Niederauer says gays can become priests

Niederauer says gays can become priests

San Francisco’s Archbishop George Niederauer in that recent San Francisco Chronicle interview said that the Vatican Instruction on gays in the seminary doesn’t rule out gays in the seminary.

He told the San Francisco Chronicle’s gay-issues reporter last week that he doubts a recent Vatican instruction clarifying the church’s teaching on homosexuality and the priesthood will create a need to change admission policies for St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif., which he will now oversee. “I have read the document several times, and I certainly don’t hear the document saying, ‘Please engage in a witch hunt,’ ” the archbishop said. The newspaper said the archbishop “believes a gay man can meet the criteria of the Vatican document and effectively minister,” and one of his top priorities will be recruiting and training new priests.

That’s a straw-man argument. His use of the word “witch hunt” insinuates that those say that a homosexual is not suited for the priesthood are “homophobes” who seek and destroy any hint of homosexuality.

Anyone who gives a plain reading to the Instruction, without any attempt to insert their own agenda into the words, will come to the same conclusion:

The Church … cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture.”

Thus if a man identifies himself as “gay” that is prima facie evidence of a deep-seated homosexual tendency. Note that it’s “tendency”, not “activity.”

Can a man who has found himself attracted to other men in the past, who has sought psychological counseling and spiritual healing, and does not consider himself to be gay become a priest? Yes, he because he does not fall into the forbidden categories above. If this is what Niederauer meant, he expressed himself in a ham-handed manner that gave the opposite impression.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • As Fr. Neuhaus has said in First Things, this is going to be a test (defining test?) of this pontificate. Will the Pope allow the document on Homosexuals and the Priesthood to be killed by spin especially by local bishops?  Niederauer is not the only bishop taking this line and this has to be addressed and rebutted by the Holy See otherwise the document will in fact have been killed.  In my opinion the Niederauer appointment was not a good one and he will not do justice to the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.  Neither he nor did his predecessor confront a situation in SF where there was an openly gay parish where flirting and all kinds of nonsense goes on before Mass.  Can we expect that that parish is being guided by the Church’s teachings or that they even hear them? Can we expect Abp Niederauer to have the mettle to confront that situation?

  • He got appointed because Levada is his good friend, most likely.  Recall him?  Probably.  Force the Holy Father to speak to him on the issue?  No.  If the Holy Father sees that again and again he has misreprsented the document, he’ll speak to him about it.  So, make the Holy Father know about it….

  • “So, make the Holy Father know about it . . .”

    You’re naieve if you think the Holy Father does not know about all this.

    And we’re morons if we think he cares.

  • I’ve got to wonder: Is it just a coincidence that a “gay friendly” bishop (not exactly an oxymoron in this country) is appointed bishop of SF?  The gates of hell will not prevail against His church and most certainly will lose the war, but the gates of hell have won and will win many a battle.  Take a good look at the USCCB and ask yourselves if we’re all on the same side.  I can certainly imagine a pontiff that trusts his advisors implicitly, and makes appointments accordingly.  Or just delegates the responsibility.

  • Eric, in Oakland, when Rome found out about the state of a bishop, they did something.  And the homeschooling mom’s who informed Rome by sending a DVD they made about it were told it was because of their DVD that Rome acted.  I’m not naieve but have seen the Church and what it has done in the past.

  • Interesting factoids:

    Levada, Niedeerauer and MAHONEY were classmates in that notorious lavender seminary in California. I have also learned from a usually reliable source that Levada and Niederauer jointly own a retirement condo in Long Beach, CA. (No, I have not seen the deed, but let those who doubt check out the public records.)

  • “Eric, in Oakland, when Rome found out about the state of a bishop, they did something.”

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  • You don’t get it, do you?.  You assume that the Holy Father knows everything bishop’s say.  He doesn’t sit around all day watching them.  He has a whole entire Church to look after and many things to do.  Saveourdiocese was the website started by a group of home schooling mom’s who got Rome to do something about their bishop just by sending a DVD of what he did.  You can’t assume Rome knows and that Rome doesn’t care unless they told you so.

  • Infant:

    You’re right. Rome has no idea what Cardinal Mahoney’s been doing all these years. Every idiot in this country with a computer knows, but not the Pope? No one in all these years has gone out of their way to contact Rome about Mahoney?


    Ditto with the other infamous dissenters. I suppose the Pope does not know about Hans Kung (why is he still allowed to call himself a Catholic priest in good standing, with the faculties to say Mass and Preach?) or Richard McBrien, or Dominic Crossan at DePaul University teaching that Jesus’ body was eaten at dogs.

    The Pope is sooo ignorant, right? Everyone in the world and his mother knows, but not the Pope?

    Give me a break.

  • Because of course America is the center of the universe and what happens here is the most important thing in the world… In case you hadn’t noticed the pope is the head of the Church in the world, and this country is small potatos: 65 million Catholics in the US vs a billion worldwide. Maybe, just maybe, people in Rome aren’t as glued to American news as Americans are and perhaps there are many things that require his attention and he’ll get to our issues as priorities warrent?

  • Eric, if Rome knows EVERYTHING that goes on in America, why A) do we need bishops anyway?  B) was the message to the people of Oakland “Thank you for INFORMING us.”

  • Granted, the Pope has more than enough worldwide problems to keep him occupied –  In the Netherlands only 8% of Catholics attned Mass.  Canada is almost at this state as well.  In the last 40 years three-quarters of British Catholics have walked.  If the decline continues at the current rate, the Catholic Church in Britain will be dead in seven years.  “Catholic” Spain’s abortion rate is up 72%.  So, if getting the attention of the Vatican is take a number and stand in line, maybe they don’t think a shameful sex scandal resulting in over one billion dollars paid out to victims of pervert priests, or 400 priests dead from AIDS is a biggy.

  • I don’t expect the Pope to know about every minute happening in America.

    But all of you and I both know that he is fully aware of the major dissenters. We in America, after all, are aware of international dissenters (e.g. Cardinal Kaspar, Hans Kung, Cardinal Tattamanzi, etc.).

    Don’t tell me he doesn’t know. Otherwise, he’s grossly incompetent and shouldn’t be sitting on the Papal Chair to begin with.

  • Eric, are you SSPX? There’s nothing wrong with being honest but your posts come across (to me anyway) as the posts of an angry man… do what you can do in your own little corner… it’s the only way.

  • A Lefebvrist? Me? Heck no!

    Angry? I dunno; definitely frustrated. I’m a young, orthodox, heterosexual male; and for that I was refused admission to my home Archdiocese and am in a good, orthodox one today (I started in early January).

    I’ve every reason to be frustrated, as does any serious Catholic. There is such a thing as righteous anger.

    Otherwise, your counsel is very valid. Thank you.

  • Well God bless and I will try to remember to keep you in my prayers!

    I figured out a couple of years ago that I was kind of bitter a lot… because it is so difficult to bring up and nurture a Catholic family today (and I am not talking anything even remotely approaching Traditionalists) – mostly, and this is tragic – you do it as an army of one. In so many parishes (not to speak of our own extended families!) there is no support, dippy CCD materials/programs and banal Masses (I live in the Arch of Boston). Plus there’s the ‘outside’ Catholic world… all the crap you read and know about particularly these last 4 – 5 years as stuff came out that most of us had no idea about. But then (must have had a shot of grace) I grew to know not to pay too much attention/think overmuch about those things that are not perfect and which I have no control over and to know to do what I can do in my own little corner of the world (family, work and socially). The other stuff saps you eventually. I found (thank you God) a good and holy and faithful priest (hospital chaplain) and he will never know how much he means to our family – words don’t cut it. Beautiful Mass, rosary, Eucharistic Adoration and a bit of a catechism lesson tied in with the homily every week. Plus the incredible witness of a man who gives all for God.

    What else is uplifting in my life is the witness of all the faithful Catholics on the web… and look at all the wonderful reading material we have!

  • Eric,
    You seem intent on misunderstaning people. My point was that our perspective is not the same as that of the pope and that from where he stands the priorities and needs of the Church may well look different. I think people who try to second guess or backseat drive the Vatican’s decisions will always be frustrated because the simple fact is that things look different when you are wearing those shoes.

  • Melanie:

    I agree with you there, in principle. My comments were mostly directed to INFANTED.

    That having been said, the United States is not exactly some obscure outpost in the middle of nowhere. What happens here does impact the worldwide Church-communion. Where do you think most of the third-world Church gets a good deal of its income from?

    Even if the Pope cannot oversee every Diocese, he’s obliged to appoint people who will do the overseeing for him.

    One thing’s for sure: someone, somewhere, has dropped the ball in observation somehwere in this country. Who’s the blame, the Nuncio?

  • Right on Eric –  Let’s not forget the old Harry Truman axiom on his desk – “The buck stops here!” and who did they litigate in the Enron scandals, middle management?  I don’t thlink so.

    It’s obvious the pope needs new shoes.  Guccis don’t seem to be doing it.

  • “Can a man who has found himself attracted to other men in the past, who has sought psychological counseling and spiritual healing, and does not consider himself to be gay become a priest?”

    The answer is a clear “no” according to the instruction. This man would have had to be healed of his homosexual orientation prior to admission to the seminary and to be ordained to the diaconate he would have to be chaste for a minimum of three years. Inasmuch as the homosexual orientation is considered to be “deep-seated” and not easily changed the situation which the instruction considers is that of an adolescent sexual confusion that is resolved in a healthy way and this would include a clear heterosexual orientation as a mature adult.

    These bishops are turning the instruction upside down.