Cappas twirling, saturnos spinning...
Examining my conscience on how I treat priests on this blog...
I explained a lot in the com box of an earlier post - here. Every time I write about gay issues I get some one asking 'why do you always focus on that subject?' 'Think it through,' should be my answer. That said, I think it has been a couple of months since I've written about gay anything, anyone. I told one friend I don't have to write about same sex marriage issues any longer because most of the Catholic bishops in this country are doing a great job teaching on what's wrong with it and what authentic Catholic teaching about sexuality is. I don't need to post about it.
So I'm not in for the great gay, ssa, homosexual discussion these days. In fact last night I visited a couple of gay-ssa Catholic bloggers and kind of got my eyes stuck doing an eye roll, and I've been looking up ever since. One thing I know for sure, some of them are on medication. Not that it's a bad thing. Gay is so not gay however - not a happy lifestyle.
Back to the priest thing. Do I really pick on them or do I write about them because I so frequently come across their stories online, and in the news? Often before the Catholic tabloids grab the story, and the anti-Novus Ordo dogs tear the priests in the story to pieces. Or, as in the case of Euteneuer and Corapi, tear to pieces anyone who dared not defend them. But I'm the bad guy...
Painters paint, writers write, to document, to work out concepts, ideas, problems. Writing helps me think. I write a web log - Ms. Eden called me a diarist - I like that. I record, document things for myself. I'm not a breaking news site, I just have a personal blog.
Priest bashing? Moi?
Seriously now, back to the priest thing. I came across a post from a few years ago, when I was slightly under the influence of WDTPRS and the "Say the black, do the red" mantra, which recited long enough, pretty much stifles the spirit to such an extent all a lay person can do at Mass is look for the errors, missteps, faults, and abuses committed by priests on the altar; not to forget the servers, cantor, choir, fellow parishioners, communicants - holy crap! Are they kneeling/standing/handing in a veil or without, wearing pants or a dress, a suit for men, or a tie - not jeans! God forbid. Too much reading of that blog and you begin to feel like an informant with the Inquisition. Nothing works so well in destroying the spirit of devotion than that type of slavish scrupulosity. But I digress.
As I researched my conscience in print - the blog - I came across a couple of posts about my parish priest. When I began blogging, he had been newly assigned to the parish. I returned to regular Mass there since I no longer worked in St. Paul, and therefore had no desire to keep driving over there to go to Mass at St. Agnes - which BTW, reinforced all the negative ecclesial-liturgical prejudices frequently discussed on WDTPRS.
But as I said, the priest at my parish was a new arrival, and he followed some very liberal pastors before him.
For instance, the congregation stood through the Eucharistic prayer, communion was sort of a free for all, homilies were New Agey, the celebrant usually never vested except for an alb and a stole, while daily Mass was gather around the altar. So the current pastor arrived, and began to subtly reform back to the proper rubrics. Which explains why he began to introduce each part of the Mass with a little explanation. Things like: "As we prepare the altar..." then a few explanations what he was doing and what the disposition of the congregants should be, etc.. He was catechizing the parishioners, most of whom never understood the Mass to be anymore than a banquet, a gathering of celebration, and so on. Then I show up, misunderstand why he was talking through the Mass, return home, and write a post on how I wish he would just say the black and do the red! Oh the presumption of the pious!
After 6 or 7 years, the parish is back on track - confessions have increased, altar servers are actually trained, Mass is celebrated well, we kneel, the school is solid, the parish has Eucharistic adoration, and the peace and justice committee thrives as much, if not more than it did when that was all the parish focused upon.
My apologies to my pastor! For being such a know-it-all holier than thou son of a b****.
Now. As for the gay priests. Especially men who've lived at times like the Magdalene, or King David. Homosexuals are notoriously promiscuous and predatory. Many go through periods of sexual addiction, compulsion, obsession, and so on. Despite all the graces of conversion, in some cases, extraordinary conversion, many men are going to fall back into sin. Priests and religious, senators and businessmen, lay men - married or single.
It is about 40 years since my conversion and return to the Church, the sacraments, and prayer. Real prayer. In 40 years I have had falls, relapses, long stretches of acedia and sloth and indifference. Although I got up and returned to confession, Eucharist, and prayer - over and over. Only my confessors and I knew about my struggles. Yet I have no idea how many people I have scandalized by my behavior, how many former Catholics I may have alienated further from the Church, how many non-believers I may have given cause to mock the Church. And I'm just a layman. What if I had been a priest?
For years I've met priests 'out there'. For some reason I always ran into someone who turned out to be a priest. I have so many stories, but I tell you, sin is boring and there is no need to go into detail. Gay is boring. It is an illusion - something a 20 year old can't fathom.
I discuss the falls of priests because there are gay men who think they can do it - they think they can obtain some sort of heavenly dispensation and move through priesthood. I don't always share their confidence. The priests who fall seem to me to demonstrate the folly of such magical-mystical thinking - they are warning signs to those who would venture forth. Granted, they are priests - whether they should have been ordained or not - that is God's business now. Perhaps those responsible for permitting them to be ordained will have a lot to answer for. BTW - Corapi - though not gay - is a good example of relapse. Corapi is also an example of someone being admitted to ordination way too soon after conversion. Agree or disagree, to be sure, with his history, he never should have been left alone on his own recognisance, to call all the shots for himself and in the end, his cult.
Having said all of that, one thing I can almost guarantee however: If you pray and frequent the sacraments - it all can be left behind. Remember the woman with the hemorrhage - she suffered for 20 years and was cured. Likewise, Teresa of Avila says she was lukewarm for 20 years - and prayer was her trapdoor out of sin. One doesn't have to become a priest or a religious to pray, or to sanctify oneself. Remaining a layman, the Holy Spirit can and does deliver the soul from evil, he does heal and restore, he does sanctify. It can take years - but perseverance is key. One must be faithful and untiringly manly - something not a few ssa people have trouble with. Not bursting into tears and feeling sorry for ones self is a good start.
Finally. It's the inconsistencies in the Church which undermines the credibility of her teaching. The guidelines have been out since John XXIII on the ordination of homosexuals, yet they continue to be ordained in our scandalous era; some become bishops and some become rectors of seminaries and the line of succession is perpetuated. Yet people protest if a hired gay organist lives with another man and they want him fired from his job at the Church. A few years ago two ssa men living together were banned from lectoring at Mass - they were celibate and chaste... Again - I digress.
Disclaimer: There is no accounting for God's grace! I'm sure there have always been priests with homosexual attraction/temptation who have lived chaste and holy lives - there are men who are virgins who have never acted on their attractions - such as these would be worthy candidates for ordination. Once you bite of the apple however, it's tough. Still, never despair of God's mercy!
I think it's okay
if they just work in finance.