Monday, February 25, 2013

Damian Thompson’s Fangs Come Out : Celibacy

The Fourth Estate Continues its Assault on Behalf of Powers and Principalities.

Edit: noting the increasingly and unsurprising hostility of the Telegraph in recent times is interesting, especially in reading Damian Thompson’s diatribe against priestly celibacy.  The boyish, single and industrious editor is now insisting that something which has worked for centuries no longer works.  Like the most annoying heathen media personality, he’s taking a very censorious tone indeed.

We’ve noted earlier that he’s been slyly pushing the envelope on the Gomorrah front for a while.  Did Damian Thompson receive Holy Orders recently?

Thompson insists that having a married clergy was an ancient tradition of the Church, but what he fails to note is that clerical celibacy is of Apostolic origin, as Cardinal Levada himself insists.  Indeed, the Apostles, though married, took up their staffs and followed Christ, leaving their families behind.

He writes:

Yesterday, Cardinal O’Brien was in the headlines for a different reason. He has been reported to the Vatican for alleged “inappropriate acts” with three priests and one ex-priest of his diocese. The papal ambassador to Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, has forwarded the allegations to Rome.

It’s important to say that the Cardinal has not been charged with an offence. But the juxtaposition of these allegations with his claim that universal celibacy is an unrealistic ideal illustrates the sexual tension that is pulling apart the Catholic priesthood. To put it bluntly, the new Pope must confront the suffocating hypocrisy of the Vatican and Bishops’ Conferences on this subject. For example, I’ve never heard a bishop acknowledge what is obvious to so many of us: that in certain large cities in the Western world, a majority of Catholic priests are gay, albeit celibate. If the Vatican were to enforce its current ruling that homosexuals per se are unsuitable for the priesthood, then it would have innumerable empty urban churches on its hands. And furious parishioners, too, since discreetly gay men often make wonderful priests. On the other hand, you don’t have to be a homophobe to wonder whether it’s healthy to have such an imbalance between the sexual instincts of priests and their flocks.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know that Damian Thompson is not married. There maybe something about him that is still boyish but I don't think it's his age. I might be wrong. well I might be,so I'll not say what I had thought his age by now. When Pope's retire and Priests marry,even homosexual one's the Sacred Imprimature is no more. These Offices become mere jobs,employments.Then it's pretty much over.And you don't have to be a homophobe to know whatever Damian said,nor to just know that sodomy is Sin and to simply just not like the whole business.

Anonymous said...

In a sense, I think he's got a point, or a seed of a point at any rate.

It is undeniable that the problem of homosexual clergy exists, and that it exists because the bishops have, for decades, ignored the instruction of the Vatican in this matter. As far back as the '60s, Rome was abundantly clear that men who suffer from certain afflictions of a sexual nature — not only homosexual inclinations but also habituation to onanism (the even more widespread problem about which no one is talking) — are not be be ordained. Period. Were this very wise directive actually applied, it would likely have precluded a very great number (perhaps a majority) of our current priests (and bishops) from ever entering the ministry.

Thus the disconnect that Damian refers to is quite real. It is nothing short of hypocrisy for many bishops to defend celibacy on the one hand, while continuing to ordain men unfit for the challenge on the other. Of course if they insist upon ordaining such men, they will eventually come to find the ideal unrealistic, as Cardinal O'Brien did. This does not mean that the next pope must end the Apostolic practice, but rather, as has been necessary more than once before, he must press hard and force real reform, which means appointing good bishops who will actually apply the rules, and weeding out those who obstinately disobey.

If that means abandoning churches and closing parishes; if it means that priest shortages have to become much, much worse; if it means that many misguided, and already disgruntled, Catholics leave the fold; then so be it. As the present holy father has opined in the past, it may be (in fact it almost certainly is) that the Church will need to become a lot smaller (and even, in a sense, return to the catacombs) in order to go forward while retaining continuity with Tradition.

Even then, of course, we will have to acknowledge that, just as many married persons fail in faithfulness towards their spouses, and many single persons fail to live chastely, so too will there always be priests and religious who fail in their vows of celibacy. That is not an indictment of celibacy any more than it is an indictment of monogamy or chastity: it is a simple fact of a fallen world. However, it behooves the pastors of souls not to enable those in their care to undertake challenges for which they are unfit, just as it behooves a doctor not to encourage a morbidly obese person to run a marathon.

On a side note, I think it is also important to note that many of the priests in question are in fact men of good (if weak) will, and are trying very hard to live holy lives. They are not generally to blame for their afflictions, and, to the extent they continue to triumph over them, certainly deserve not to be treated too harshly. That said, the arduous nature of their struggle makes it inappropriate for them to undertake the rigors of priestly life, and if their bishops had been any kind of real pastors, they would have understood this. Therefore the greater fault here lies with bishops who have failed in their duty, both to the Church as a whole, and to these men of their flocks whom they have set up for failure.

Tancred said...

He doesn't have a point in any sense, unless it's a point of attack.. St. Peter Damian had a point. This is where progressives are trying to aggiornamentize the Catholic Church out of existence by challenging traditions of Apostolic origin and thereby discrediting the Church.

M said...

I posted this in another article here...Priest do NOT become Homosexuals but Homosexuals can and do become priests. Where there are sexually disordered priests it is because they came in withOUT a calling to the priesthood.

About 8 years ago I read online a supposed letter by St. Catherine of Sienna (if I recall correctly) to a pope and in it she had strong words about cleaning the Sodomites out of our ranks. I have tried to re-locate that online letter since then but to no avail. If anyone knows which letter I am referring to I would appreciate help in finding it again.

Anonymous said...

That's why I said there a "seed of a point" there, at least. There is an underlying truth that he has at least grasped in some sense, viz.: the hypocrisy of the bishops and Vatican bureaucrats in failing to enforce the established standards for assessing prospective candidates for the priesthood. Which is more than I can say for some of the "conservative" Catholic press, who have got their heads in the sand and refuse to see what's right in front of everyone's eyes.

Where Damian is wrong is in suggesting that the only practical solution is to throw celibacy onto the midden of history. This, I think, is not so much because he is out to discredit the Church as such, as it is because he is not prepared to face the alternative, whose harshness he understands quite well. Unfortunately, quite a lot of Catholics share his willingness to junk Tradition if the alternative upsets their comfortable status quo.

Tancred said...

Isn’t that the common currency used in attacks against the Church? Firstly, they appeal to the indisputable fact that there are a few clergy who don’t live up to the Church’s teachings and insist that the best way to tackle that problem is by adopting lower standards, notably the standards of the world.

Then they engage in various appeals to false charity on behalf of the wounded minority, whatever it may be.

This has been the case with respect to who gets buried, who gets married, who gets ordained, in fact, all of the Sacramental works of the Church, whilst the Sacrament of Initiation is relegated to a kind of primitive rite of passage or indifferent social engagement for the “community”.

I think the problem is that too many Bishops give it too much credence, by wringing their hands over a false distinction of practicing and non-practicing “homosexuals” and look instead to issues that are truly important, like an ability to do college level work, personal orthodoxy and uprightness of life.

If anyone is ignoring anything, it’s the fact that the importance given by the culture to the sin of Sodomy, has won over to its ranks quite a few individuals in the margins who would otherwise been happily married or entered into priestly life without too much concern about whether or not they belonged to a fantasy minority known as “gays".

If Churchmen need to do anything, it’s defend and teach the Catholic Faith, not coddle a group of deviant individuals who comprise only 2% of the population at best.

This will become increasingly important as the society of consensus and its media torchbearers are screaming for the blood and souls of those who actually believe the truths of the Catholic Faith.

Anonymous said...

from Bill Foley

I beg all of you to enter Father+Oko+Homoheresy into a search engine and then read a superb, totally Catholic article by a Polish professor and priest.

Tancred said...

In the fall, started running articles on Father Okos and it was just about that time that they were having problems because of an article they’d written about a gomorrist comedian who’d recently died which created a flurry of media anger and prompted the German Secret Police to find out who the owners of the site were. The German Bishops, who are no strangers to such scandals themselves, were very helpful along with the infamous David Berger and a gommorrist pornographer, to hunt down some of the offenders.

Here’s the article:

Anonymous said...

His comments make no sense.
How can allowing priests to marry do anything about the existence of homosexual clergy?
Even if priests could marry freely, gay clergy would probably still be living their double lives, perhaps even some would marry a woman but still act out.
Celibacy is of apostolic origin and is completely appropriate for offering the Holy Mass. The reason it is being questioned and poorly lived out is because the Novus Ordo mass has become a community meal, not the offering of the unspotted victim by a holy priesthood set apart.
As you pray is as you believe.

Dymphna said...

I don't trust Mr. Thompson. I think he's fooled a lot of people.

Tantumblogo said...

I gave up on Thompson when he based Michael Voris over Which was really just a cover for Thompson signaling to his fellow self-anointed elites that he didn't share the lowbrow, hard-nosed, truly faithfully Catholic views of one of the great unwashed.

I don't know anything of Mr. Thompson's private life, but he makes my gaydar go off like crazy. If he's single, I'd lay odds he's homosexual, even if celibate. As for "many" traditionalists being homosexuals, not in our parish. Maybe a handful in some places, perhaps a few more in uber-liberal metropolitan areas like London, but even that I'm very skeptical of. It's the kind of totally unverifiable assertion that his argument really hinges on - see, they're "everywhere," therefore, how could you possibly countenance repressing them/enforcing Church Doctrine? It's also the kind of silly claim someone with a very vested interest in the argument would try to make.