active priest wrote about a 1976 summer renewal course:
“I attended a
three-week special Vatican II oriented refresher short course in
theology that was held for English Speaking priests at the
Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Priests from all over
attended. An outstanding theological faculty from all over the world
provided the lectures. The moderator was Canadian Jesuit
Theologian, Father Bernard Lonergan, who was then teaching at Boston
Lonergan gave a
lecture on the “Single Celibate.” He made the distinction between
good, bad and indifferent acts differentiating between actus humanus,
(a human act: that is an act of decision, whose source is in
rational knowledge and free will.) and actus hominum (a human act
that involuntarily occurs without responsibility; as a natural
function). At the end of the lecture we students understood that if
we desired a healthy mental state, free of tension, and if having
sexual relations was necessary for achieving that healthy mental
state, we could choose the good, (i.e. the healthy mental state) and
the act of sex would remain indifferent. But one couldn’t choose sex
for its own sake, because in that circumstance sex would no longer
The same priest
reported that he observed priests in Rome having sex with each other
in several venues including the religious house in which he was
staying. He also reported that not one hand was raised when Lonergan
asked how many of the priests in the audience had abided completely
by their promise of celibacy.
wrote from Seattle:
“I was ordained in
1979. I lasted 4 years. If I were a gay man, I would still be in.
Today I am gay-friendly, but very much aware of how gay politics has
played a role in my religious life. There is a definite system of
gay patronage in the clergy. Older influential priests help move
younger gay men up the ladder in trade for companionship and
intimacy. I was invited into this system on a number of occasions.
The most surprising kiss I ever received was from a priest. I guess
I should be flattered that men as well as women found me attractive
in my youth. My wife and I have two sons that are grown and out of
the house. She and I work closely with the SNAP group here in
It is my opinion
that the priesthood has become a safe haven for a persecuted sexual
minority in society. Gay men have hidden in the priesthood for
decades and have slowly networked and politicized their presence
into a majority power block. From my time hearing confessions in
convents, I think the same dynamic has occurred simultaneously in
Comments on Sexual
corrected me: Archbishop Eugene Morino of Atlanta died in 2000. He
was listed among the living.
credibly observations have been reported to list Bishop William Lori
of Bridgeport, Bishop Donald Wuerl (formerly of Pittsburg &
currently of Washington DC) and Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles
among the homosexually oriented hierarchy.
the 5th Edition of PROGRAM OF PRIESTLY FORMATION on August 4th,
The latest edition
of the Bishops’ guidelines for the training of candidates for the
priesthood relies heavily of Pope John Paul II and his 1992
instruction Pastores dabo vobis.
bases its structure on four principal foundational areas: human,
spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation. It is a good schema
and well thought out and articulated.
The glaring failure
of the document is the assumption that the simple appointment of
“trainers,” specifically vocation directors, confessors, spiritual
directors, rectors and faculty will transmit the ideals and form the
characters of the candidates. The document fails to aver to the
difficulty of finding personnel of sufficient merit and control to
fulfill those responsibilities.
The history of
seminaries is full of accounts of spiritual directors, faculty, and
rectors who are themselves sexually active and many times with the
students they are directing. This is not a minor problem. Vocation
directors have among their corps a host of sexually active priests
(often chosen for their physically attractiveness rather that their
stability and virtue).
How long will it
take for the Bishops start to deal with the sexual problems in
seminaries and the ministry where they reside: With themselves and
clergy in responsible positions? What will it take? Do they have to
be named? Do they have to be sued for harassment, rape, and worse?
If Bishops do not
address this reality it will be taken out of their hands.
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