Vatican's shift on gay priests may influence civil law in US

Vatican's shift on gay priests may influence civil law in US

Rome : Italy | Jul 29, 2013 at 8:32 AM PDT
By SelectMedia
Views: Pending
Pope Francis Refuses to Condemn Gay Priests: 'Who Am I To Judge Them!

Pope Francis made a seismic shift in Vatican policy this week. He appeared to accept the service of gay priests who don’t act on their sexuality.

The implications can’t be overstated. It has the potential to influence the views of those opposed to LGBTQ legal rights in many American states and countries throughout the world.

Celibacy is a requirement to serve in the Catholic priesthood. Hence, it shouldn’t matter if the priest is gay or straight. Hence, celibacy becomes the key, not the sexual orientation. This changes much of the discussion.

According to the pope, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” He added, “You can’t marginalize these people.”

The comments raise questions about long-standing Vatican policies that are spiritually and emotionally abusive. The predecessor of Pope Francis, Benedict, said homosexuality, “is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder." Of course, science has long rebutted the notion homosexuality is a “disorder.”

In his comment, Francis spoke to the personhood of every individual, regardless of his calling to the priesthood. In doing so, he has set the stage for a lively, much needed discussion about human sexuality.

Will the Vatican now take a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to the priesthood? Will it permit celibate, but openly gay priests to serve? What message does it send to LGBTQ Catholics long marginalized by orthodox Catholics and conservative hierarchs, if openly, celibate gay priests serve the holy sacraments?

If a gay or straight priest acts on a need for physical intimacy and companionship, what makes it a sin, breaking the vow given to the church over celibacy?

If an openly gay, celibate priest is worthy to serve Eucharist, solemnize straight marriages, and perform the last rites at someone’s bedside, how is it possible two parishioners of the same gender can’t have a blessing of their union, though not called a marriage?

Will gay, celibate priests be able to speak out against such injustices as discrimination in housing and employment due to sexual identity? Will a lesbian teacher now be allowed to keep her job at a Catholic school?

Does acceptance of gay priests finally break the ugly, hateful stereotype someone gay is inclined to be a pedophile, long perpetuated by conservative elements in the Catholic Church, but disavowed by science?

The comments made by Francis have enormous implications, assuming the dogmatists in the Vatican, once they’ve recovered from their shock, don’t down play his words and reaffirm Catholic orthodoxy without appearing to disagree with the pope.

This will either be a period of holy revelation for Catholics or one of growing theological and philosophical friction. Either way, this may be a very exciting time for the Catholic Church.

If you like to write about US politics, enter Allvoices’ The American Pundit political writing contest. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and Nov. 30. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded in December. If you do not already have a free account, sign up here.

The American Pundit on Twitter

Allvoices on Twitter

Allvoices on Facebook


Paul Jesep is a policy analyst, corporate chaplain, and author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis: Learn to Live and Work Ethically”.

1 of 4
The many abuse scandals in Europe have rekindled debate about the requirement of celibacy for Roman Catholic priests
The many abuse scandals in Europe have rekindled debate about the requirement of celibacy for Roman Catholic priests
PJesep is based in Schenectady, New York, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
Report Credibility
  • Clear
  • Share:
  • Share
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear

News Stories

  • Pope says he won't judge gay priests

      Arizona Republic
    Pope Francis is reaching out to gays, saying he won't judge priests for their sexual orientation, in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returns from his first foreign trip. Francis says: "If someone is gay and he searches for...
  • Pope's shift on homosexuals welcomed by gay activists

      The New Zealand Herald
    The Pope's shift in stance on homosexuality has been welcomed by activists in conservative Italy. Francis said that gay people should not be "marginalised" and that it was not for him to judge a person's sexuality. In a significant change, the Pope...
  • Pope Francis: Gays 'Should Not Be Shunned'

      Sky News
    Pope Francis has made some of the most conciliatory remarks of any pontiff on gays, saying he did not judge homosexuals who "seek the Lord"...The Pope, who was speaking on a flight back to Rome from his week-long visit to Brazil, also hit out at...
  • Pope Francis “Who am I to judge gay people?”

      Pop Crunch
    Pope Francis has shocked some of his most loyal Catholic followers to raise an eyebrow. As the Pope continues his week long stay in Brazil he spoke today for nearly 2 hours, including some major conversations regarding the Catholic church hot-button...
  • Pope Francis says he is no one to judge priests for being 'gay'

    According to The New York Times, considered as 'an intrinsic moral evil' by the previous Pope and some of the predecessors even refrained from using the word 'gay', Francis used the very word and said that if someone is gay and he searches for the...
  • Pope says he won't judge gay priests

      Associated Press
    Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn't judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip. "If someone is gay and he searches for the...





More From Allvoices

Report Your News Got a similar story?
Add it to the network!

Or add related content to this report

Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy.

© Allvoices, Inc. 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Powered by PulsePoint.