A parish priest says the “wise prohibition” of homosexuals from the priesthood should remain and be enforced.
In his regular column in the San Mateo Times, Fr. James Garcia said he is reserving judgment on the press reports, based on anonymous sources, that the Vatican will issue a document that sets conditions for homosexuals to enter the priesthood. “They just don't square with past Vatican teachings that kept the door firmly closed,” he said.
Ordained 35 years, Fr. Garcia said he doesn’t know why anyone would abolish the ban.
“The Catholic Church is just beginning to extricate herself from the greatest scandal and financial payout in her American history,” he wrote. He referred to last year’s John Jay Report, which indicated that 80 percent of the clergy sexual abuse victims in the past 50 years were boys between the ages of 11 and 17, “making both the sin and the crime homosexual in nature.”
The ban is consistent with two points of Catholic thought, said the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Menlo Park. First, he said, the Church will never accept that homosexuality is part of the Creator's plan, and will continue to view homosexual activity as a contradiction of natural law.
“Second, when a Roman Catholic man makes the sacred promise of celibacy, the object is the definitive renunciation of the good of marriage,” he explained. “Ecclesiastical celibacy has value precisely because an average Joe relinquishes the love of a wife and the joy of fatherhood for the sake of the love of God. This oath is appropriately taken by someone who otherwise would have made a good family man.”
“Canon Law and Vatican instructions provide seminary bishops and vocation recruiters with all the backing they need to say with respect, compassion and sensitivity: ‘Look, friend, if you're living with some degree of same-sex attraction, the seminary and the priesthood are not the place for you to serve God’,” he wrote.
The priest contends that if the prohibition is enforced, “seminaries will be more apt to form psychologically healthy men into spiritually generous priests. In time, the unfortunate association between the priesthood and deviant behavior will diminish, and a new generation of seminarians will emerge.”