The Boston Globe reports on a gay seminarian who was booted from St. John’s Seminary. The article gets it wrong, but who can blame the reporter since what he often gets is a mush of Church teaching.
Here’s what happened. An openly gay seminarian gets dismissed from the seminary because he won’t stop talking about homosexuality and specifically, his homosexuality. He claims that it is discrimination, that if one is simply a discreet and closeted homosexual there are no repercussions. To back up his argument, he says he knows of two seminarians who had sex in department store dressing room, even though he says he has no evidence.
This is what the reporter had to say: “According to Catholic teaching, homosexuality by itself is not considered a sin, although homosexual acts are.” True enough as it goes, but it fails to include the part about homosexuality itself being a disorder and an inclination to sin that should be rooted out. It is not enough, as the article claims the Church allows, for the homosexual to remain celibate yet gay. The call to holiness demands a rooting out of inclinations to sin in addition to sin itself. A heterosexual man must not lust after women, a thief shouldn’t fantasize about the best way to rob a bank, and so on.
So what did the seminarian’s sponsor, the Archdiocese of Hartford, have to say?
- Seminarians must be ‘‘able to live within the community structure and allow that structure to function in the way it is intended to function without creating a disruption by being outspoken on particular issues,’’ said Monsignor Gerard G. Schmitz, vocation director for the Hartford Archdiocese.
It seems to support the seminarians contention that it’s not the homosexuality but the outspokenness that’s the problem. Go along with the program until ordination, seems to be the watchword. So what does Boston say?
- The Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, a Boston Archdiocese spokesman and St. John’s faculty member, ... said, ‘‘To enter into a Catholic seminary and continuously push an agenda that is not in keeping with the church’s teaching on sexual orientation is problematic.’‘
It’s a little better, but it still doesn’t speak to the individual’s own orientation. It’s about outspokenness.
- “A man who is same-sex oriented can be ordained as long as he understands and is accepting of the promise of celibacy as the church understands it,’’ Coyne said. ‘‘The judgment call is not based on whether a man is gay or not. The judgment call is whether or not a man is committed to a celibate lifestyle and all that entails.’‘
Okay, that one bothers me. It is a capitulation to homosexuality, to concupiscence. If a seminarian walks around lusting after women all day, is he suitable for ordination. How about if he lusts after children, even if he is “committed to a celibate lifestyle”?
Of course, the seminarian we learn has more problems with Church teaching that just homosexuality.
- According to Meehan, church officials have officially said he was expelled due to differences of opinion over church teachings. ... Also, at a church gathering in Hartford, he was critical of the seminary for teaching that homosexuality is a moral choice and for discouraging discussions about ordination of women.
So it wasn’t just homosexuality. In fact, open dissent on one issue at the core of a person’s self-identity often leads to dissent on other Church teachings. So what is the Church to do in such a case? If a man dissents from Church teaching and will not see the truth of those teachings, the Church is not obligated to ordain him. Let him find another vocation, because a priest’s job is to teach the truth, not express his personal and flawed opinion.