Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Congregation for Catholic Education's Instruction

I am a bit surprised by the reaction to the Congregation's recent instruction on "persons with homosexual tendencies" and the priesthood. Unless people thought that the document was going to reverse the Catechism's treatment of homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies, this instruction was entirely to be expected. A couple of points.

First, no one has a right to ordination, and the Church's refusal to ordain someone does not mean that the Church regards that person as part of an "inferior class of persons." I can't be ordained because I am married. That doesn't mean that the Church thinks that married state is not a great good. Woman can't be ordained, but that is not because the Church thinks that women are an inferior class of persons. I know that some people think so, but I think that is difficult to maintain about the Church that holds up Mary as the model Christian and that recently named Saints Bridget, Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein), and Catherine of Siena as co-patrons of Europe.

Second, I don't understand the argument that a Church that believes what the Catechism says about homosexual tendencies (that they are objectively disordered) could endorse the view that ordaining men with such tendencies is a good idea. (For a statement about homosexuality that expresses the pyschological perspective that seems to underlie the Congregation's point of view, see the Catholic Medical Association's website under the "publication" heading.) Maybe this view is wrong, but I don't think anyone expected that the Congregation was about to reverse the Catechism. 

Third, I think Amy Welborn's comments on this are well taken. Priests ought to be able to communicate the fullness of the Faith, including the Church's teaching on sexual morality. Is it likely that someone who identifies himself as a "gay" priest--and recall that this identification (this celebration) is with a condition that the Church teaches is an objective disorder--will be able to do this effectively.         



Myers, Richard | Permalink

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