US bishops issue priestly formation guidelines

US bishops issue priestly formation guidelines

The USCCBureaucracy has issued the new fifth edition of the Program of Priestly Formation, the guidelines for how seminarians should be formed for the priesthood in the United States. Predictably, much of the media coverage focuses on sexual issues, including the Scandal, but of course there are many critical issues facing the priesthood. That’s not to say that sexual deviancy isn’t among the most important.

In a quick search through the document, homosexuality is only mentioned once, and only to say: “With regard to the admission of candidates with same sex experiences and/or inclinations, the guidelines provided by the Holy See must be followed.” Considering that the Vatican issued a Instruction on homosexuality and the suitability of candidates to the priesthood, I would consider that a major omission. To be sure, celibacy and sexuality are discussed at length but in generic terms, while homosexuality is completely ignored. This is a mistake. The temptation toward heterosexual romantic activity is a normal impulse within a healthy male, but the homosexual tendency is disordered, both psychology and spiritually. You can’t treat both tendencies as the same.

It’s interesting that when impediments to ordination are discussed (#64) there’s not one mention of homosexual tendencies, while the Instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education specifically says, “[T] Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, may not admit to the seminary and Holy Orders those who practice homosexuality, show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture.” Instead, the USCCB document says the conditions that an applicant to orders include:

that the applicant does not hold a position forbidden to clerics…; that the applicant does not “labor under
some form of insanity or psychic defect” ...; that he has not committed apostasy, heresy, or schism…; that he has not committed homicide, cooperated in an abortion ..., mutilated himself or another, attempted suicide ..., or simulated an act reserved to priests or bishops…. It is also recommended that the seminary investigate whether the candidate is allergic to wheat, whether he is able to consume the Precious Blood, whether he is abusing alcohol or drugs, whether he has a criminal background, whether he has ever been sexually abused as a minor, and whether any remedies would be appropriate.

We need to find out if they are celiacs, but not whether they have homosexual tendencies.

Letting bishops off the hook

Technorati Tags:, , , , , , ,

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli