Tuesday, April 30, 2013

St. Pius V and ... you know ... Horrendum illud scelus.

And now class, a chapter from gay history.

I enjoy posting this on the feast St. Pius V, recalling his pastoral care of homosexual clergy. A priest from San Francisco who once read the blog dropped me a few years ago because I posted on this subject.  For some reason, I don't have a huge readership amongst gay people - is it something I said?  Or just my delivery?  Truth be told, I prefer that people avoid this blog, that way I may be more inclined to quit it, I say that with the greatest sincerity, BTW.  

The Church must do better for gays.

A few weeks ago in an interview Cardinal Dolan said the Church has to do better for gay people.  The Church certainly has become much kinder and gentler since the 16th century, that is certain.  Nevertheless, I wonder how much more the Church needs to do?  How much more can she do?  I sometimes think of that verse attributed to Abraham in the Gospel story of the Rich Man and Lazarus: "‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”  To me it seems the Church offers the gay person more than enough:  Reconciliation, grace, community, pastoral care in and through the sacraments, eternal salvation.  Just as she accords to all.  Of course there is Courage for those who want it, otherwise, there is the ordinary means of salvation, traditional spirituality for the single/married person ... what more is needed?  But I digress and shouldn't generalize...

Now, without further ado, Pius V's version of  pastoral care for the homosexual person...

St. Pius V

That horrible crime, on account of which corrupt and obscene cities were destroyed by fire through divine condemnation, causes us most bitter sorrow and shocks our mind, impelling us to repress such a crime with the greatest possible zeal.

Quite opportunely the Fifth Lateran Council [1512-1517] issued this decree: "Let any member of the clergy caught in that vice against nature, given that the wrath of God falls over the sons of perfidy, be removed from the clerical order or forced to do penance in a monastery" (chap. 4, X, V, 31).

So that the contagion of such a grave offense may not advance with greater audacity by taking advantage of impunity, which is the greatest incitement to sin, and so as to more severely punish the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime and who are not frightened by the death of their souls, we determine that they should be handed over to the severity of the secular authority, which enforces civil law.

Therefore, wishing to pursue with greater rigor than we have exerted since the beginning of our pontificate, we establish that any priest or member of the clergy, either secular or regular, who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefit, and having been degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority to be put to death, as mandated by law as the fitting punishment for laymen who have sunk into this abyss. - Tradition in Action

He was so strict!

However, it is worth noting the Church has done better in modern times.


What's needed today
is discipline.

Bonus factoid:

Pius V wasn't the fashion plate others claim.
Although Pius V is often credited with the origin of the Pope's white garments—supposedly because after his election Pius continued to wear his white Dominican habit—this claim must be regarded as legendary on account of the great number of contemporary portraits of earlier popes wearing the same white cassock he supposedly inaugurated.  Much more likely is that his Dominican predecessor, Blessed Innocent V, was the first to give the Popes their white.

Burning sodomites.  I've always thought this  
practice most likely led to the
 use of the pejorative term 'faggot'.

 Disclaimer:  I do not think burning people at the stake for any reason is funny nor warranted.  That's about it for today.


  1. I thought the same thing after watching the interview with Cardinal Dolan.

  2. Glad to hear that Patrick - I don't feel so alone now. Serious. Thanks.

  3. I think this kind of accommodation and welcoming mindset is also alive in other contexts.

    Not many people are married in the Church anymore of course. Referring to that phenomenon, I recently heard someone remark that the Church "pushes people away by not allowing priests to celebrate the ceremony outside of the church building".

    It's as if the Church always must be flexible to anyone and their plan's but seldom, I think, is the question posed another way: What should we do to conform more to the Church? - or at the very least wonder why the Church asks what she does, before dismissing her.

  4. Since a Pope and a saint said it, surely it can't be abrogated. And definitely his theology underpinning his opinion cannot develop. Therefore, executions of homosexual priests should resume immediately under the auspices of the civil authority of the Vatican city state.

    Brick by brick.

  5. Oh Thomnus - you can't be serious. You are too strict.

  6. Theology can develop, but it can't develop into the opposite of what it once was.
    Good question, terry- what more can the Church do? Gay activists won't be happy, of course, until everyone, including the Church, agrees that homosexuality is normal. So, unless it does that, the activisits and secularists are bound to remain discontented.

  7. "...or forced to do penance in a monastery"

    Let's go! I need some peace & quiet.

  8. The Church has bent over backwards to help persons with SSA. I am against the whole "coming out" thing. Whatever anyone's sexual inclinations, temptations, activities are should remain a private matter, to be told only to a confessor or spiritual director. Nobody needs to talk publicly about what goes on, or doesn't go on, in their bedroom. The rest of us just don't need to know. What happened to prudence and discretion? Thank you, Terry, for the information on and words of Pope St. Pius V. I know of some young people who are extremely confused about their sexual identity because of the constant glorification of sodomy and some direct language like St. Pius uses would benefit them.

  9. DB - actually - in those days - they really did do penance. It wasn't a country club atmosphere.

  10. Elena - thanks for your good comments. I too have heard from people who have been confused about their sexual identity at one time or another - it's everywhere.

  11. What about God's mercy and repentance and all though?

    And why are those of us who go to confession and receive absolution for our many sins not also forced to live a life of severe penance?

    Surely God was angrier at me for my years of porn and related sins against nature than someone who out of weakness falls into an act of sodomy?

  12. Should we execute the contraceptors and fornicators too?

  13. No, only execute the gross ones. God gets the willies too, you know.


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