There’s gnashing of teeth in Los Angeles over the Instruction, or perhaps it’s just denial, as evidenced by the LA Times story on the document. The Times calls it a “qualified ban” and says that it doesn’t offer an absolute ban, but allows a “nuanced approach.” Perhaps that’s wishful thinking.
Certainly, Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the LA archdiocese, agrees.
There will be some people who from what they hear in the media will think: ‘Oh my God, this means no gay will ever be ordained in the priesthood again or anybody with a homosexual orientation will never be ordained again.’ That’s simply not true.”
Who are these people who would be so devastated that no homosexuals could be ordained to the priesthood? Apparently, there are plenty of them in LA, or at least in the chancery there.
Already we’re seeing the interpretation of the three-year rule in its broadest sense, clearly at odds with the clear intent.
Father Thomas Rausch, professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, said the three-year rule keeps the door ajar for gay seminary candidates. “It still leaves up to the local bishop the important role of admitting candidates to the seminary. So, in that sense I don’t think it’s going to have a major impact,” he said.
No, as I said below, the three-year rule is for those who have overcome transitory dabblings in homosexuality, but are now heterosexual. It is clearly not a loophole for gay men.
But what this shows us is that the effectiveness of this rule is entirely dependent on the men tasked with implementing it. Which is why episcopal appointments are the other half of renewal of the Church.