Gays in the Priesthood

Brian Murphy, Ph.D.

Rev. Matthew Habiger, OSB, Ph.D.

November 8, 2015

Bishops and leaders in the Church agree that the life issue is the pre-eminent moral issue of our time.  They agree on this point with very simple logic.  Without life, there is nothing else to talk about.

Pope Francis wants bishops with pastoral sensitivity.  Until the root of the life issue is addressed at a pastoral level within the Church, sins against life will not diminish.  Ignoring the life issue will not make it go away.  The magnitude of the life issue is so large, within the Church, let alone society at large, that it virtually chokes off the flow of God’s grace necessary for the salvation of souls. 

Most prominent within the life issue is the sin of abortion.  We know from several view points that the root cause of abortion is the sin of contraception. The root cause of the sin of contraception is the sin of lack of chastity.  The root cause of the sin of lack of chastity is a lack of understanding of God’s plan for life, love, marriage and children and the role of the Holy Spirit and the life of grace.  The root cause of such lack of understanding is silence from the pulpit.

A companion article, Getting Beyond I Can’t, addresses the various excuses provided by clergy for silence from the pulpit.  It all comes down to “Why are they so scared?”

The presence of gays in the priesthood has had an enormous effect in contributing to the overall silence.  Michael S. Rose in his book “Goodbye Good Men – How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church”, May 1, 2002, carefully chronicled the rise of the homosexual sub-culture within Roman Catholic seminaries throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties and the efforts of some vocation directors to block off candidates who were not accepting of that culture.  Many “good men” got excluded from the priesthood forever.  Or, in order to complete their seminary training, they adapted and conformed to a philosophy of “do not offend” in direct contradiction to the example set by our Lord.  “Then his disciples approached and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?’” Mt. 15:12 

Even though various corrective actions have been implemented, gays continue to be ordained.  The presence today of gays in the clergy in large numbers cannot be denied.  Undoubtedly, with the passage of time, many of these have risen to the level of the episcopate.

There is a real problem with clergy who have a strong homosexual orientation.   The recent clergy sex scandals are proof positive of that.  What the actual percentages are, is unknown, but they must be considerable.  See Wikepedia.  Certainly, this element within the clergy is creating a blockage at the pulpit so that the whole issue of chastity is not mentioned. This includes contraception and sterilization.  We have personally witnessed this in the Los Angeles area which bolsters other reports that we hear from around the country, including Canada.

Among the clergy with a normal sexual orientation, there is still a massive reluctance, which is self-induced, to address life issues.  They don’t accept Humanae Vitae and the full Catholic sexual ethic.  The influence from the homosexual clergy only reinforces this mindset.

What is the solution?  How do we get people to talk about the “elephant sitting in the room?”  The seminaries must take priestly celibacy very seriously.  Fr. Ronald Knott, instructor at St. Meinrad’s seminary in Indiana, reports that this topic was mentioned every day of the year.

Men with "uncertain sexual identity" and "deep-seated homosexual tendencies” must be excluded from seminaries.  The priesthood is patterned upon that of Jesus.  Jesus is the husband, and the Church is his spouse.  So also must be the priest.  He must have a clear sense of fathering, of a spousal relationship, and be able to radiate this.  Without this, his priesthood is seriously hampered.  Like Jesus, he must have great courage, and be willing to receive verbal abuse and persecution.  He must be willing to stand alone against a culture that seeks to devour him or silence him.

The Church teaches correctly that it has no authority from Christ to ordain women.  A similar logic can be applied to the question of ordaining gays.  The Church has no authority from Christ to ordain gays.

A Vatican Instruction is very clear on the matter:  “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 practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’”

What does one do with the men who are ordained, and probably should not have been, even though they are chaste?  They should never be placed in positions where they pose a threat to young men.  For example, Abbot (Emeritus) Charles Wright of St. Benedictine Abbey in Oceanside, CA says that the Monastery has always had a policy of screening out gays from joining the monastery.  Gay clergy should not be allowed to influence what is said at the pulpit.  They should not be promoted to positions of higher authority.  Like the rest of the clergy, they should be closely monitored by a reliable moral support group.  Of course, if they cannot be chaste, they should resign and become laicized.

In sum, we are dealing with a real problem.  The problem must be openly recognized, and then dealt with.  The question is exactly how?  The first step is to clearly identify the problem, and make sure that many people know about it.  That includes good bishops.