Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's official: no celibate gay priests

The decision was widely anticipated, but now it's official: the Roman Catholic church will bar all homosexuals from ordination to the priesthood—even those whose sexual probity is beyond question.

The church is fortunate the new policy was not in force when Father Mychal Judge was ordained in 1961. He was the heroic fire chaplain who was buried with full honors after his body was pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center. And he was a homosexual. Father Judge's biography at Wikipedia describes his death:
It was while giving the holy sacrament to firefighter Daniel Suhr that Father Mychal removed his helmet and was struck by falling debris. He continued administering last rites even while injured. Father Mychal then entered the lobby of the World Trade Center north tower where an emergency services command post was organized. The south tower collapsed and debris filled the north tower lobby killing many inside.
Father Judge was also honored by his church: 3,000 attended the funeral mass celebrated by New York's archbishop. Two months after his death, the New York Fire Department presented his helmet to Pope John Paul II. The U.S. Congress nominated him for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but to date President Bush has not acted on the recommendation.
Mychal Judge never built a church or a school, or raised a lot of money. What he did was build a kingdom spiritually, so people feel close to God. You can't measure that, and you can't see that. He didn't realize that that was his gift. But that was evident in the thousands of people who came out to his wake and to his funeral.—The Rev. Michael Duffy, eulogist at Father Judge's funeral
Under the new rules, the church's gatekeepers would have declared Mychal Judge unfit for ordination—"objectively disordered" in the favorite phrase of the church's official catechism.

Vatican inquisitors will soon visit each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the U.S. to begin the purge.

More links on this subject

A gay priest speaks out (Commonweal)
Vatican to tighten rules on gay men (New York Times)
Pope approves ban (Catholic World News)
Andrew Sullivan on the new ban
No greater love: Chaplain Mychal Judge, O.F.M.


At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Susie said...

Thank you for blogging about this whole matter. I am lucky enough to be serving God in the UCC ... and unfortunately, I feel as though nothing I say as a married heterosexual female minister can have any impact on what the Roman Catholic church does or does not publish. All I know is that their decision feels very, very wrong to me.

At 11:46 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Yep. I expected no less from the Ratzinger church, although less-absolute injunctions not to ordain celibate gays were being written by JPII.

For a long time I actually tried to get admitted to a seminary, never was. The official reason never had anything to do with my sexual orientation, but... there is that doubt.

At 12:30 AM, Blogger DCH said...

I'm not even surprised at the church being close-minded. They have repressed people for years.

At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Chris Anderson said...


Thank you for bringing this up. We have all wondered what Ratzinger was going to be like as Pope. I have heard both sides on him. On the positive side I recently heard that he visited Hans Kung and had a private discussion him and that the bringing together of Cardinals was not for them to rubber stamp what he already had planned but that he actually wanted open ended discussion. What is actually happening with him? And how much of this particular anti-gay issue flows from him and not from the church's knee jerk reaction to the Boston scandal etc. Inquiring minds want to know.

Chris of Heidelberg

At 12:14 AM, Blogger TheRevRan said...

Just because someone died in a heroic manner has nothing to do with whether or not a certain lifestyle is sinful in the eyes of an loving and holy God. The Bible clearly states that God loves all people but it also clearly states that some things are sinful in the eyes of God. Homosexuality is identified by God as sinful. No one elses opinion matters but his. I am not homo-phobic but I just believe the Bible. God loves and is willing to save and set free homosexuals just like he di a former alcoholic/durg abuser/aduleter..... you get the point.


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