Let me begin this missive with reiterating that while I am a Bishop, ordained and consecrated in due form, I am not Roman Catholic. However as I have previously pointed out, many Protestant Ministers and others outside of the Roman church, have admitted that we often look to the same (The Roman Catholic Church) for leadership, guidance or simply just to see what they are going to do, or react, in respect to contemporary issues. In this light, they have dropped a bombshell.
In an article published 1 December 2018, the National Catholic Register reported that in a book length interview, Pope Francis is reported as saying that:
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.
The Roman Pontiff had said that he had been told by, we assume a high ranking member of the clergy, that;
the issue was not that serious, it’s just an expression of an affection.
Perhaps, and this is just my casual observation or opinion, the Pope and his advisors have finally realized that the majority of Catholic faithful worldwide, privately see those with GLBT tendencies as unfit for the Priesthood or consecrated life, as defined by Roman Catholic Doctrine.
How does one take seriously a minister or person religious (consecrated to a religious order) who has proclivities strenuously denounced by the order’s doctrine or rules? For example if a chief of Police and his cronies are so involved in diverse and heinous crimes that they make the stereotypic Mafia gang member look like a choir boy, do we ignore their actions or seek reform? Or if the local Pastor is also the town drunk, and the denomination he represents strictly forbids any consumption of alcohol, how does his frequent inebriation reflect on the denomination, its doctrine, and its members who tolerate his drunkenness?
One of the rules of the Roman church, is that all consecrated to religious life (for example Priests and Nuns) must take a vow of celibacy, promising to forever refrain from sexual acts. Francis went on to state;
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.”
The Pope was asked in the book if there are limits to what can be tolerated in formation.
“Of course. When there are candidates with neurosis, marked imbalances, difficult to channel not even with therapeutic help, they shouldn’t be accepted to either the priesthood or the religious life, They should be helped to take another direction (but they should not be abandoned. They should be guided, but they should not be admitted. Let us always bear in mind that they are persons who are going to live in the service of the Church, of the Christian community, of the people of God. Let’s not forget that perspective. We have to care for them so they are psychologically and affectively healthy,” the pope replied.
Francis is here articulating a position that many of us in the overall Christian church are trying to publicize in an effort to repudiate the claims by the liberal media that all Christians hate GLBT persons. We do not hate those with same sex attractions or gender dysphoria, we see their tendencies–as Roman Catholic Catechism puts it–intrinsically disordered, and we seek to help all–who want our ministrations–to find their way back to Christian belief.
With all this said, we will watch to see what–if any–changes take place in the world’s largest Christian denomination.