Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 12, 2005
Seminary practice on gays unaltered
Rector lauds Vatican document on ordaining homosexuals
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The recent Vatican document on homosexuality and priestly ordination is simply "a restatement of the traditional practice and view of the Church," says the rector of St. Joseph's Seminary.
"It's a restatement in the light of all the (priestly) scandals in the United States and in the light of the concern for proper formation of the clergy," Father Shayne Craig said of the document.
"I think the Vatican had to say something about formation and about the question of chastity given all the scandals in the United States, especially because the vast majority of them were not cases of pedophilia but cases of sexual misconduct with male adolescents."
But the document "didn't say anything new," Craig said. "It just restated what the current practice of the Church is, which is the practice we've had in the seminary here."
The six-page instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education took a strong stand again priestly ordination of men who are active homosexuals, who have "deeply rooted" homosexual tendencies or who support the "gay culture." It said homosexual tendencies must be overcome at least three years before ordination as a deacon.
The document cited the Church's teaching that homosexual acts are gravely sinful and that homosexual tendencies are "objectively disordered."
"I think the document is very good," Craig said. "It is very nuanced where it needs to be and very clear where it needs to be.
"I think the Church's basic concern as well is that the priest be happy and able to live out the promises he is making before God.
"What we are seeing right now is that a number of priests in the United States have been in serious crises and living schizophrenic lives which does not lead to happiness. In fact, the Church wants us to be whole and holy and I think that's what the document attempts to address."
Will it affect the seminary's procedures in any way? "Not at all because this has been the policy that we have been following here in St. Joseph's Seminary," Craig said of the Vatican document.
"Someone who is actively unchaste and who embraces the political and social agenda of the gay culture, which is opposed to Christ and the Church's teaching, cannot be admitted to the seminary."
Is active homosexuality or heterosexuality a problem for many or any seminarians?
"I think many of our seminarians come from a highly sexualized culture and so some of them in the past have led lives which are not chaste and have undergone a conversion as part of their spiritual growth process," Craig explained.
"But they have to have led a chaste life for some time before they arrive at the seminary to know that they are capable to lead a celibate life.
"I think you have to look at the individual and their history and how they have overcome this, how they have converted to the Gospel and how they are now attempting to be faithful to Christ."
History of chastity
The rector said homosexuals can be ordained if they can show they have undergone a conversion.
"They would have to have a history of chastity, show that they are capable to live a celibate life, fully identify with Christ's call to chastity and Christ's call for them to represent him as a spiritual father, as a leader in the Church.
"If all that was in place then someone could be ordained. If any of that isn't in place then really they shouldn't be ordained."