John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter is reporting that the new document barring gays from seminary will be less stringent than we’ve been told. He says that rather than an absolute ban, it will call on seminary officials to exercise “prudential judgment” on not accepting homosexual candidates under three different criteria:
If candidates have not demonstrated a capacity to live celibate lives for at least three years;
If they are part of a “gay culture,” for example, attending gay pride rallies (a point, the official said, which applies both to professors at seminaries as well as students);
If their homosexual orientation is sufficiently “strong, permanent and univocal” as to make an all-male environment a risk.
If this is true, then this is worse than just a mere statement of status quo ante based on the 1961 policy. That document was an absolute prohibition on anyone with homosexual tendencies from entering seminary. The mainstream media would characterize this as an about face, throwing the doors wide to homosexuals (and it would be difficult to dispute that.)
Of course as one friend said, an absolute prohibition would be just as bad if it’s allowed to be routinely violated, making a mockery of Church teaching and “driving the wedge a bit deeper to separate the ‘unrealistic’ teachings from the ‘pastoral solutions.’”
What it tells us is that no document alone will fix what’s wrong with the seminaries, whether it’s homosexuality or rampant dissent or what have you. You can only fix the seminary by putting people in control who have the sincere desire to follow the Church’s teachings and to raise up the best possible priests for God’s people. And you have to have bishops, here and in Rome, who are willing to enforce these disciplines even up to yanking people from their posts if they won’t abide by them.