Friday, October 07, 2005

Well, it's something at least

   Following up on this post about the role of gay men in the Catholic priesthood, today's Boston Globe is reporting a retreat from the previously reported position:

The Vatican will allow gay men into the priesthood if they can show they have been celibate for at least three years, leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Friday.

But it said the Vatican will ban men who "publicly manifest their homosexuality" or show an "overwhelming attraction" to homosexual culture "even if it is only intellectually."
* * *

The Corriere report said: "Candidates who show a homosexual tendency will not be allowed into the priesthood unless they can demonstrate that they have been able to remain chaste for at least three years."

Well, it's better than the total ban that was previously reported, but a couple of nagging questions remain.

   First, what does it mean to have an overwhelming attraction to gay culture? The Church can probably make a case that priests should not be going clubbing or watching porn -- common sense rules that could apply to gay and straight priests alike. But what about the priest who takes an interest in gay and lesbian studies so he can better minister to his community? More frivolously, what about the priest for whom "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" is a guilty pleasure? I'm sure there are numerous examples in among those, but it is still unclear where the line is.

   Second, how does anyone demonstrate having been chaste for three years? I mean, really? It's really the ultimate negative to attempt to prove, isn't it?

   I'm still waiting for the release of the final document, but I am still pretty sure the result will be somewhat disappointing. I hope I am wrong.

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