"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| What would Jesus say? gay men in the clergy|
Reports that the Vatican is working on a document that will bar gays, even those who are celibate, from ordination to the priesthood have brought angry, defiant responses from some Catholic priests, puzzlement and worry from others.
And a former seminarian, speculating on the possible action, said it's the reaction of a church that fears the priesthood will be looked on as a "gay career choice."
"I'd start by saying `Over my dead body,'" says a Toronto priest who has worked in the Catholic gay community. "You are not excluding me from anything because of my orientation. Don't say we deserve it or have to take it silently. It's an attitude toward a minority in the church, which is profoundly unjust and profoundly anti-gospel.
"Jesus would not tolerate this exclusionary categorization of people."
Others are wondering how this instruction, which the Vatican reportedly has been working on since 2001 though no date has been set for its publication, it could come this month will affect gay men already ordained.
"They are asking, `Is this retroactive? Is this a witch hunt?'" said another Toronto priest, who has heard from several worried members of the clergy.
"I see so many priests leading celibate, heroic lives, and to see their existence called into question that they are gay and priests....
"If you see somebody who genuinely loves Jesus and the church, whose heart and mind is in the right place, it's not an issue if he's gay, it's how much he lives for others."
In the United States, some leaders of religious orders plan to go to Rome to address the question directly, to help allay the fears of priests and seminarians.
Last week, a leading Jesuit wrote to his priests, saying he was asking bishops to intercede with Vatican officials, arguing that the idea would bring "great harm" to many "good priests and the Catholic faithful."
Rev. Gerald Chojnacki, head of the New York province of Jesuits, wrote that he and other religious superiors would fight for the right of gays to "say yes to God's call in celibate service."
In a letter made available to the Associated Press, he recalled attending funerals of gay clergy: "I find it insulting to demean their memory and their years of service by even hinting that they were unfit for priesthood because of their sexual orientation."
In Toronto, Rev. Jean-Marc Laporte, provincial superior of Canada's English-speaking Jesuits, said young priests have called him seeking "guidance and comfort. I'm trying to put them at ease. But I'm certainly not going to write a letter."
Laporte was urging calm after speaking to senior Canadian churchmen. "They don't share the same sense of impending doom, but lean toward a more serene approach."
Controversy over the idea comes as the world's Catholic bishops meet for the first time with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, though gay ordination is not on the formal agenda.
At the same time, teams of evaluators bishops and seminary staff have begun visits to more than 220 U.S. seminaries, where they are to interview all faculty and students using questions from a 13-page document.
The visits, a response to the sexual abuse crisis in the United States, must be at least four days long. Some questions are as vague as "What is your general impression of the seminarians?" and "How often are there opportunities for confession?"
But the highly charged question followed by the command "This question must be answered" is: "Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?"
That's the wrong question, several priests said, because gay men have always found a calling to the priesthood.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2005/10/6 11:23||Profile|
| Re: What would Jesus say? gay men in the clergy|
"I'd start by saying `Over my dead body,'" says a Toronto priest who has worked in the Catholic gay community. "You are not excluding me from anything because of my orientation. Don't say we deserve it or have to take it silently. It's an attitude toward a minority in the church, which is profoundly unjust and profoundly anti-gospel."
That makes me want to cry and scream at the same time. The grace and the love of God has been so purverted. Where is the understanding? Makes me want to crawl in a cave and weep or stand on the street and preach....
| 2005/10/6 12:07||Profile|
| Re: a follow up to the original post|
Gays can be priests if chaste three years: Vatican
Vatican official says coming document does not decree sweeping ban on gay priests
VATICAN CITY A Vatican document expected to be made public soon stops short of a sweeping ban on homosexuals entering the Roman Catholic priesthood, setting out three instances that would bar gay candidates, a senior Vatican official said today.
The document, in the works for at least three years, updates Vatican policy that gays or men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained, regardless of whether they can remain celibate.
The new document would bar candidates if they have not lived a chaste life for at least three years prior to their admission to a seminary, said the senior official, who requested anonymity because the document has not yet been released.
The official confirmed a report in leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera today listing the reasons that gay candidates should not be admitted, which also include men who publicly show their homosexuality and those who reveal an attraction to the gay lifestyle.
The report, by the newspapers chief Vatican correspondent, Luigi Accattoli, cited sources who spoke to him about the document from the Vaticans Congregation for Catholic Education.
The Italian weekly Panorama said in its editions today that Pope Benedict XVI approved the document during the summer.
In a similar report today, the National Catholic Reporter said seminary officials will be asked to exercise prudential judgment.
One Vatican official said the document would be published very soon but refused to discuss the contents.
The senior official said, Anyone who knows Catholic teaching should not be surprised by what the document says.
A key document from 1961, an Instruction on the Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders, made clear homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood.
Vatican teaching holds that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. The church, however, says homosexuals should be treated with compassion and dignity.
The senior official said there is a lot of ambiguity about the term homosexual and therefore much depends on the individual in question, therefore making it difficult to come up with an absolute, sweeping policy.
The issue has long been a subject of debate at the Vatican. It received renewed attention after the U.S. church sex-abuse scandal that erupted in 2002.
A study, commissioned by U.S. bishops after the scandal broke, by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York found most abuse victims since 1950 were adolescent boys. Experts on sex offenders said homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to molest young people, but that did not stifle questions about homosexual seminarians.
In the United States, where the gay priests issue is hotly contested, reactions were couched in speculative terms because there have been so many conflicting rumours about the document.
But a prominent homosexual priest, speaking on condition of anonymity, said if reports are true it will be the first time that the church will have formally said that gay men have been and can be accepted by seminaries.
Prof. Dean Hoge, a Catholic University of America sociologist who studies the priesthood, saw good news for seminary rectors because, as reported, the document is not too far from present policy and an outright ban is not possible. There is no way of enforcing it.
Philip Lawler, editor of the Catholic World News website who opposes seminarians with homosexual tendencies whether or not theyre active, said hes been told Romes new policy will be more restrictive. What the document says ends up as much less important than how the document is followed up and enforced.
And Rev. Donald Cozzens of John Carroll University in Cleveland said regardless of what the forthcoming decree provides, until the issue of mandatory celibacy for diocesan priests is addressed, there will be difficulty in this area.
| 2005/10/8 1:43||Profile|
| Re: What would Jesus say? gay men in the clergy|
Sorry, I don't think Jesus would care any more about gay catholics than He cares about the catholic "church" blatantly doing and teaching the opposite of everything Christ taught.
Jesus came as a humble servant in appearance and service. The Pope is treated and dresses as royalty . People come to kiss his ring and worship him.
Jesus taught nonresistance.
The Catholic "church" has shed the blood of millions.
Jesus taught "I am the Way the Truth and the Life no one come to the Father except thru Me"
The Catholic "church" teaches people to go thru Mary,"canonized saints" and "priests".
The new testament says that the entire Body of Christ is a Royal Priesthood with Jesus as the sole moderator between us and God.
In fact, in Revelation chapter 2 Jesus twice stated that he hated the deeds of the nicolations.
There is no reference anywhere in Scripture that tells us who the Nicolaitans were or what they did. So we cannot be certain about what deeds the Lord was referring to. However, the word Nicolaitans means (in Greek) conquerors of the people.
If that was what the Lord meant, then it would be a reference to those who sought to lord it over the flock (1 Pet.5:3) - elders who behaved like kings and not like servants. Such elders set themselves up as a separate priestly class (as the Levites were in the Old Testament) and rule over other believers. The Lord said that He hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans.
Today we have Christian preachers using titles such as Reverend (a title that is used in Scripture for God alone - Psa.111:9 - KJV) and Pastor (which is a gift and not a title or an office - Eph.4:11). etc., to exalt themselves over others in the church.
However, it is not just with titles that preachers seek to rule over others. There are many who call themselves just brothers who dominate their fellow-believers by their soul-power (dominant personality), their financial-power and their spiritual gifts.
All this is Nicolaitanism and it is nauseating to God.
So the problem goes beyond gay men leading the catholic "church", but many "churches" through out "christendom" being lead astray by proporters of nicolation "clergy laity systems".
Jesus said where two or more are gathered in my name there will I be also. Jesus is the Head of His church. 1 Cor 14:29-33 says "Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace." If Jesus is TRUELY the Head of the Church and we are Spirit Filled men then He should lead when we are assembled together.
In most religious models in institutions and house churches there is some mere man officially in charge through whom everything must pass. He officially starts, officially ends, officially teaches or assigns the teaching or worshipping. He makes the decisions, answers the questions, and controls the flow. This is unBiblical (1Cor.14:26) and far less than Fruitful. Leaven in the batch, and quenched Gifts, and Jesus lost Lordship are guaranteed in this model never found in the Bible.
In keeping with the ONLY Picture in the NT of what Jesus Headship in a Meeting in His Kingdom of Priests--all of the Gifts poured out upon the Body of Christ, the Church, can FUNCTION at ANY given moment. When Revelation comes to the second, let the first one SIT DOWN! saith the Lord. There is NO place for controlling who or what may happen, choreographed in advance for oratorical or music purposes, in a Church where Jesus is presumed Alive, rather than a historic relic to be appreciated and venerated and taught about. ALL of Jesus is poured out upon His Body, in ALL of His Gifts--and any Gift may be needed at any given time. If a young man opens up about difficulties in the workplace, or a sister admits she has difficulty with the children, Gifts of Teacher, or Encouragement, or Shepherd, or Helps may all spring up, as Revelation comes to the second! Each person indwelt by the Living Christ must be Free to be moved and used by Jesus, in response to what is currently happening. THAT alone is the Body of Christ. Meetings must then be the overflow of what is already happening every day, in daily house to house Together-Life in Jesus. There must be a place for JESUS to rule and lead through His PEOPLE and His Gifts AT ALL TIMES in homes and so-called meetings, not just some token ministry time--whatever that is. About Jesus, or FROM Jesus? The liberty and obedience to His Ways in 1Cor.14, as if He is ALIVE and SPEAKING through His Gifts as He wills--rather than a clergy/laity caste system and pre-planned interactive show...That liberty makes all the difference! From Him and through Him and to Him are ALL THINGS!The loss of the man-made model one is IMMENSE as Jesus does NOT get HIS Way through HIS means any time HE wants. It is shameful and a great loss as His Gifts are wasted and His Voice is not heard, no matter how good the sermon was and the music is. He wants to be HEAD of His Church, not the topic of those gathered in His Name.
This is about HIS heart of "a Kingdom of Priests" -- with Jesus truly and practically as Head of His Body...... And, of course, this is not about some childish and unBiblical version of "amateur hour" and "taking turns" and "everyone is supposed to say something" and "if you spoke more than 5 minutes 'last week' then you can't talk 'this week,''' blah blah. Certainly His Church is not a "democracy". His Church is to be a Theocracy where ANOINTING and GIFTS and HIS CURRENT THOUGHT Rule over our interactions in surprising and ever-changing unplanned ways. All of His People (from the overflow of "daily" totally intertwined lives, Acts 2:42-47, 1Cor.12-13) MAY be used by the Spirit of Christ, at any given time. It's simple really. :) JUST as when He was here with us in the physical body, HE gets the say, when we are not quenching His Spirit with man-made plans and hierarchies and liturgies and traditions and showmanship. His current Thought and Anointing, whether for a moment, or "until dawn," is our passion. "When Revelation comes to the second, let the first one sit down..."
"He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!"
Combine this "picture" of the Dynamic of Life with the Intended (Eph.3:10) daily Life of Acts 2:42-47, 1Cor.12, Heb.3:12-14, and a "HUNDRED mothers, brothers, and sisters" and we're getting close to the Quality of Life He has called His People to live out Together. He has left us as an Inheritance for the taking -- His Heart of a Corporate Man, Luke 9:23-27, 57-62 true Christianity, "from the least to the greatest" clothed with HIS Spirit. Jesus will build His Church that the gates of Hell no longer prevail against! "THIS is HOW all men will know you are MY Disciples."
| 2005/10/8 8:56||Profile|
Jim :I especially enjoyed reading the contrast part of your writting at the top. Bro. Daryl
| 2005/10/8 9:39||Profile|
Woo Hoo! It's nice to see it written like it is! I'm amazed that the Catholic Church isn't spoken against more, but it's good to see it layed out like that, tedlock. Thanks.
Grace and Peace...
| 2005/10/29 7:15||Profile|
| Re: What would Jesus think?|
I agree that it is rather pointless to dispute an issue when there are far greater violations within the church - like certain select people setting themselves over others. It seems like control issues are the real concerns. Most people don't wnat to be controlled and they don't want to feel rejected. That is a universal problem.
Well, I say, if a person who has a lingering orientation problem but remains celebate (self-control) feels called to share God's love, then nothing can stop him or her from doing so. He can go out on the streets and minister to the down and outers. And if he (or she) is truly seeking the Lord, then, why couldn't God change him (from the inside out which is often a process) by the power of his Spirit, and then use them for his glory. Just look at the people God is and has used - those with all kinds of personal struggles - none of them perfected. Think of those God has used - even with obviously bad motives.
None of the concerns I read in the above posts are exclusive to the Catholics. They plague all organized religion.
Sadly, too many hypocrites prefer an outer shiny surface, and don't care about innner struggles with sin. They'd rather have a person deny innner sin issues than admit them.
The question in the thread heading is: "What would Jesus say.." Well, the closest I can find is a parallel example in Luke 13, so I'll share my observations:
One time Jesus overheard some men discussing the ghastly sins of some pagans. He did not chip in with agreeable words like: "Oh, yes, they sure are evil people! Let's take a stand against their sin! Let's send around a petition, appeal to Caesar!" Instead, he told them that they were just as bad. (!) He said, "Unless you repent, you too will perish." Lk. 13:3 Wow! What a way to interject a conversation! Actually, Jesus was merely being true to his calling - baptising by fire - purifying fire that awakens the conscience of sin and brings about repentance.
So, in conclusion, I suspect Jesus is thinking this: "You who pass judgment on someone else, at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same thing." Romans 2:1
These were Paul's words spoken to very dedicated religious people who looked very shiny on the outside, but on the inside harbored the same sins as the pagans.
| 2005/10/29 8:30||Profile|