The new Vatican document is courageous.
Just look at the swift, loud reaction against the Church for daring to ban (once again) the ordination of homosexuals.
One prominent online journalist, a homosexual who is a pro-life Catholic with a reputation for fairness on a number of topics, distilled the criticism to its purest form. On his website, he decried “the Vatican's attack on the dignity and integrity of all homosexual persons — our alleged psychological sickness, our inability to relate to men and women, our affective ‘immaturity,’ our clannishness, our selfishness, our insufficiently ‘masculine sexual identity.’”
It is easy to sympathize with him. The Catechism itself sets a tone of respect for homosexual people when it says (in No. 2358), “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
How does this respect for homosexuals jibe with the Vatican's ban on homosexual priests? The Catechism hints at the answer. The new Vatican document elaborates when it says a priest must be mature in such a way that “will allow him to relate correctly to both men and women, developing in him a true sense of spiritual fatherhood toward the Church community that will be entrusted to him.” Because of the disordered inclination, homosexuals “find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women.”
That sounds unfair to many people in our culture today. It sounds unfair to the homosexual journalist we quoted, a man who says he has a loving life companion and a rich prayer life. But we don't have to go far to find evidence for its truth. In fact, the evidence is right there in an ad on the journalist's own website.
It sounds inappropriate in a family newspaper to even mention the ad, but the details of the homosexual subculture are too often off-limits in discussions about homosexuality. There, next to his impassioned defense of the maturity of homosexual men, is an advertisement for “Gay.com” featuring a photo of a man's bare feet. His red, white and blue underpants hang loose around his ankles. The ad announces that sexual encounters with other men are just a click away.
Should mainstream homosexuals really be so surprised at questions about the maturity of their lifestyle?
One might argue that heterosexual men are hardly free from sexual excess. True. But who would respect the opinion of another online journalist, Mark Shea, a married man, if he featured a woman's panties in a similar ad on his own website, alongside his arguments in favor of the Vatican's document?
Here we see the strange double standard and willful blindness of society's attitude toward homosexuals. We are rightly concerned that homosexuals should be treated with respect; we wrongly conclude that this means we have to take a “don't ask, don't tell” posture toward the homosexual subculture.
Why is it that Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is broadcast in full, but Gay-Lesbian Pride Day parades are too indecent to be shown on television? Why is it that a Canadian cable channel about the day-to-day struggles of homosexuals tanked, but when it replaced its content with homosexual pornography, it boomed?
The Vatican is right to say, “One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”
When the John Jay College of Criminal Justice thoroughly researched clergy sex abuse for the U.S. bishops, they found not a pedophilia crisis, but what Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, described as “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.”
From the song “YMCA” to the Showtime program “Queer as Folk,” homosexuals have long celebrated sex with teenagers. In The Gay Report, by homosexual researchers Karla Jay and Allen Young, the authors report data showing that 73% of homosexuals surveyed had at some time had sex with boys 16 to 19 years of age or younger. John Jay's report found that 81% of sexual abuse by clergy was homosexual.
McHugh called that information a “bombshell” and said, “I'm astonished that people throughout America are not talking about it, thinking about it, and wondering about what the mechanisms were that set this alight.”
The Church is right to draw a line in the sand and say, “Not here, not any longer.” We tried the other option. It was a disaster. It's a difficult stand for the Church to take, but courage is needed, whether it's praised or jeered.