Saturday, March 04, 2006

Here comes the Bridegroom...

"Cardinal-designate" and now head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (succeeding Joseph Ratzinger) William Levada has finally broken his silence and issued this brilliant statement at the installation of the new rector of the North American Seminary in Rome, regarding priests who publicly acknowledge being gay: "I think we must ask, 'Does such a priest recognise how this act places an obstacle to his ability to represent Christ the bridegroom to his bride, the people of God? Does he not see how his declaration places him at odds with the spousal character of love as revealed by God and imaged in humanity?' Sadly, this provides a good example of the wisdom of the new Vatican instruction [forbidding gay priests]."

Actually what this really points out is just how out of touch the higher-ups in Rome are about what the people of God want and need in their pastors. No one looks at her pastor and says, "Look, there's a representation of Christ the Bridegroom, a sign of God's spousal love for humanity." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think most people want a priest who is prayerful, compassionate, and a person of integrity, whether gay or straight.

And who says a gay person is incapable of showing "spousal love"? This is idiotic on all kinds of levels. Not to mention that a Catholic marriage must be CONSUMATED! (Although priests have indeed been screwing the people of God for centuries. I'm speaking figuratively, of course.)

Which brings me to my real point: Conservative theology of this type, and there's lots of it out there, is shallow, ideological, clumsy, and ignorant of the wide range of ideas to be found in church tradition. In the case of ordination, defenders of the boys-only, celibate club are grasping at theological straws while a great many, perhaps more than half, of the world's Catholics go without weekly eucharist. And in the end, their arguments are just plain dumb.

Like Tom Monaghan and his "Catholic town," Levada's remarks are another embarrassment for thoughtful, faithful Catholics. "Sadly," to quote Levada, the "Cardinal-designate" and his ideological cohorts are steering the ship onto the rocks, and hurting not only gay people but all of God's people as they do it.


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