November 28, 2005

U.S. Catholics Are Divided Over New Directive on Gays

The New York Times

Published: November 28, 2005
Grappling with the implications of a Vatican directive issued last week that would bar most gay men from seminaries, Roman Catholics at several parishes around the country yesterday offered sharply contrasting interpretations of its impact on the priesthood, on the potential for sex abuse by clergy members and on the church itself.

More than three dozen interviews at churches in Los Angeles and around Boston, Washington and Austin, Tex., underscored that Catholics were as divided as the rest of the country in their attitudes about gay men and lesbians. Roughly half the Catholics interviewed praised the Vatican document as upholding church teachings, which consider homosexuality "objectively disordered." But just as many parishioners criticized it as unfair to gay men, saying that a priest's commitment to celibacy should be the issue, not his sexual orientation.

Similarly, some Catholics said that because the majority of victims in the scandals involving sexually abusive priests were boys, barring gay men from the priesthood would reduce the likelihood of such abuse in the future. But others said there was no link between homosexuality and pedophilia, especially many parishioners in Boston, an archdiocese profoundly affected by the sexual abuse scandal.

Posted by kshaw at November 28, 2005 03:46 AM