I visited the Vatican in early August and met a person who is deeply “embedded” in the world of those who run Vatican City and who govern the global machinery of the Catholic Church.
According to this person’s estimation, he guesses that a “conservative estimate” of those cardinals and senior church officials who are gay is about 50%. Practicing, as opposed to just flirtatious, homosexuals at the highest levels of the church are probably about 30%.
When I asked whether homosexuals would be better served under Pope Benedict XVI than under John Paul II, he responded, “Don’t think that we will be any better served under a gay pope than a straight one.”
While there wasn’t much love lost between Pope John Paul II and the homosexual community, John Paul didn’t spend his every waking moment thinking about how to screw over the gay community. This very-connected individual I got to know in Italy had a different view (let’s just leave it at that) of Benedict XVI.
But here’s the deal. The Vatican is now readying a new policy on gay priests — working harder to ban them before ordination and pretty much symbolically lumping in predatory pedophiles with those who are gay — which I find outrageous.
From a report by the Washington Post‘s Alan Cooperman:
The agency said the new document would indicate that men with homosexual tendencies shouldn’t be ordained even if they are celibate “because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers.”
In an apparently new element, the agency said the document would also say that already ordained priests, if they have homosexual tendencies, would be “strongly urged to renew their dedication to chastity and a manner of life appropriate to the priesthood.”
The American prelate overseeing the evaluations, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, said earlier this month that most gay candidates for the priesthood struggle to remain celibate and the church must “stay on the safe side” by restricting their enrollment. He stressed that the church was not “hounding” gays out of the priesthood, but wants to enroll seminarians who can maintain their vows of celibacy.
The document has been controversial from the start, and there had been speculation that it may never be released because of its sensitive nature. Some priests have said the document is sorely needed. Others say it will do more harm than good, antagonizing existing homosexual priests and driving others underground.
I am generally opposed to “outing” those who are homosexual unless they are engaged in political activity that helps to repress others in society who are also gay.
I really do think that it is time to OUT specific cardinals and other senior church officials who contribute to this policy. Vatican City is a recognized city state — and thus is subject as well to the currents of politics.
It is time that some of the currents ran back against this bigoted policy.
Note to John Aravosis and other bloggers — time to direct some blog time to some Vatican confessions.
— Steve Clemons