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Question

I am a regular reader of your answers and I’d like to give you my thanks for the great work you have done.

There are so many articles now that it’s easy to find answers on many subjects.

I would like to ask your opinion as I read that a Roman Catholic American priest has publicly declared his homosexuality. What I do not see as an appropriate behavior is

just the public declaration by a presbyter of his sexual orientation, regardless of whether he is homosexual or heterosexual.

I know that the presbyter makes a promise and not a vow, but such a declaration upsets me.

What would I answer to my priest if he said he likes women?

Best wishes and happy new year in the Lord.

Angelo


Priest’s answer

Dear Angelo,

1. What purpose can have the public declaration by a priest of his own homosexuality?

At best you might think that this is a message to parents: be careful not to send your children to this parish because they could be led astray.

But if this is the case, it is better for that priest to step aside and ask his bishop to be exonerated from his obligations.

2. In the most common scenario it could mean: I am like this, let those who are like me come forward.

And he certainly wouldn’t struggle to find like-minded friends. They would come from all sides of the globe.

But even in this case, how could such a priest teach chastity, modesty, avoiding dangerous occasions to children, young people, and everyone else?

Again, it would be better if he stood aside.

3. Or it could mean that he is a supporter of gay culture and that it is possible to be excellent priests and excellent pastors even if you are gay …

However, I cannot fail to observe from my experience that such priests can even be excellent organizers, but in them you won’t find any Holy Spirit at all.

Generally these priests are unaware that they lack a supernatural spirit.

However, the people realize that from their preaching, perhaps even refined and cultured, because they do not see any outcome whatsoever.

People feel that in the end those priests do not say or communicate anything.

4. These priests think it is normal to be like this.

And there is real danger that some of them might have entered the seminary and have chosen to be a priest because they had no other prospects.

5. Lacking a supernatural spirit, not infrequently their preaching is entirely in a horizontal way, as if the primary task of the Church and priests were no longer that of salus animarum (the health or salvation of souls).

And, if they speak of salus animarum, this would no longer consist above all in being in the grace of God, in enjoying the personal presence of God from heart to heart, in eliminating every mortal sin from one’s life and in striving for union with God in sanctification. No. This salvation of souls would consist only in having an attitude of kindness and acceptance towards people in difficulty.

And this is probably because they have forgotten about the state of grace.

6. If any of their confreres in the priesthood speak of a supernatural spirit and also of a spirit of self-denial in the logic taught by Jesus:

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23) they label him as cruel and inhumane.

On the other hand, it is just like this: when the Holy Spirit is lost and someone becomes completely insensitive to it, sacrifice and penance become incomprehensible. They sound like inhumane topics.

7. I have reiterated several times that rather than causing great damages it would be better for some priests to step aside to avoid causing harm to the faithful (sometimes these damages are irreparable) instead of carrying out actions that sooner or later come into light causing scandal to the people and dishonor to the Church.

For this reason, an Instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education on November 4, 2005, states:

“With reference to the deeply rooted homosexual tendencies, which are found in a certain number of men and women, they are objectively disordered and often constitute a challenge even for those individuals.

Such people must be received with respect and delicacy; in their regard, any mark of unjust discrimination will be avoided. They are called to carry out God’s will in their lives and to unite the difficulties they may encounter with the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross.

In the light of this teaching, this Dicastery, in agreement with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, deems it necessary to clearly state that the Church, while deeply respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to Seminaries and Religious Orders those who practice homosexuality, have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or support the so-called gay culture.

The aforementioned people are, in fact, in a situation that seriously hinders a correct relationship with men and women.

The negative consequences that can derive from the Ordination to the Priesthood of people with deeply rooted homosexual tendencies should not be overlooked.

If, on the other hand, it was a question of homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem, such as, for example, that of an adolescence not yet completed, they must in any case be clearly overcome at least three years before the ordination to the diaconate “(No. 2).

8. If the priest made a public declaration of being heterosexual, it is important to ask what the purpose and the benefit are. 

So I understand your disappointment at hearing certain statements.

It is the same disappointment a wife can feel when she is told that her husband likes women!

She is not happy to hear this from her own husband.

Much less hearing people say it.

In this statement there is implicitly the affirmation of a disorder. Or there is at least a suspicion of a disorder.

9. It is true that the priest does not make the vow of chastity, but only the promise of celibacy. But the substance is the same.

Especially in both cases, common sense must be the same.

I send you my best wishes, I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo