Damien's post on Friday angered me beyond my ability to describe, for a while. Don't get me wrong - his writing was great. But reading the blathering and blithering of the representatives of the Catholic Church simply infuriated me.
I'm condensing this down to the simplest points - the quotes from the ZENIT article that Damien referred to are in italics.
The new Vatican document on homosexuality and admission to seminaries and holy orders is not an "attack on homosexuals," says Cardinal Georges Cottier. Rather, the document is an effort "to understand their situation" and sufferings, explained Cardinal Cottier, who until today was the theologian of the Pontifical Household.
You're both absolutely right and absolutely wrong, your Eminence. If I were to I tell you, "Don't go away mad; just go away," it would not be an attack on you. It would be a statement of preference - that I don't want you around. Period. So your statement, while disingenuous, is absolutely true. The Church has not attacked homosexuals; it is simply clarifying their erroneous beliefs and practices surrounding homosexuality and homosexual activity. Nothing personal, of course...
But the second statement is absolutely wrong - because the Church has failed completely to understand the situation of gay men. The Vatican document does nothing more than cauterize the wounds caused by priestly abuse and the failure of the Church administration to deal with that abuse in a proper and timely manner. The Church doesn't understand the situation of gay men; never has, never will. This document just rationalizes the Church's decision to simply excise them, like infected tissue, so that they don't infect the rest of the Church and hurt it any more.
Cardinal Cottier claims that the text is very thought out and says that he would underline its sensitivity.
But, as Damien points out in his post, this document abandons the position of the church which separated "homosexual activity" and the sexual orientation of homosexuality. The Cardinal talks about those who have "deep-seated homosexual tendencies," and those who have slight, "transitory" tendencies, linked to episodes in their lives, of which I would say they can free themselves. Therefore, there are degrees. The "degrees," then, are in whether one can free oneself of homosexual tendencies. If you can't free yourself - if you are homosexual in your being - then it doesn't matter what you do - it only matters what you are. And what the document says, in essence, is if that's how you are, you're out. Period.
All in all, a well-thought out and sensitive position, I'd say...
And I'd sure like to read the studies that support the Church's conclusion that homosexuality impedes, in a certain sense, "emotional maturity". That is so wrong as to be almost immoral.
How the hell have gay priests provided pastoral care, counsel, leadership of congregations and liturgy, and spiritual direction for years on end without "emotional maturity?" How have the overwheming majority of the gay Catholic priesthood lived and served with this so-called immaturity?
The Cardinal's interviewer said, In general, homosexuality is accompanied by this emotional immaturity. It is an affirmation that is going to be criticized, but that is based on experience. Whose experience, I wonder? Just the abusers?
You'd better bet that statements like that are going to be criticized...
Here's another one that just infuriated me: Inasmuch as representative of Christ, bridegroom of the Church, the priest is called to exercise a spiritual paternity among men and women. For this reason, emotional maturity is necessary, which implies a spirit of sacrifice and self-forgetfulness out of love for the other.
Excuse me, Cardinal...There are a whole lot of gay men who are priests. And these men have given up material possessions; taken vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. And the vast majority of them have lived up to those vows. Are you going to tell me that somehow their spirit of sacrifice and self-forgetfulness is somehow defective?
And you say this is not an attack against gay men in the Catholic orders?
Damien makes an interesting point:
He [the Cardinal] does not distinguish those who are sexually active from those who are not sexually active. One can argue that his silence about that distinction is only silence, not a signal one way or the other. Perhaps. Perhaps. One does wonder, though, why no one from Rome wants to issue a statement saying that chaste gay men are acceptable. It would seem so easy a way to stop the conflicting interpretations, assuming they want to do that.I believe the only reason no one wants to issue that statement is that the Church has concluded that if they don't have any homosexuals around, then there won't be any homosexual abuse, and the Church can stop hemmhoraging money and members. Just do a "clean sweep," cut out the infected tissue, cauterize the wound, and carry on.
And wait until the heterosexual abuse cases start to show up. So you can start throwing out the hetero priests...
To me, the Church has said that people with a given ontology - my ontology, my essential being and orientation - are to be excluded from ministry. Homosexuality has gone from being a sin of action to a sin of being (or not-being, perhaps). Catholicism has always declared that the primary mission of humanity, apart from worship of God, is to procreate - and that anything that stands in the way of that procreation is "intrinsically disordered."
Just don't wonder why men of great faith, with servant hearts brimming with love and care, flee your churches, your cathedrals, and your seminaries, your Eminence.
And then stop and reflect on how sterile - and how crippled - your Church will be when they are gone.
The Vatican's document has rung the bell - and there is no way to unring it now. The Church's institutional pride has always prevented admission of error. That's why it took 500 years for them to apologize to Galileo...
This is the last time I'm writing on this, by the way. As Damien pointed out in this linked article, the pogrom has already started. The arrows are pointing toward the door, the door has been opened. The Roman Catholic Church has become an unwelcoming, irrelevant institution to the gay world. The only question remaining is how long it will take for gay Catholics to secede and form the "Rainbow Catholic Church," to preserve the beauties of the Catholic tradition for the GLBT community.
May it come quickly. It's a Reformation that is long overdue.