Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish

It no longer matters what gay priests - or gay men, for that matter - do. What matters is who they are.

Continued from page 2

Of course, if all this is to be taken seriously (and I cannot go along with the cynicism of those who pretend it doesn't matter), it forces us to a very important question. Why is the Church permitting currently gay priests to continue in their ministry? If they cannot relate to men and women, as the Church claims, if their celibacy does not mitigate their psychological sickness, if they have -

trouble relating to their fathers; are uncomfortable with their own identity; tend to isolate themselves; have difficulty in discussing sexual questions; view pornography on the Internet; demonstrate a deep sense of guilt; or often see themselves as victims

- then why are they allowed to continue in the priesthood at all? Why ban seminarians but not priests? Already, we

have signs

that a gradual purge along these lines will begin. And so, by the logic of the demonization of homosexuals, it should. If gay men should never have been ordained in the first place, why should they be allowed to remain? My own heart goes out to those men who have lived up to their vows, been wonderful priests, and are now told that, in so far as they are gay, they have no social value, no moral virtue and that if they had not already been ordained, they would no longer be. What are they supposed to do? I'd say they have a moral obligation to tell their parishioners who they are, to debunk the prejudices and smears foisted upon them by the (often closeted) hierarchy, and let the chips fall where they may. Bigotry is wrong; condemning a whole group of society is wrong; demeaning their service is wrong; perpetuating unsubstantiated libels and pseudo-pop-psychology is wrong. It is incumbent on straight Catholics as well as gay ones to say this out loud. The principles here are fairness and compassion. Defending them is defending the Church itself.


- 11:19:00 AM
 
EMAIL OF THE DAY:

A gay Catholic grad student at Notre Dame writes the following:

I apologize if my own anger and pain about the document detract from the larger points I attempt to make, but this instruction feels like a truly personal attack.

Always bear in mind that when God surveyed his creation he deemed it good. Not perfect, good. As creatures we must recognize the value of other despite any deficiencies. Let us not lose sight of the dire consequences this document will likely have. None of its effects have only theoretical ramifications. It harms the flesh and bones of Christ's Mystical Body, gay and straight, lay and ordained.

This document fundamentally renders the Catholic Church less catholic, less compassionate, and less Christian. Furthermore, it will exacerbate the priest shortage at a time when so many Catholics lack the nourishment provided by a communal celebration of the Eucharist. It alienates not only gay and lesbian Catholics but their loved ones as well - who have perhaps struggled but succeeded in accepting their homosexual loved one as a good person in whom the Spirit is active.
As a gay Catholic I find it difficult to conceive a place for myself that maintains any semblance of intellectual, spiritual or emotional integrity; I see a dismissal of my ability to achieve a humane communion with my fellow persons and with Christ. The Vatican has now further marginalized an already marginalized group by pandering to people's worst fears and stereotypes. This document amounts to a predation upon those men with whom I share a unique emotional commiseration and who thus speak more effectively to my particular spiritual struggle. It attempts to amputate part of the Mystical Body.
We cannot pass this position off as a 'hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner' exhortation otherwise a commitment to celibacy would suffice. The equation of predilection to actual act has dangerous implications for all Catholics. The inclination to sin, common to all humans and part of our imperfection, should never be squared with sin itself lest we abandon the hope for living in a Christ-like way by overcoming the inclination to sin to instead act with love and justice.

What those who condemn homosexuality fail to realize is that it is not only or even primarily about sex, just as heterosexual attraction is not primarily about the act. A non-normative attraction does not constitute an 'affective immaturity' that precludes normal relational interactions. In fact, in my experience and the experience of every other gay person I know, the stifling of our sexuality through denial, self-loathing, an attempt to enter straight relationships, or a spiritually unsatisfying celibacy causes much more dysfunction in relationships of all types than does admitted homosexuality. The 'trial' of homosexuality comes from the fear of reprobation or the actual rejection of others, to which the Church now contributes under the pretext of stabilizing the priesthood. Once we come to terms with our own sexuality and remember that we are still children of God, we can begin to see ourselves as God does: good, imperfect but unquestionably good.
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