The last few days have frankly been very difficult for me, with every news outlet in the country following CWN in reporting that sometime this fall, the Church will bar all men with homosexual tendencies from seminary.
I've said that I can understand a temporary ban in given cases according to a bishop's prerogative. But I posted on Mark Shea's site last night that this still hurts, partly because of its universality and partly because of the reasoning. Even though I saw it coming. David Morrison put his finger on "why" I can be depressed at something that I saw: "it's a vote of 'no confidence'." It's like any other rebuke or punishment -- no matter how much you steel yourself on the way to the woodshed, no matter how you tell yourself you can take it, no matter how reconciled you might be to your deserving it, no matter how much you tell yourself to be Christ-like and accept an unjust punishment that might be for the greater good in the overall sacramental economy -- whippings still hurt; votes of no confidence still humiliate. But here's what I wrote in Mark's comment field. The first, italicized, paragraph is from another poster.
I'd put the alleged ban on SSA ordinations in the same genre as the Charter -- an overly zealous zero-tolerance policy intended to make up for decades of pastoral neglect.
Y'know, I understand that. And the overall need for the priesthood not to be seen as a "gay thing." And that we're in a crisis/mobilization situation, which sometimes requires measures you would never take in ordinary times. And I can see with my brain the overall legal-theoretical legitimacy.
But after this past week of news reports, I still have to say ... this effing hurts. Effing. Hurts. Not because I want to be a priest and see this as an "infringement on my rights." No. I do not, and I have no such right. But because the Church I love and cannot leave -- "Master, to whom shall we go," and all that -- is betraying its own Catechism. And betraying its teachings on sexuality. For as long as I've been with the Church, it has said: that however I sinned (and I have), I was not beyond God's grace and the chance of at least some improvement; that I was not compelled by my condition to cruise bathhouses or bars; that the pangs of conscience after buying a prostitute or having an anonymous hookup (I have done both) proved I wasn't completely dead to sin; that God saw me as something other than a perverted sodomite.
I know this rumored document, assuming the reports are accurate (a big "if"), doesn't strictly speaking repudiate any of that. But it does deny its underpinnings, which is that temptations are not character- or soul-defining. (The glee some are taking in it is no help either.) Or in David's words, the teaching is neither reductionist nor deterministic. This document appears to treat people as a class, uniformly and always, as defined by a nonsinful temptation. To quote the military aphorism: This is not what I signed up for. I get that from the gay activists or the secular culture: "self-hating repressed homo" and all that. I just expect better from Christ's Church.
Despite my anger, I'm not gonna pull an Andrew Sullivan. I've never denied the Church teaching on sex or withheld something from my confessor. Or even tried to use the "addiction" line to minimize my compulsive self-abuse (I frankly wonder how he can stand to listen to me at times). And to be fair, the situation on the ground isn't bad: my SSA has never been a problem with any Catholic or Christian who knows about it (though I have cherry-picked, I admit). I went to the Courage Conference for the first time this year and it was one of the happiest weekends I've ever had.
But enemas hurt, and what Mr. Shea calls the Great Enema is no exception. Stoking my anger and succumbing to despair (a constant problem I have, quite apart from Topic H) have gotten a lot easier in recent days.
So to those priests who committed the acts of sex abuse that contributed to the situation; to you I say: "I sure hope it was a great orgasm."
And to those bishops and chancery rats who covered up the acts, shuffled around the perps, intimidated or hoodwinked parents, etc.; to you I say: "I sure hope you enjoy purgatory or worse."