Monday, March 22, 2004

An old error back for a retread

Our friend "filefolder" is back with an appropros question given the news today. In the comments he says, "Let's talk about gay marriage vs. the gay haven of the catholic 'semen'ary." Let's see if I can shed a little light on this matter.

Now, I admit that I am reading between the lines of the comment, but I think the question being asked is this:"How does the Church seriously expect to stand against gay marriage when homosexuality has proven a serious matter of public scandals in Catholic seminaries? Isn't that hypocritical?"

Excellent question. First, we have to knock down my theoretical straw man. That there have been seminaries where students for the priesthood have indulged and promoted their same sex attraction disorder is beyond dispute. In my days in the seminary, we had nicknames for places like these which I won't go into here. But that hardly represents the majority of seminary administrations whose task of forming excellent men into top flight priests stands uppermost in their minds. The seminary I went to was not a haven or a breeding ground for an underground culture to promote the same sex attraction lifestyle. Quite the opposite. Several men were dismissed from the seminary for just such issues. Do some men still make it through the net? Probably so. But that is the limitation of the human person. You do your best.

But as I have mentioned on this blog before, it was and is a great tragedy when someone takes the great gift of priesthood and uses it for selfish gain. If you, reader, have ever been hurt or abused by a parent or a priest or a coach or anybody, I am truly sorry. I pray that you will have the courage and support of family and friends and that you can find a professional counselor to assist you in your healing.

Second, filefolder, based upon the words I have placed in his mouth, also makes the point that the Church makes concerning same sex attraction, marriage, and the priesthood. Based upon the disordered nature of this activity, same sex attractions distort the realities that it is imposed upon. If one uses the priesthood as a means for furthering his disordered lifestyle, don't be surprised when disorders and new sins emerge. When marriage's essential reality as a unitive and procreative bond between a man and a woman is distorted by a putative redefinition, then don't be surprised when new problems emerge. In short, it isn't good for either reality.

What filefolder has had the good graces to point out to us is the persistent and tempting error of Donatism. In its original form, Donatism was applied to the validity of sacraments. Here, we are applying it to the teaching office. Because mistakes were made by some, therefore it vitiates the reliability of the teaching. This of course is absurd. A proposition is true because of its nature. When the Church teaches definitely on matters of faith and morals, she is able to declare this because she discerns the truth based on both reason and Revelation. When people don't practice what they preach, it can kill the credibility of the messanger but it doesn't change the truthfulness of what was proposed.

Man as a creature before God is endowed with the twin beauties of a mind to reason and a will to believe. Therefore, both are employed in the service of God and neighbor for the building up of God's kingdom.

Hope that helped.

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