This doesn\’t bloody work about gay priests

If this is the level of thought among \”professional Catholics\” thn the Church is in more trouble than I thought.

But the Catholic Church is not the same as society at large. It defiantly stands out against the tolerant tide of a secular and sceptical society and claims to represent a more enduring set of values. And in many ways that is a positive thing, when it comes to challenging prevailing economic arguments, or rampant individualism, consumerism and the celebrity culture.

It is why I keep going to Mass every Sunday and send my children to a Catholic school.

You\’re going to the wrong church for that matey. That\’s the CoE. One Nation Labour at prayer. But it\’s this about gay priests that is worse:

It is impossible to sit in the pews and not be concerned by the present unhealthy state of affairs where a Church that in essence preaches that homosexuality is wrong attracts and admits so many gay men into its priesthood.

No, the teaching is not that homosexuality is wrong. It is that sexual acts that do not lead to the possibility of conception is wrong. Homosexual acts cannot lead to conception therefore they are wrong. There is no stricture at all that \”being\” is wrong or sinful. It is acts here which are, not desires.

If we are to have the sort of root-and-branch examination Benedict wants of why the child abuse scandal happened, then the question of what prompts a vocation needs to be examined. I am not being so crass as to suggest that allowing a married priesthood would solve this problem at a stroke. Some of the most notorious child abusers are “happily married men”. And neither am I falling into the same mistake so often made by Church leaders who, knowingly or not, equate homosexuality with paedophilia.

I agree that a married priesthood would be a useful idea. But this doesn\’t then solve that gay priest problem, does it? For the act would still be incapable of concenption and thus is sinful.

Yet it is hard to escape the conclusion that all this hypocrisy around sexuality has to be renounced, if only so we can get on with the real business of the gospels.

But this isn\’t hypocrisy about sexuality. This is one of the core teachings of the Church. You\’re entirely free to reject it (I do for example, which is why I don\’t call myself a Catholic). Sex is just great, one of God\’s gifts to us all. But it must be open to hte possibility of conception: thus no to contraception, no to gay sex and, yes, no to certain practices even within a Catholic marriage.

There are plenty of churches out there that don\’t teach this and if you want one that doesn\’t you should go join one.

10 comments on “This doesn\’t bloody work about gay priests

  1. There is so much wrong with that article I hardly know where to start. Beginning with the fact that the Cardinal disputes the charges and has not been found guilty of anything. He may be a hypocrite, but it is not for anyone much to say so far.

    As for the number of Gay priests, the author does not know but says realistically they reflect society at large – which I doubt. But it will have no effect either way. Allowing Gay priests to marry has not saved any other Church and the Catholic Church does not offend at a higher rate than any other Church. In fact secular teachers who are allowed to marry seem to offend at a vastly greater rate.

    Even if it is true, since when do Gay people have to sign up for every single piece of Gay pride? I know what is good for me and when I do not do it, I am not required to be proud I don’t. Why should the Cardinal?

  2. A Jesuit priest once told me that the doctrine against contraception was merely a consequence of the fear of being outnumbered by Protestants.

  3. Well, dearieme, since Jesuits can be relied on to say the complete opposite to the Pope, despite having that special Forth Vow of obedience to him, I think we can discount that as a reason.

  4. I thought it was now part of official Catholic doctrine (albeit not very effectively enforced) that being homosexual was as much of a bar to ordination as being female. Although neither are considered, except in the most conservative circles, as actually being a sin in and of themselves (barring acts of poovery or femininity as noted in the OP.)

  5. I know (had the misfortune to go to university) with one current member of the catholic clergy. He failed several times to get into seminary (was considered unsuitable for unspecified reasons), did get in, was thrown out for inappropriate behaviour in the showers, took a few years out then went back in, qualified, and is now installed in a quiet midlands parish, presumably where he can do little harm and a close eye can be kept.
    Basically the requirements are so strict and the pay so crap this job is only going to attract few (and a certain type of) persons. So they are so desperate for staff now they will take entirely unsuitable people. Even those with a track record of acts of poovery.

  6. S.E. You are confusing doctrine ( the basic teachings considered the unchanging truths of the faith) and the various precepts, disciplines, canon laws, that are put in place to run the institutional Church. I am sure there is no doctrine saying you cannot ordain homosexual men, but there are are rules that more or less discourage it. It is argued that the rule against the ordination of women is doctrinal, and cannot changed or dispensed with.

  7. Bill beat me to it:
    – No women priests; doctrine, can’t be changed.
    – No same-sex acts; doctrine, can’t be changed.
    – No men with strong homosexual tendencies to be accepted for priesthood; practical rule, can be changed when circumstances change.

    The current gay tendencies rule only dates from 2005, I gather because some seminaries had reached the point where Julian Clary would have been criticised for looking too straight.

  8. “Jesuits can be relied on to say the complete opposite to the Pope”: that surely makes it likelier that they’ll hit on the truth, then.

    “doctrine, can

  9. So Much For Subtlety // Feb 26, 2013 at 10:25 am says:

    In fact secular teachers who are allowed to marry seem to offend at a vastly greater rate.

    What if I said that that secular teachers who are allowed to marry seem to offend at a vastly lower rate? I can’t cite any evidence to prove my claim. Can you prove yours?

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