We were drawn to read Americas February 26 editorial on homosexually-inclined priests after reading James K. Fitzpatricks piece in the March 23 Wanderer (Smoke and Mirrors). Fitzpatrick charges that Americas editorial seeks to overturn the Churchs teaching on homosexuality, without being candid enough to say so. Now, a careful reading of the editorial shows that nowhere does America call for abandoning the Churchs teaching on homosexuality or her discipline of priestly celibacy. Indeed, America says that the fact that some priests are unchaste does not negate the churchs moral theology and that because some priests have broken their promise of celibacy does not mean that celibacy is somehow unworkable. So, whats Fitzpatrick talking about?
He says that The America editorial wants priests tempted by homosexuality to feel free to call themselves gay priests. And indeed, America refers to homosexually-inclined priests, whether celibate or not, exclusively as gay priests (that term is used seven times in an editorial taking up only one page). So, whats wrong with that? Fitzpatrick sees an agenda at work here, and not just because of the loaded word gay.
Why, asks Fitzpatrick, would someone afflicted with the temptation to this one sin [homosexual activity] want to label himself with it? Fitzpatrick continues: Do priests who are attracted to women feel free to express their yearnings? Yes. Some do. We have all heard priests talk of the sacrifice that is required of those who take the vow of celibacy, of the difficulty in giving up conjugal love and the joys of family life . If heterosexual priests can admit to their longings, why not homosexual priests? The answer is that heterosexual priests who admit to a yearning for conjugal love are admitting to a longing for something good . Sex within marriage is not sinful or shameful. One would expect priests to be attracted to it . [But] if a priest with homosexual yearnings were to admit to his temptation, he would be saying something very different. He would be admitting to a yearning for an activity unacceptable for anyone, priest or layman . Priests who are tempted by pedophilia, but who overcome their temptations, would not identify themselves as pedophile priests. Those tempted to skim the collection baskets would not call themselves robber priests. They would warrant such labels only if they succumbed to their temptations to do something wrong .
So why would America call all homosexually-inclined priests, celibate or not, gay priests? Because, says Fitzpatrick plausibly, America is seeking to create a moral equivalence between homosexual and heterosexual sex. And that is the basic premise of the homosexual revolution.
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