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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Why it's new rules barring gay priests turn Jesus' teaching on it's head.

THE ONE CONSOLATION THAT GAY CATHOLICS HAVE LONG HAD, is that the church hates only sin, not the sinners. Yes,, many of us are far from perfect and like most married, heterosexual Catholics, we have been known to have sex without without making a baby. But we were, as the Vatican assured us in official documents in 1975 and '86, "made in the images and the likeness of God",. The condition of homosexuality was, for many, "innate" and not in itself a sin. Gay people were "often generous and giving of themselves", said the Vatican, and the notion that gays could not lead celibate lives was an "unfounded and demeaning assumption",. The bar on any gay sexual intimacy was still firm -- ut it was the same bar that prohibited heterosexual couples from using contraception, or single people from masturbating, or any other nonprocreative sexual act. It was a coherent, if diffiuclt, doctrine -- and not bigotry.

In this confined and iften suffocating place, it was still possible, though never easy, to breathe the love of God as a gay Catholic. Our love of the church helped us overlook its intitutional rejection of the relationships we built and the families who embraced us as equals. For many of us, the presence of gay preist also gave immense comfort. Of mu three confessors in adult life, all turned out to be gay, although I had no idea in advance. I have known many gay priests, and I'm in awe of their service -- to the poor and needy, to the lonely and uneducated, to prisoners and parishoners who have all found grace through their ministry and sacrifice. Often, their outsider experience helped them realted better to the marginalized or the lonley or those taken for granted.

Recall the image of Mychal Judge, the chaplain for New York City's firfighters, carried away from the World Trade Center in the arms of brave men he minsitered to. Judge, a proudly gay man, gave his life for those he served. Under new rules from Pope Benedict XVI issued last week, Father Judge would naver have been ordained. Nor would thousands of other gay priests and bishops and monks and nuns who have served God's people throughout the ages.

In the past, all mattered for a priest, as far as sexual orientation was concerned, was celibacy. If a priest kept his vows, it did'nt really matter if he were refusing to have sex with a man or with a woman. All that mattered was that he kept his vows and had sex with no one.

But that has just changed. Even if a gay priest remains completly celibat, his sexual orientation is now regarded, according to a Vatican expert, as a threat to "priestly life". A gay celibate priest, accroding to the new rules is incapable of "sexual maturity coherent with his musculine sexual identity". He has" a problem in the psychic organization" of his sexuality, barring him from priestly responsibility. Gay seminarians can be spotted and rooted out because they allegedly have "trouble relating to their fathers, are uncomforatble with their own identity; tend to isolate themselves; have difficulty in discussing sexual questions; view pronography on the Internet, demonstrate a deep sense of guilt; or often see themselves as victims." No serious psychological date are provided to verify those assertations (and many would surely apply to countless heterosexuals as well). What the new Pope had done is conflate a sin with an identity. He has created a class of human beings who, regadless of what they do, are too psychologically and thereby morally "disordered" to become priests.

There is a simple principle here. The message of Jesus was always to ignore the sterotype, the label, the identity -- in order to observe the soul beneath, how a person actually behaves. One of his most famous parables was that of the Good Samaritan, a man who belonged to a group despised by mainstream society. But it was the despised man who did good, while all the superficially respected people walked on by. Jesus consorted with all of society undersirables -- with tax collectors, collaborators with an occupying power, former prostitutes, lepers. His message was that God's grace knows no boundaries of stigma, that with God's help, we can all live by the same standards and received the grace that comes from his love.

The new Pope has now turned theat teachings on its head. He has identified a group of people and said, regardless of how they behave or what they do, they are benetath service God. It isn't that they do that he is concerend with. it's who they are. They are the News Samaritans. And all of themn are bad.

(Source: TIMEMAG/ESSAY by: Andrew Sullivan/visit Andrew Sullian's blog, the Daily Dish, cna be found at andrewsullivan.com
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:14 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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