|Is the pope's new book a sign of hope? Will homosexual candidates be banned from seminary?|
Nabi Sayeth: I never cease to be amazed at how God works in the lives of His people. And even though we have experienced so much anger and hurt as the result of the most recent episode of the sexual abuse scandal within the hierarchy of our beloved Catholic Church, there is cause for hope.
As we enter this holy Advent season, a time of hope and anticipation, I am reminded to keep my heart completely open in trust of the Lord and His saving plan.
1 Timothy 2: 1-6….
1 First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
2 for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.
3 This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
4 who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and the human race,
Christ Jesus, himself human,
6 who gave himself as ransom for all.
It has been announced that a new book featuring an interview of Pope Francis on the issue of homosexuality within religious vocations will be released in a few days. In the book we will read the rationale for his thinking:
“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case. We have to be exacting. In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the Church,”
Nabi Asketh: Has he had some sort of revelation which led to a change in his thinking about the problem of homosexuality within the Catholic priesthood and Catholic life in general?
Please remember, this is the pope who as he was flying back after a visit to the United States in 2015 was asked by a reporter about his thoughts on homosexuality. He responded, “Who am I to judge?” Many in the LGBTQ movement lauded his words as a sort of papal Magna Carta regarding their movement’s legitimacy.
On April 12, 2017, Pope Francis appointed James Martin, S.J., America magazine’s editor at large, as a consultor to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications. The appointment of Martin was a shock to many faithful Catholics because of his active and very visible opposition to Catholic Church teaching on homosexual behavior. In his book, “Building Bridges”, Martin goes so far as to call for a change in Church teaching to accommodate the demands of the LGBTQ movement.
In light of these two examples, how are we to understand his statements contained in his latest book, “The Strength of a Vocation”? Here are but a few quotes:
“Francis recalled that one time “I had a somewhat scandalized bishop here who told me that he had found out that in his diocese, a very large diocese, there were several homosexual priests and that he had to deal with all that, intervening, above all, in the formation process, to form a different group of clergy.”
What does he mean by forming “a different group of clergy”? Could this mean that he wants a clergy free of homosexual influence?
“Francis said that with candidates for the priesthood or religious life “we have to take great care during formation in the human and affective maturity. We have to seriously discern, and listen to the voice of experience that the Church also has. When care is not taken in discerning all of this, problems increase. As I said before, it can happen that at the time perhaps they didn't exhibit [that tendency], but later on it comes out.”
By “human and affective maturity” I would imagine that he is referring to the psychological and affective dimensions of the screening of candidates for the seminary and priesthood. . But what about the examination of a man’s holiness and desire to live a life in imitation of Jesus? Such an examination is not included in the psychological testing materials.
On the issue of homosexual behavior….
“The Pope said that the religious “wondered if it were an issue and asked me if there was something wrong with that. Francis said he was told by one religious superior that the issue was not “that serious, it's just an expression of an affection.”
“That's a mistake,” Francis warned. “It's not just an expression of an affection. In consecrated and priestly life, there's no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the Church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life. The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.”
Pope Francis reiterates what he and his predecessor, Pope Benedict, have mandated previously: Homosexuals are not to be admitted to the seminary.
We “have to urge homosexual priests, and men and women religious to live celibacy with integrity, and above all, that they be impeccably responsible, trying to never scandalize either their communities or the faithful holy people of God by living a double life. It's better for them to LEAVE THE MINISTRY or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.”(Daniel Ibanez CNA 12/1/18) [Editor's note: This is insufficient. For a same-sex attracted person to remain in the priesthood or religious life, they must submit themselves daily to an occasion of sin. How can they avoid the near occasions of sin when they live in close and intimate proximity with the sex to which they are attracted? Would we encourage a heterosexual male to live in a convent as long as he was committed to "live celibacy with integrity?" Or would we put heterosexual nuns into a contemplative monastery? Those with deep-seated, disordered homosexual desires SHOULD NOT BE IN THE CLERICAL STATE OR RELIGIOUS LIFE. PERIOD! It is a source of distraction and temptation.]
Nabi Sayeth: A great deal more will be written and said about the pope’s statements in this book. At this point there are several questions to be pondered:
- Why did he give the interview which resulted in his book now? The contents of the book were written before the recent USCCB meeting in Baltimore.
- Should James Martin expect a pink slip soon? Will he, at the least, be silenced with regard to his active promoting of the LGBTQ movement?
- Was mounting pressure from people throughout the world for the pope to act decisively on the sins against children, teens and adults THE motivating factor?
- What impact, if any, will his statements in the book have on homosexual bishops, including the McCarricks and Bransfields in our Church?
- Is the book a foundational text for the February 2019 bishop’s meeting in Rome?
- And finally, has the Grace of conversion taken root in the pope’s heart leading to a recognition of his past errors and a desire to truly change his thinking on this most urgent issue? Has he seen the Light?
Nabi Sayeth: The pope and all Church leaders must realize that the people in the pews have been deeply hurt. The Catholic Church is in need of a deep and ruthless cleansing, beginning at the top. While we wait for such an event to occur, we pray, we hope and we long for Emmanuel….