It’s a seminary territory…
It was an interesting night around Casa TBogg this evening. Being the good parents that we are, the knowledgeable and opinionated Mrs tbogg and I were giving the lovely and talented Casey a hand with her homework, which consisted of a paper that she had to do on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible; a rite of high school that it seems everyone must observe. In a flurry of conversation we covered Joseph McCarthy, HUAC, the Hollywood blacklist, Roy Cohn, Joseph Welch, Edward R. Murrow (and the upcoming George Clooney movie), Manzanar, Strawberry Days, Richard Jewell, 9/11, Timothy McVeigh and the bombing of the Murrah building, and the fact that Reese Witherspoon is cute as a button. Cruel Intentions was on the TV while we were talking…and she really is cute as a button.
Mainly we talked about the pack mentality that drives humans to track down “the other” and destroy them because we are ignorant, fearful, and cannot abide that which is different from our tribe du jour.
Which segues nicely with the first article I happened to read this evening:
Homosexuals, even those who are celibate, will be barred from becoming Roman Catholic priests, a church official said Wednesday, under stricter rules soon to be released on one of the most sensitive issues facing the church.
The official, said the question was not “if it will be published, but when,” referring to the new ruling about homosexuality in Catholic seminaries, a topic that has stirred much recent rumor and worry in the church. The official, who has authoritative knowledge of the new rules, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the church’s policy of not commenting on unpublished reports.
He said that while Pope had not yet signed the document, it would probably be released in the next six weeks.
In addition to the new document, which will apply to the church worldwide, Vatican investigators have been instructed to visit each of the 229 seminaries in the United States.
Although work on the document began years ago under Pope John Paul II, who died in April, its release will be a defining act in the young papacy of Benedict, a conservative who said last spring that there was a need to “purify” the church after the deeply damaging sex scandals of the last several years.
The church official said the ban would pertain only to candidates for the priesthood, not to those already ordained. He also said the document did not represent any theological shift for the church, whose catechism considers homosexuality “objectively disordered.”
Although the document has not been released, hints of what it will say are already drawing praise from some Catholics, who contend that such a move is necessary to restore the church’s credibility and who note that church teaching bars homosexuals, active or not, from the priesthood.
Other Catholics say, though, that the test should be celibacy, not innate sexuality, and they predict resignations from the priesthood that can worsen the church’s deep shortage of clergy.
“I’m hearing that some men will choose to leave, because if they don’t, it would be like living a lie,” said the Rev. Robert Silva, president of the American National Federation of Priests’ Councils, who opposes a ban because it would be “extremely hurtful” to chaste gay priests who are serving the church.
But the church official who discussed the expected new rules said the document called for barring even celibate men who considered themselves homosexual because of what he contended were the specific temptations of seminaries.
“The difference is in the special atmosphere of the seminary,” he said. “In the seminary, you are surrounded by males, not females.”
The issue of homosexuality in the priesthood and seminaries has long been a difficult one, which the Vatican appears to be addressing, particularly in the United States, on two apparently connected fronts.
The visits to the American seminaries cover a wide range of concerns, but among those the investigators will be looking for is “evidence of homosexuality” and whether seminarians are being properly prepared to live celibately. Both the document and the investigation come under the authority of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education.
Now first let me say that the Catholic Church is completely entitled to do as it wishes since it’s their church and they can inquisition if they want to. As a former Catholic school boy who has fallen so far away from the church that I might as well be in the Mariana Trench with a next stop in hell, I’m can’t say that I’m disappointed or surprised at the church’s actions under Pope Benedict XVI. I think we all saw this coming. But I do think that the church is taking one more step toward becoming a secondary religion.
Faced with a shortage of priests, I can’t fathom chasing away someone who is so devout that they would hide away their true self and their desires in order to give themselves over to a God that they wish to serve. Theology aside, that’s just stupid. Who has given up more than a man who would deny his very essence in order to serve a church that finds him pitiable if not contemptible?
But what is contemptible is that this order is coming down from the man who played Hide the Priest with one of those caught playing Hide the Salami with the altar boys:
A trusted ally of Pope John Paul II has been accused of sexually abusing boys a half-century ago at an elite seminary for the Catholic Church.
The alleged victims say the Vatican knew of the allegations against Father Marcial Maciel and chose not to pursue them.
In fact, the pope has continued to praise 82-year-old Maciel, a Mexico native, as an effective leader of Catholic youth, despite detailed allegations sent to the Vatican four years ago saying the man was also a long-time pedophile.
Maciel denies the charges and said the men made them up only after leaving the Legion of Christ.
Maciel is the founder of the little-known but well-connected and well-financed Legion of Christ which has raised millions of dollars for the Church. Operating in the United States and 19 other countries, the Legion of Christ recruits boys as young as 10 years old to leave their families and follow a rigorous course of study to become priests.
“I think Father Maciel is one of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church today and also arguably the most mysterious,” said Jason Berry, author of Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children.
Lennon said Maciel is a master of Vatican politics: “He’s worked with several popes, knows the inner workings, knows monsignors, knows cardinals, knows maybe the men who are really in power, knows that so well, so well.”
Then, four years ago, some of the men tried a last ditch effort, taking the unusual step of filing a lawsuit in the Vatican’s secretive court, seeking Maciel’s excommunication.
Once again they laid out their evidence, but it was another futile effort â€” an effort the men say was blocked by one of the most powerful cardinals in the Vatican.
The accusers say Vatican-based Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican office to safeguard the faith and the morals of the church, quietly made the lawsuit go away and shelved it. There was no investigation and the accusers weren’t asked a single question or asked for a statement.
He was appointed by the pope to investigate the entire sex abuse scandal in the church in recent days. But when approached by ABCNEWS in Rome last week with questions of allegations against Maciel, Ratzinger became visibly upset and actually slapped this reporter’s hand.
“Come to me when the moment is given,” Ratzinger told ABCNEWS, “not yet.”
“Cardinal Ratzinger is sheltering Maciel, protecting him,” said Berry, who expressed concerns that no response was being given to the allegations against the man charged with sex abuse. “These men knelt and kissed the ring of Cardinal Ratzinger when they filed the case in Rome. And a year-and-a-half later, he takes those accusations and aborts them, just stuffs them.”
One needn’t be a Catholic to ask the obvious question: Who is the bigger sinner? The chaste supplicant or the rape enabler?