The Vatican’s soon-to-be-released document, banning homosexuals from the priesthood, has caused an uproar in the press, but Catholic priests say it is a welcome document that properly addresses a serious issue in the Church.
The Congregation for Catholic Education prepared the document, which will likely be issued in the form of a standard ‘Instruction’ at the Synod of Bishops in October. It will be one of the first official documents of Pope Benedict’s pontificate.
In an interview with Matt C. Abbot, a catholic commentator, three of them shared their impressions on the Vatican initiative. Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, said the Church’s position on the issue is nothing new. “It is actually a re-statement of a clear position of the Church since the time of Pope John XXIII,” he pointed out in The American Daily.
He noted that the John Jay study on the clergy sex-abuse scandal in the U.S., found that 80 percent of clergy abuse involved adolescent males, “which means that the core of the problem is one of homosexuality, not strictly pedophilia,” he said.
“Thankfully the Church’s highest authority has recognized the problem and has now taken concrete steps to address it,” he stated.
“You can’t have it both ways,” he added. “Either you grab the problem by its root and yank it out of the soil of the priesthood or you keep asking the faithful to subsidize deviant behavior and the resulting legal liability. Benedict has made his choice, and we are the better for it.”
Fr. Richard Perozich of San Diego said history has shown that priests with a homosexual orientation maintain a homosexual self-image after ordination, act out, encourage others to do so and campaign for homosexual rights in all aspects of society.
“Since there is little motive for change for a practicing and promoting homosexual priest after ordination, one solution is not to ordain him before ordination or not to admit him to formation,” said the priest, who is currently ministering in Honduras as a Maryknoll priest associate.
“Ordination is not a right. Ordination is a privilege of service granted to men deemed mature enough in all aspects of their lives to be able to be faithful to that service,” Fr. Perozich told The American Daily.
Fr. Burns Seeley of the Chicago-based Society of St. John Cantius said it seems to him that the Vatican document should touch more on the principle of priestly chastity. “I think ‘Even if they are celibate…,’ should read, ‘Even if they are chaste…’” he told The American Daily.
Fr. Seeley understands the key point of the document to mean that homosexuals “are incapable of perceiving human nature as God as created it, consisting of male and female persons meant for mutual attraction, complementarity, and, God-willing, marriage and children.
“In other words, they do not see or experience objective reality,” he continued. “It follows that homosexual priests possess a serious handicap which makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to serve well as our Lord’s faithful ordained ministers.”