November 30, 2005

Vocations and orientations

One in Four

In the first major ruling of his seven-month papacy, Pope Benedict has reaffirmed unambiguously and unapologetically Catholic Church teaching on the incompatibility of the priesthood with practising homosexuality and its prohibition from the priesthood on those who "show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture".

The much-leaked Instruction from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education will be welcomed by many who will find comfort in the unwavering assertion of old certainties. But for many Catholics, in Ireland and throughout the world, the document will cause much soul-searching and even pain as, once again, their church stigmatises brothers, sisters and friends in gay relationships as moral outcasts living in "grave sin".

For what matters as much as the precise rules governing the accession to Holy Orders, in the end a matter for the church alone, is what the church is saying about homosexuality as a human phenomenon. In reinforcing the prejudices that have made up a social climate traditionally deeply hostile to equal treatment of gays the church contributes to perpetuate discrimination even as yesterday's Instruction explicitly condemns it.

Posted by kshaw at November 30, 2005 01:59 PM