Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Vatican and Homosexuals

The Vatican wants to purge homosexuals from its seminaries, and at least one paper, The Hartford Courant, thinks this is a bad idea.

The paper does not presume to quarrel with the Vatican over dogma. Of course, most journalists, especially break-away Roman Catholics, regard dogma as irrational, faith based propositions at variance with science and enlightened opinion; so, what is the point in wasting one’s time being disputatious? The paper questions the Vatican’s “strategy” and asks “When is the Vatican going to get it?”

The Catholic Church’s strategy, is “punitive and shows a woeful misunderstanding of the genesis of the scandals that have undermined its credibility. The scandals were perpetrated by pedophile priests who preyed on young parishioners (virtually all of them boys) and got away with it, sometimes for years, thanks to an enabling hierarchy. These criminals should have been sent to jail. Instead, they were transferred to other parishes where they could prey upon a new set of victims (virtually all of them boys.)”

It should be noted that the “strategy” for dealing with pedophiliac priests recommended by the paper is far more “punitive” that the one adopted by the Vatican in dealing with homosexual behavior in Catholic seminaries. Pedophiliac priests and their enablers who winked at their crimes should be driven from the priesthood and then prosecuted and sent to jail. The Vatican’s “strategy” with respect to homosexuals would involve a screening process that would not permit the admittance of homosexuals to seminaries and, in the case of priests who already are homosexual, a restriction of duties. Whether or not one regards either strategy as practical or enlightened, certainly everyone can agree that prosecution and imprisonment is the more “punitive” sanction.

The paper therefore does not object to punitive measures as such. It recommends such measures in the case of pedophiles but not homosexuals.

According to the editorial, which relies on an unnamed source cited in a New York Times story, “To equate such unconscionable behavior (as pedophilia) only with homosexuality is akin to assuming that all heterosexuals, given the opportunity, are potential rapists.”

But it is not necessary for the church to equate the two. Its “strategy” is aimed at preventing homosexuality in seminaries. It is true that medical science tells us both heterosexuals and homosexuals may be pedophiles. Fr. Shanley of Boston was an aggressive homosexual who preyed on young boys, while the equally shameless and obscene Fr. Gehogan was not a homosexual. Most homosexuals regard pedophilia as abhorrent behavior.

But why should anyone expect the Roman Catholic Church to allow in seminaries an activity it regards as sinful, even if the activity falls short of pedophilia? The most practical way of preventing homosexual behavior in seminaries is through the restriction of admittance – particularly if one accepts the view of homosexuality current among many homosexuals and enlightened commentators.

According to the prevailing view, homosexuality is not a choice; it is determined by one’s genetic makeup. This is a view that has not – up until now – been accepted by the Vatican.

The Roman Catholic Church holds that homosexuality is not irresistible – which is why the church began to accept homosexuals to the priesthood a few decades ago on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis. If homosexuality was a choice, the church reasoned, then both homosexuals and heterosexuals could choose celibacy. But if one accepts the current view that homosexuality is not a choice but a genetically determined, irresistible disposition, certainly the paper would agree that a male-only seminary presents greater opportunities, if one is inclined to erotic behavior, for homosexuals. Many heterosexuals are culturally disposed to regard homosexuality as deviant behavior, though in this regard the times they are a'changing.

The real unexplored danger is that the Roman Catholic Church will accept the populist view that homosexuality is genetically determined and therefore irresistible. Celibacy is less possible for homosexuals under such circumstances, particularly since candidates for the priesthood find themselves sequestered in male-only seminaries.

Most of this has nothing to do with Roman Catholic dogma. A false populist “science” may be the demon here.

Add to this toxic ideological cocktail the possibility that "unwanted" genetic distortions may be eliminated through abortion on demand, and the future may not look bright for homosexuals. If a “homosexual gene” may be detected in fetuses prior to birth, a mother who does not wish to bring into the world a child that may be “imperfect,” as the prevailing culture judges perfection and imperfection, will have the option of aborting the fetus at any stage of birth. The Roman Catholic Church’s view on this matter – that the state has in interest in preventing abortion, except in well defined narrow cases – may serve as a necessary restraint preventing the elimination of homosexuality through feticide.

And that's a good thing.

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