An Unmitigated Disaster

Pauly Fongemie
Guest COLUMNIST, Maine

( With the news that, per usual, the Vatican has again failed to preserve the dignity and purity of the sacerdotal office by permitting the ordination of known homosexuals, I was reminded of the following:

St. Siricius, a contemporary of St. Basil, . . . ordered that “vessels of vice,” that is known sodomists, including those who had fulfilled their penance, were forbidden from seeking entrance to the clerical state.” [St. Peter Damian’s Book of Gomorrah, Part I by Randy Engel, the June, 2002 issue of Catholic Family News.]

In his book, THE DIGNITY AND DUTIES OF THE PRIEST, St. Alphonsus Liguori, writing of the sublime purity necessary to the clerical state, cites the following on the first means of attaining it:

The first means is to avoid the occasions of sins against purity. “We must,” says St. Jerome, “be far from those whose presence may entice us to evil.” St. Philip Neri used to say that in this warfare cowards, that is, they that fly from the occasions, are victorious. “Concupiscence,” says Peter de Blois, “is overcome by nothing more easily than by flight.” [All emphasis in bold mine.]

With this latest Vatican betrayal of Tradition, we can observe another bitter irony: The Vatican Advisory to Bishops Pertaining to “Gay Rights” Legislation clearly and emphatically states that there is such a thing in the moral law as “just discrimination,” e.g., barring homosexuals from teaching positions and the military. But, what are priests, apart from the ministers of the Sacraments, other than teachers? So, now what is good for the protection of society and family life is suddenly not applicable to the holiest of all states—the priesthood!

The teaching of Christ through His Holy Catholic Church is that the dignity of the priesthood is above that of even the Angels in the order of grace. Only Our Lady holds a higher place.

The patron Saint of priests, St. John Vianney wrote of the Sacrament of Holy Orders:

The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you. After God, the priest is everything. Leave a parish twenty years without priests; they will worship beasts. If the missionary Father and I were to go away, you would say, “What can we do in this church? there is no Mass; Our Lord is no longer there: we may as well pray at home.” When people wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer any priest there is no sacrifice, and where there is no longer any sacrifice there is no religion.

When the bell calls you to church, if you were asked, “Where are you going?” you might answer, “I am going to feed my soul.” If someone were to ask you, pointing to the tabernacle, “What is that golden door?” “That is our storehouse, where the true Food of our souls is kept.” “Who has the key? Who lays in the provisions? Who makes ready the feast, and who serves the table?” “The priest.” “And what is the Food?” “The precious Body and Blood of Our Lord.” O God! O God! how Thou hast loved us! See the power of the priest; out of a piece of bread the word of a priest makes a God. It is more than creating the world.  . . . Someone said, “Does St. Philomena, then, obey the Cure of Ars?” Indeed, she may well obey him, since God obeys him.

If I were to meet a priest and an Angel, I should salute the priest before I saluted the Angel. The latter is the friend of God; but the priest holds His place. []

Ordaining those who identify themselves as homosexual is a direct attack on the priesthood and the priest himself because it is an act of defiance that deliberately ignores the age-old wisdom of the Church that those with mental disorders and even some physical afflictions are not suited for the clerical state. The Vatican Advisory to the Bishops on “Gay Rights” again makes note that homosexuality itself, that is, the temptation of attraction to men, is a grave disorder. Since the purity of the priest is essential to the performance of his priestly duties [read Liguori’s book on the Priesthood cited above], anything that could be a temptation for the priest in this regard has to be scrupulously avoided.

Priests have always been taught, at least until very recently, what was called “custody of the eyes.” Saints who wrote of the sacerdotal life stressed this virtue and the importance of priests avoiding close association with women, even their own kin, except when necessary. If the normal attraction of men for women can be so strong and so deadly that it must be curbed, how much more must this hold true for the disorder of homosexuality? Alphonsus stresses that the wrath of God is provoked by the priest in mortal sin who offers Mass.

Yet the Vatican is content to let these poor afflicted men be placed in the constant near occasion of sin in order to pay homage to the god of political correctness.

St. Alphonsus writes at length about the sin of the man who does not have a true calling to the priesthood and yet pursues ordination anyway. The Saint recounts several instances of good and holy men who were not afflicted with the vice of which we speak here, but who, lacking the virtues required, chose in their humility not to pursue ordination further.  One of those cited by St. Alphonsus was the great Saint Francis of Assisi.

Those of us who have known devout men who are afflicted with homosexual temptations while leading a chaste life, know them to be the very first to not seek ordination. They know better and their humility guides them.

The terms outlined by the Vatican for homosexuals wanting to be ordained seem to be designed to provide every opportunity for ordination with few exceptions. And those few exceptions are worded so as to afford loopholes, as if there is a right to ordination. This is yet another break with Tradition.

Certainly the Church is now infected with the crisis of the day—the “gay culture”. Thrown in among men who openly identify with this culture, what does the Vatican think is going to happen when homosexuals are allowed into the seminary? Surely the near occasion of sin will be the course of the day. Normal men are not placed in settings where cohabitation with women is a daily (and nightly) occurrence. Are the souls of men with the homosexual disorder not precious enough to merit the same protections and precautions?

Whether “celibate” or not, the disorder of homosexuality includes more than male attraction; it includes predispositions to significant social and moral problems that ought to exclude the homosexual from ordination in all cases. Homosexuality predisposes its victims to unnatural vice, yes, but it is also an identity disorder. How do these men minister to souls in crisis when they themselves are so confused and morally conflicted? Ultimately, the laity will have to minister to the soul of the affected priest.

Some years ago the magazine for priests, HOMILETIC AND PASTORAL REVIEW, edited by Fr. Kenneth Baker, ran an article by a theologian priest on the matter of ordaining celibate homosexuals. The author was of the opinion that the homosexual may not be proper matter for ordination because he is not freely giving up a wife and family to serve God. He wrote that the normal man, who could marry easily if he so desired, in choosing celibacy makes a true sacrifice whereas the homosexual, having no attraction to the opposite sex, is only asked to avoid mortal sin…which is required of him anyway.

Though there is no formal definition on this, the Church has always followed the wisdom of Tradition by excluding homosexuals from ordination. If one was discovered to suffer from the disorder after ordination and found to be chaste, he was allowed to maintain his clerical state, but only because his affliction was not known beforehand. This course of discipline served the Church well.

Those of us who have encountered the plague of homosexual priests firsthand—their  individual chastity not withstanding—know only too well the attendant problems, such as immaturity, the prevalence of extreme sensitivity, self-involvement, confusion on doctrinal matters that address morals, and so forth. There is no use tip-toeing around this fact, no matter how politically incorrect it may be.

Have we not learned anything from the horrific scandals of this tumultuous decade? Apparently only the hapless laity who will be victimized even more, along with the homosexual seminarians themselves, are expected to re-learn it again and again. This is an unmitigated disaster—our true shepherds have deserted us. Our cowardly prelates serve not Christ but the Prince of this world.  And, in the process, they invite the wrath of Almighty God Who will not be mocked!

 St. Alphonsus, pray for us!