To homosexual who wants to be a priest

To homosexual who wants to be a priest

Mark Shea gives about the best response to a homosexual who is bitter at the Church’s ban on gay men entering the seminary. Without rancor or ad hominem, Mark responds with charity, empathy, and orthodoxy. I disagree with a thing or two (I think the blanket prohibition is fine; he thinks a serious, celibate, orthodox man with same-sex attraction and good track record could be a good priest), but in general he hits all the right notes.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • As to who can be ordained, I think the story of St. Isaac Jogues is instructive:

    Martyr born Orleans, France, 1607; died Auriesville, New York, 1646. In 1624 he became a member of the Society of Jesus. He traveled to Canada, 1636, and spent six years in the lake region, visited the Petuns with Father Garnier, and journeyed as far as Sault Sainte Marie. Captured while returning to Quebec, he spent thirteen months in slavery, until he was rescued by the Dutch and brought back to France. He traveled to Rome where he was granted the privilege of saying Mass by Pope Urban VIII, this having been made canonically impossible because his hands had been mutilated, two fingers having been burnt off. In 1644 he returned to Canada, and in 1646 visited Auriesville to negotiate peace with the Iroquois. He was the first Catholic priest to come to Manhattan Island. Returning to the Iroquois a third time, he was seized at Lake George and, believed by them to be a sorcerer, was tortured, and decapitated. Beatified, 1925.

    If St. Isaac had not already been a priest, the loss of his fingers would have impeded his ordination.  No one can say that his being mutilated for the faith, a suffering he bore for the Name of Jesus, something Jesus Himself called a blessing, is anything but an heroic, good act. 

    There are other impediments against ordination which arise from bad acts done by the candidate, for example murder.  And there are other impediments which come from circumstances entirely independent of the candidate’s actions: celiac sprue disease, for example. 

    But perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from the story of St. Isaac Jogues is that impediments can be and sometimes are dispensed with by the Holy See or even by local bishops for just causes. 

  • Having burnt-off fingers is a physical impediment, not a moral one, seamole.

    Gay men should not be ordained, period.  We simply are not that desperate for people to fill the ministry—and we never will be.

  • The church can not afford to ordain gay men anymore. Too many lives have been ruined, too much money has been paid out in suits and too many people have lost the Faith. Enough! The bishops can’t undo the past but they owe it to the Good Shephard and to the sheep to do everything they can to avoid more scandal in the future.

  • Unless a seminarian can acknowledge the truth of the conplementarity of male and female as essential to the total giving of oneself in the marital union, then he is not going to really acknowledge the truth of the Spousal Union, since the giftedness of the marital union is a dim relection of the Spousal Union and celibacy and virginity are the total gift of oneself for the sake of the Kingdom of God in order to foreshadow the Spousal Union in the Kingdom of God. How can someone who is coming from the point of view that same-sex sex acts are a ‘gift from God’, as Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent have claimed, going to be able take the vow of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of God when they don’t even understand what
    the gift of totally giving of oneself really is?