Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Monday, 18 November 2013

Homosexuality and the Priesthood

In light of the controversy concerning homosexuality and the priesthood it would be useful to review what the Church actually says about this matter. In 2006 the Congregation for Catholic Education published an instruction.

The Catechism distinguishes between homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies. Regarding acts, it teaches that Sacred Scripture presents them as grave sins. The Tradition has constantly considered them as intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law. Consequently, under no circumstance can they be approved.....In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called "gay culture".

This was based upon an earlier instruction, Religiosorum institutio, issued in 1961. 

4. If a student in a minor seminary has sinned gravely against the sixth commandment with a person of the same or the other sex, or has been the occasion of grave scandal in the matter of chastity, he is to be dismissed immediately as stipulated in canon 1371, except if prudent consideration of the act and of the situation of the student by the superiors or confessors should counsel a different policy in an individual case, sc., in the case of a boy who has been seduced and who is gifted with excellent qualities and is truly penitent, or when the sin was an objectively imperfect act.
If a novice or a professed religious who has not yet made perpetual vows should be guilty of the same offense, he is to be sent away from the community or, should the circumstances so demand, he is to be dismissed with due observance of canon 647, § 2, 1°. If a perpetually professed religious is found guilty of any such sin, he is to be perpetually excluded from tonsure and the reception of any further Order. If the case belongs to the external forum, he is to receive a canonical warning unless, as provided for in canons 653 and 668, there be grounds for sending him back to the world (cf. Stat. Gen., art. 34, § 2, 4°).
Lastly, should he be a subdeacon or deacon, then, without prejudice to the above-mentioned directives and if the case should so demand, the superiors should take up with the Holy See the question of his reduction to the lay state. 
For these reasons, clerics who in their diocese or religious who in another community have sinned gravely against chastity with another person are not to be admitted with a view to the priesthood, even on a trial basis, unless there be clear evidence of excusing causes or of circumstances which can at least notably diminish responsibility in conscience (Circular Letter of S. C. of the Sacraments, n. 16; Canon Law Digest, 4, p. 314).
Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers. 
The real issue is the implementation of these norms in our seminaries and religious institutes. The spreading of gossip and the propagation of rumors, whether in the Diocese of Motherwell or here in our own, does not serve anyone's interests. Given the situation I would not be surprised if the Catholics of Motherwell inundated the Vatican with requests for redress. However, what this has to do with a bunch of bloggers half a world away who do not even have a clear idea of what is going on in their own seminaries and religious institutes is beyond me. Better you should ask where your future priests are going to come from and how are they going to be trained?


Barona said...

I was not aware there is controversy.... your post proves it.

Barona said...

One of the bloggers is a Glaswegian.

Vox Cantoris said...

This blog is conflicted. One part of it writes on the situation and another condemns the other for doing so.

Either get on the same page or take your bickering offline.

It is just plain silly.

Freyr said...

Let me make this perfectly clear. I am not about to uncritically espouse the cause of Fr. Despard nor am I going to contribute $7.70 to even read his allegations. I do not wish to be included in your blanket statements regarding the position of this blog.