood. This is certain to create a new intense round of debate in the mass media on the nature of homosexuality and of the priesthood. I haven’t had the time to do a thorough search yet of the coverage, but it seems that The New York Times is on top of the issue:

Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for “evidence of homosexuality” and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching, according to a document prepared to guide the process.

The Vatican document, given to The New York Times yesterday by a priest, surfaces as Catholics await a Vatican ruling on whether homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood.

In a possible indication of the ruling’s contents, the American archbishop who is supervising the seminary review said last week that “anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity or has strong homosexual inclinations” should not be admitted to a seminary.

The Associated Press was onto the story two days before the Times, but I’m guessing the Times was merely waiting to make a big splash with exclusive documents and the like.

As this story unfolds, watch for quotes from the usual suspects, outrage from Andrew Sullivan, and much gnashing of teeth on both sides of the issue. And for some more background about this ongoing story, click here. Stay tuned.

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  • Darrell Grizzle

    What is “evidence of homosexuality”? Cher CD’s?

  • Will

    According to Dan Savage, EVERYBODY knows it’s Stephen Sondheim CDs. (And as a supporter of the Apostrophe Protection Society, I am sending the killer pandas your way to eat, shoot and leave.)

  • Dan Berger

    As a card-carrying Apostrophe Policeperson, I am required to correct Will. In American (as opposed to English) style, it is considered acceptable to use an apostrophe when making an acronym or abbreviation plural. That, according to the very same Panda of Punctuation Will quotes.

  • Huw Raphael

    I believe examples of the correct “evidence” will be found in reading “The Crucible”.

  • Tim Drake

    The National Catholic Register was onto the story before the AP. The NYTimes, the LATimes, and at least 100 other AP outlets quoted O’Brien’s interview from the Register.

  • http://love Michael

    Evidence of homosexualty will include single men living together in close quarters, lots of candles and incense, excessive jewelry, and stylish clothes including robes and colorful scarves.

  • Lucas Sayre

    LOL, it’s good to be able to joke at such news, but ultimately this could be very bad.

    The Church appears to be readying a purge, and if that is indeed what they do, then it would mark a massive change in theology: sin without action.

  • Huw Raphael

    Lucas – exactly. And the idea that should one repent, one can not be forgiven.

    Time to go watch the 1984(?) movie “Mass Appeal”.

  • Michael

    But the “purge” will please the folks in Bogota, Kinshasha, and reactionaries in the U.S., even if it makes the church even more irrelevant to most people in the U.S. and Europe.

  • C. Wingate

    So– getting back to the coverage, has anyone in the MSM made any effort at putting this in any kind of historical context? I mean, besides stage plays.

  • dpt

    “even if it makes the church even more irrelevant to most people in the U.S. and Europe.”

    I’m not certain the Church or religion is very relevant–unfortunately–in our consumer age anyways. Americans alone spend $30B + on pet care, $50B+ on beauty care, upwards to $100B or more on sports gambling, etc.

    Consumers already look down upon the Church, though at the end it is their loss.

  • NateB

    Lucas, Raphael:

    It’s long been a practice of the church to exclude classes of people from becoming priests (those born with physical handicaps, those not bright enough to pass their exams) on the grounds that their impediment would hamper them from performing their duty. Not being eligible to become a priest does not place a person in the category of commiting “sin without action”.

    Are you merely stating your opinion that the church is irrelevant to most Catholics, or are you saying that making such a change of policy would somehow make it so? If the latter, why?

  • Michael

    Nate, I believe a gay purge will raise even more concern for moderates and modernists in Europe and the U.S. who are already questioning the direction of the church.

    Sure, it shores up the traditionalists, but it alienates even people like Amy Welborn. Just because it plays well in the Third World and in Opus Dei meetings doesn’t mean it is good for the church.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    If banning homosexuals from the priesthood plays well in the Third World–then go for it. Why cater to the west and its Death Wish through self-genocide as its embrace of homosexuality and abortion is now providing?

  • francis

    “moderates and modernists in Europe and the U.S. who are already questioning the direction of the church”

    Or is it oderates and modernists in Europe and the U.S. who have been already questioning the Catholic faith for a long time?

    I can’t see how such a move, whether you approve of it or not, should make the Church irrelevant to a believer.

  • Molly