Is It Time for Co-ed Rectories & Religious Communities?

February 2003

Este artículo: en español

A debate is raging as to whether homosexually inclined men should continue to be admitted to seminaries. America magazine has weighed in with an editorial (Nov. 11, 2002) arguing, to no one's surprise, in the affirmative.

America tells us that "the majority" of homosexually inclined priests "lead chaste lives." That's curious. Why didn't America say "the great majority"? Probably because America knows very well that it's not the great majority.

A great majority would, in our estimation, be between 75 and 99 percent. A mere majority would likely be between 51 and 74 percent. One could therefore easily conclude that somewhere between 25 and 49 percent of homosexually inclined priests are violating their vow of chaste celibacy. Apparently, that's good enough for America.

America goes on to speak of "the gifts that gay priests bring to the church," quoting Michael Ford as saying that these "gifts" come from the "Divine Source." But the Catechism speaks of the "disorder" that homosexual priests bring to the Church (#2358). If, however, homosexuality is a gift of God, then what could be wrong with it? And why shouldn't a homosexual priest be able to share his gift with other homosexuals? And the more the gayer! Surely, America believes in sharing.

Earlier, America published an article by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (Sept. 30, 2002) that took that same tack, and Gumbleton quoted Fr. James Empereur, S.J., as saying that "homosexuality is one of God's most significant gifts to humanity" (italics added). So maybe it's the heterosexuals who are afflicted with the "disorder"? Now, Gumbleton did not say that homosexual activity is moral. (After all, he was writing in America, which is assiduously read in Rome.) However, that is Gumbleton's position. Gumbleton spoke at a gathering of homosexuals at St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village, saying that "We need a new paradigm for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in the Church." An astute reporter for Lesbian and Gay New York asked the Bishop what exactly he meant. The reporter said, "The Church's official teaching is that sexual activity between two people of the same sex is always wrong. Do you mean to say that it can be moral?" Gumbleton answered, "Yes, I do." This appeared in a very friendly source, Dignity/USA Journal, Winter 1999.

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

New Oxford Notes: February 2003

Read our posting policy Add a comment
What is there to say? Another accommodation of the secular mores by another Bishop in the U.S.. The church teaching has not changed yet the accretion continues and there is no official chastisement. Hopefully this is not more "dialogue" leading to a new understanding. Posted by: martillo
February 04, 2008 12:13 PM EST
How grievous to learn that homosexuality is said to be the dominant cultural influence among Jesuits, and chastity is not widely practiced. Jesuit intellectual pursuits and contributions are simply awesome, and so many Jesuit priests are wonderful people as people, although countless Jesuits have shocked us over the years as well. I hope those who are pushing the envelope will be brought back into line so as not to tarnish further the remarkable heritage of the Jesuits and so as to allow us to continue to feel comfortable loving, respecting, and learning from the many great Jesuit priests we see so often in the Church. Posted by: Maryanne Leonard
September 01, 2012 02:58 AM EDT
Add a comment