Monday, November 28, 2005

No gay priests, part 1: Jeez, this is embarrassing

My first response to the Vatican document forbidding the ordination of men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" is absolute embarrassment. Hello out there... No psychologist worth her salt refers to homosexuality as a "tendency"; in fact the psychological community is pretty much unanimous that sexual orientation is a largely fixed dimension of the human personality; it's external prejudice or internal rejection that causes problems.

Now, as long as celibacy is a requirement, I have no problem with not ordaining sexually active gay men, just as I have no problem with not ordaining sexually active straight ones. But please tell me this: What does someone who is "actively homosexual" up to? If it's really just about sexual activity, why doesn't the document say that? Don't tell me they're just modest. Does that mean that someone who is self-accepting, who acknowledges his sexual orientation openly and integrates it in the appropriate context is "actively homosexual"? Well, since it seems that only those who have had "homosexual tendencies that might only be a manifestation of a transitory problem" (note the use of the world "problem") can be ordained, then I'm guessing that healthy, integrated gay men need not apply.

The best of all, though, is the restriction on those who "support the so-called gay culture." Since culture throughout Western history has received significant contributions from gay men and women--often with church support--this one's kind of hilarious. Michelangelo, anyone? Since the biggest tourist attraction in St. Peter's, the Pieta, was created by a man with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" on a papal commission, I really think the Vatican museum ought to put it under lock and key. Oh, that's right, Michelangelo was not a priest.

And there's the rub: The Vatican wants to have it both ways, the gifts of lesbians and gays without having to acknowledge the true identity of those that offer them. And that's unjust. And it's unworthy of baptized people.


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