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Home » Radical Remaking of a Parish » Rules and Tools For Radical Pastors #21 – Be Careful Whom You Choose for Friends

Rules and Tools For Radical Pastors #21 – Be Careful Whom You Choose for Friends

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Dear and gentle reader, we will speak softly and charitably on this evening’s topic – The Gift of the Priestly Vocation. This document, promulgated by the Congregation for the Clergy on December 8, 2016, makes a clear point in a respectful and charitable way:

c) Persons with Homosexual Tendencies
199. In relation to persons with homosexual tendencies who seek admission to Seminary, or discover such a situation in the course of formation, consistent with her own Magisterium, “the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’. Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies”.
Yesterday, the National Catholic Reporter saw fit to publicize a criticism of The Gift of the Priestly Vocation in a story entitled US priests’ group calls Vatican vocations document ‘insulting’. The “US priests’ group” was the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP). Although the National Catholic Reporter and other outlets have quoted some passages from the AUSCP statement, we have not been able to locate the original statement.
Here are two quotes from the statement, reportedly “authored by the association’s 12-member leadership team”, so that you can see why the AUSCP feels justified in criticizing the document from the Congregation for the Clergy:
“We find it also unfounded and insulting,” the group said, adding that the clergy congregation document “implies that ordained priests with a homosexual orientation who serve the Church with distinction ‘find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women.’ “
“If the Congregation for the Clergy document had stated that heterosexual and homosexual persons who are living chaste lives can be admitted to ordination to the priesthood it would have been more respectful and inclusive. The issue for discernment is whether the applicant or candidate has integrated his sexual identity with Catholic Christian faith and spirituality,”
Needless to say, my spouse and I disagree with the AUSCP statements and strongly agree with the Congregation for the Clergy. After all, our motto is “Assent to counter dissent”. And it follows that we would disagree with any of the approximately 1,200 members of AUSCP who concur with the statement made by their organization.
We do not believe in guilt by association. A priest could be a member of the AUSCP and not agree with the statement “authored by the association’s 12-member leadership team”. But priests like our Pastor who have participated in AUSCP events and have had their pictures taken at those events and published in multiple articles discussing AUSCP positions run an exceptionally grave risk. That risk is that they might be associated with AUSCP positions that they do not personally support.
As we noted other outlets have reported on this story about AUSCP. One of those outlets is ChurchMilitant.com. If you read the story Hundreds of U.S. Priests Want Gay Men Ordained, you will see a picture of our Pastor at an AUSCP function.
Until we learn otherwise, we will assume that our Pastor does not support this particular position of the AUSCP. Nevertheless, his picture has been linked to this story. And he, of course is priest in the Diocese of Arlington and the pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in Washington, VA.
It appears that our Pastor has chosen the 1,200 priests of AUSCP to be his friends. That might have been a bad choice. That is why we have entitled this post “Be Careful Whom You Choose for Friends.”
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