Real Men Dont Become Priests ??
In your New Oxford Note (Lets Have More Loneliness! Feb.), you point out several problems facing the American Church as a result of the disproportionate number of homosexual seminarians and priests. While it is certainly true that we should be concerned with the sex scandals and persecutions of straight seminarians and priests that are inevitable consequences of this situation, I am surprised that you failed to draw a link between the high number of homosexual seminarians/priests and the frighteningly low number of vocations in many dioceses.
When I left my job as a teacher at a Catholic high school two years ago to enter our diocesan seminary, the typical reaction I received from my students was, Youre going to be a priest? But youre not gay. Imagine! The idea these young Catholics had of the Holy Priesthood was that it merely served as a cover for a homosexual lifestyle! At the time I was shocked, and I attempted in vain to convince them that a mans decision to enter seminary was a response to the call of Our Lord, not an indication of sexual orientation. It did not take me long, however, to realize that their notions were well founded.
Several months later I was approached by one of these former students who felt that Our Lord might be calling him to the priesthood. He was considering applying to our minor seminary, but was concerned because he had heard rumors of rampant homosexual activity there. I knew I could not lie to him, so it was nothing short of heartbreaking for me to confirm that many of these rumors were true. This sincere, holy young man who may well have made a fine priest reluctantly crossed seminary off his list of options.
For many years we have heard about the shortage of priests in most American dioceses. Recently there has been much talk on the subject of gay seminarians and priests. It should be glaringly obvious that the latter has (at least in part) caused the former. Until the common seminary policy of not considering an applicants sexual orientation (despite 10 hours of psychological testing, I was never even asked if I were gay) is rethought, our young men will continue to view the priesthood as an option that is not for normal males.
An Anonymous Seminarian
Only the Appearance of Unity
Recently a friend, Eastern Orthodox like me, former Roman Catholic like me, gave me four issues of the NOR (Oct. through Dec. 2000). Its quite an interesting and earnestly written journal.
The first thing that struck me was the great similarity between the tenor of all four issues and the complaints that arose in the Church of Rome following Vatican II. Now, 36 years later, there remains not only vocal discontent but substantial disagreement hardly a hairs breadth different from the first complaints. And whilst lamenting the modernisms reified by Vatican II, you still champion the Papacy that has allowed them. Pope John Paul II, a man of undoubted personal gifts, is no more a prisoner or victim of the modernisms than he chooses to be. He is, after all, the Supreme Pontiff, the highest authority on earth for Roman Catholics, and can allow and disallow whatever he chooses.
Unity under the papacy is not a unity of belief or practice, but only a unity of administration.
Robert S. Miller
Bainbridge Island, Washington