Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Much Ado ...Vatican on homosexual priests: not too much to say. Meaning both the Vatican and me, by the way. Three years of chastity wouldn't be a bad hurdle for heterosexual men either. Giving up subscriptions to Maxim, not peeking at Victoria's secrets, and cancelling the premium channels on cable or direct tv: that would bode well for guys entering into the seminary from the other side, as it were. The document really could've focused on maturity, which is at the heart of the poor priest problem, be they pedophiles, swindlers, womanizers, or just plain bad priests. A person heading into ordained ministry needs to be more than a warm body looking good in black clothing. Maturity issues should be settled. A priest shouldn't need to rely on creature comforts like sex, alcohol, smoke, money, food, or power to make his day. Priests--or any adults, really, who find that chef-prepared meal, that cigar and whiskey in a leather chair, or whatever to be the shining grail at the end of their day: these people need serious adjustment of priorities, especially if a family or parish depends on them. To that end, let me suggest an addendum to the document: 1. It would be a good idea for every seminary candidate to have spent three years minimum in the working world. Maybe that could include mission work, but I think the simple maturity required to hold down a regular job, pay the bills, and meet social and civic obligations would do wonders for many seminarians. It would also disconnect them from the notion that priesthood is a gift to them from the Church. Sorry, fellas: you are the intermediaries of Christ's gift to the people. 2. Some experience of small Christian community would be helpful for the years prior to seminary. A person unwilling or unable to express, share and cherish the faith with others is unfit for ordination. 3. Completing a good portion of the education before entering seminary might be a useful idea. At least half the time of seminary formation might be spent in the parish, working as a lay ecclesial minister, learning the ropes, and seeing things from the perspective of lay colleagues as well as the parishioners. But of course, heaven forbid the Vatican would actually be open to the Spirit in any form of advance leadership on the formation of clergy. This document, like so much else coming out of the hierarchy, is merely a reaction to the tides of the times. I don't know what I'd do if something visionary would ever come out of Rome. Maybe Pope Benedict will surprise me, but he's got an awful lot of deadweight surrounding him in the curia. Rock has the full document on Whispers (see sidebar for link). What do you read in the document?