October 09, 2005

Church targets gays in seminaries

Miami Herald

The Christian faith is epiphany and inclusion. But the Catholic Church now is imposing categories of priestly vocations. Vatican-appointed inspectors will visit U.S. seminaries this month to look for ''evidence of homosexuality.'' Such exclusion is based on ''magisterium,'' not direct Biblical references. The witch hunt extends to seminarians whose last gay sexual activity was, perhaps, a decade ago. A sexual abacus is necessary to track activity with such chronological precision. According to the Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, the church must stay ''on the safe side,'' anticipating a Vatican document that decides whether gays should be barred from the priesthood. O'Brien heads the Archdiocese for Military Services.

The apostolic mission is more detective work than pastoral. The identification of ''same-sex-attraction seminarians,'' appears to be the leading concern. It is yet unclear how matters sexual can be detected and evaluated. It could be that the church has devised new clinical methodology.

Seminarians and professors leave certain protected rights at the door. The inquiry searches for dissenting voices in the faculty. A daunting challenge ahead is determining if the seminary is free from the influences of New Age and eclectic spirituality. Bishops will try to ascertain if students use the Internet, television, etc., ''with prudence and moderation.'' The church could find itself on shaky legal grounds in monitoring seminarians' behavior outside the seminary. Should one follow the American church's line of reasoning, heterosexual priests or candidates are exempt from carnal temptations, unlike their same-sex-attraction brethren.

Posted by kshaw at October 9, 2005 09:07 AM