Tuesday, April 13, 2010
ATTENTION All Gay Catholics...
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Attention all Gay Catholics, please help get this message out. Forward it to everyone you know.
For those of you who struggle with homosexual temptations, 'The Catholic Knight' offers his sympathy. We do not choose our temptations in life, and it is well known that sexual temptations (of any kind) are some of the most difficult to resist. To those of you who have used the disciplines of Catholicism to resist and overcome your temptations, 'The Catholic Knight' congratulates you and admires your courage. To those of you who are still struggling, and find yourselves falling back into homosexual sin from time to time, 'The Catholic Knight' wishes to offer his encouragement to keep trying, reminding you that victory only belongs to those who refuse to quit, and that continued efforts to resist homosexual temptations will eventually be rewarded. (If you're experiencing homosexual temptations, you can find help here.)
'The Catholic Knight' also wishes to remind you that homosexual temptation, in and of itself, does not make you a "bad person" because temptation, in and of itself, is not a sin. If Jesus Christ (God incarnate) himself could be tempted by the devil, then none of us are above temptation. Our temptations do not define us. Our temptations do not determine who or what we are. Our temptations are nothing more than that - just temptations. Rather, we are defined by our choices in life. Sin is always the result of choice, not temptation, and it is our choices, not our temptations, that define who and what we are.
For decades it has been in vogue to make the Catholic seminaries a place for men with homosexual temptations. At first it was believed that this was just an American problem. However, recent revelations would seem to indicate the problem was universal. We do not know the reasons why, but perhaps some people mistakenly believed the priesthood would be best for such people because of the celibacy rule in the Roman rite. Perhaps it was mistakenly believed that men who struggle with homosexual temptations will never overcome them. Perhaps it was mistakenly believed that such men could never have a normal life - a wife and a family. Perhaps it was mistakenly believed that homosexual temptations were intrinsic to one's personality, that it defined who they were, and it could never be outgrown or corrected. So of course, these people mistakenly thought a normal life was impossible for them, and they should be put away in the priesthood, where they would be forced to live in celibacy.
Likewise, as this was going on, there were some men, also having homosexual temptations, who recognized in the seminaries a place of ample opportunity to act out their homosexual temptations with other men who may be struggling to overcome the same temptations. Such men became predators in the seminary, seeking to take advantage of those men who were attempting to use the celibacy discipline as a way to overcome. Many of these predators went on to become priests and were assigned parishes. Many of these same predators sought out young impressionable teenage boys (between 11 - 17) to act out their homosexual temptations. As a result 80% of all sexual abuse in the Catholic Church was the result of such predatory homosexual priests. This is a statistical fact. It cannot be denied. This is what happened. It is also true much of the cover-up that occurred in the Catholic Church was the result of homosexual blackmail, as some bishops, and their assistants, were threatened to be "outed" from their days in the seminaries should they report the abuse. These predators made victims not only out of those teenagers they abused, but also their fellow priests, who at one time or another struggled with homosexual temptations. Now this does not excuse their cover-up, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does help to explain some of the reasons why it happened.
That was then and this is now. Times have changed and so has the Catholic Church. The vast majority of abuse cases happened in the 1960s through 1980s. Since then the number of abuse cases has dropped rapidly, starting in 1981, and as of today that number is at a pre-1950's level. There is a reason for this. In 1981 Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Ratzinger promoted a zero tolerance policy toward homosexuality in the priesthood, consistent with the historic tradition of the ancient Church. The result of Ratzinger's efforts were so successful that in 2001, Pope John Paul II delegated the ecclesiastical appeals of all sex-abuse cases to the CDF of which Ratzinger was head. According to canon lawyers this was a breath of fresh air as such cases immediately thereafter were handled with speed and efficiency. Then in 2005, after Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI many of his reforms were written into Church law including zero tolerance of homosexuality in the seminaries - which includes faculty, students and other staff. Under Pope Benedict the seminaries have effectively become "no gay zones." The only way a homosexual can get into a seminary now is to LIE about his homosexuality, thus basing his entire priestly vocation on a falsehood. No, this is not ever going to change, certainly not after all that has happened. The statistical facts are undeniable and open for all the world to see. When homosexuality was tolerated in the priesthood, incidences of sexual-abuse and cover-up skyrocketed. Once the Church returned to it's ancient policy of zero tolerance, cases of sexual-abuse and cover-up plummeted even faster than they rose. The numbers don't lie, and they tell the whole story.
The message that needs to be understood in the homosexual community is that the Catholic Church has become a zero tolerance organization when it comes to homosexuals in their leadership. Of course that doesn't mean that gays can't be closeted, but it does mean if they ever come out of the closet, they're done! Their career in the Catholic Church is over and they can go find a job somewhere else. This is how it is now. The Catholic Church has been permanently wounded by it's unofficial experiment in homosexual leniency and it has learned a painful lesson. It will not change it's zero tolerance policy now, not after everything that has happened. If this seems wrong than blame the mainstream news media, for no other organization, religious or otherwise, has ever been so heavily criticized by the press for this problem than the Roman Catholic Church. Such heavy criticism has made any form of continued leniency impossible.
People who struggle with homosexual temptations will always be encouraged to resist and overcome them in the Catholic Church. Likewise the Catholic Church will always stand ready to assist them in their struggle to resist and overcome those temptations. This however does not include putting them in positions of leadership where they can be unfairly tempted and/or blackmailed.
There are those men who struggle with this problem who also have an overwhelming desire to become priests. Now that the Catholic Church has returned to it's ancient policy of zero tolerance, it will no longer be a hospitable career choice for such persons. Those who insist on becoming priests will have to look elsewhere, like The Episcopal Church for example, where homosexuality is not only tolerated but celebrated. Other mainline Protestant churches are following this trend as well, such as the Lutherans and Methodists, and we are even seeing the early signs of this trend developing in some of the Evangelical, Baptist and Pentecostal churches.
The message that needs to get out is as follows. Because of everything that has happened in the Catholic Church, particularly the sex-abuse cover-up scandal and all the unprecedented media attention, the Catholic priesthood is no longer a hospitable environment (nor has it ever been) for men struggling with homosexual temptations. In fact, if you happen to be one, and you seek Catholic holy orders, you may even run the risk of being labeled as a sexual predator, even if you aren't one. As sad and "unfair" as that may be, it is the present reality, and after everything that has happened, it is not likely to change anytime in the foreseeable future. The long and short of it is this. If you have homosexual temptations, and you feel like you MUST be a priest, then the Catholic Church is not for you. Please seek a priestly vocation elsewhere, somewhere where they will not only tolerate but celebrate your homosexuality.