Tuesday, February 19, 2013

USF Theology Chair Indicates He Will Preside at Same-sex "Weddings"

I do not see any how any other interpretation can be put on this.

A shorter version of the article below appeared in today's California Catholic Daily.

As of March of 2006, in his presentation “Alienated Catholics,” given at San Francisco’s St. Agnes parish, the Reverend Vincent Pizzuto was still using the term “we” to describe same-sex attracted Catholics. While the “we” indicates Pizzuto considered himself a Catholic at that time, it is questionable how deeply that identification could have been felt: four months later, in July of 2006, Pizzuto was ordained a Priest in the Celtic Christian Church, a church not in communion with Rome. At the time the “Alienated Catholics” presentation was given, the pastor of St. Agnes parish was Fr. Cameron Ayers, SJ. Ayers, like Pizzuto, has since left the Church, and is now an “assisting priest” at San Francisco’s Holy Innocents Episcopal Church.

When he was ordained, Pizzuto was serving as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco, a nominally Catholic University. Since then, despite (or perhaps because of) his public alienation from the Catholic Church, Pizzuto has been promoted to Associate Professor, and he now serves as the Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at USF.

The “Profile” pages of USF faculty have an option to link to the faculty member’s blog. Not all faculty take advantage of this. Pizzuto does. Pizzuto’s faculty webpage at USF links directly to the webpage of the “New Skellig Community” Church, where he is the presider. New Skellig is a “member” community of the Celtic Christian Church, the body, as noted, into which Pizzuto was ordained. There are three “Church Statements” listed on the Celtic Christian Church’s webpage: “Homosexuality and Same-Sex Relationships”; “Supporting Document on the Question of Homosexuality and Same-Sex Relationships” (written by Rev. Pizzuto himself); and “Church Statement Concerning Abortion.” From the “Homosexuality and Same-Sex Relationships” page:

“If a homosexual couple wishes to make a public commitment to each other, the Church blesses such a desire and celebrates it by means of a marriage ceremony presided over by one of its clergypersons.”

So: the Celtic Christian Church will "marry" persons of the same sex.

Pizzuto himself writes on the New Skellig Community “Weddings” page:

“Because the Celtic Christian Church is a canonically independent catholic church whose governing principles prioritize the ‘Law of Love’ above rules and regulations, we are especially sensitive to couples who have been alienated from their church of origin, or who find that their marriage is unjustly prohibited in some Christian institutions. This is often the case, for example, among couples who are: Previously divorced; Same-gendered; Inter-religious… In all cases, Fr. Vincent works personally with each couple to guide them in creating a dignified ceremony that genuinely expresses the couple’s relationship, commitment and spirituality.”

So: that certainly seems to mean that Rev. Pizzuto, in conformity with the policy of his church, will "marry" persons of the same-sex.

I ask: how in the world can a person with Fr. Pizzuto's beliefs and actions be allowed to be the Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at an ostensibly Catholic University?

Of course I am not a canon lawyer, but the Catholic Church has rules for those teaching in its institutions. Canon 833 of the Code of Canon Law specifies when and how such persons are required to make an Oath of Fidelity to the Church. Canon 833 begins: “The following are obliged personally to make a profession of faith according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See:” and then lists eight categories of persons. Category number seven includes: “teachers in any universities whatsoever who teach disciplines pertaining to faith or morals, when they begin their function.”

The Vatican also publishes the Oath of Fidelity required, which may be found online. It opens: “Formula to be used by the Christian faithful referred to in Canon 833, Nos. 5-8.” The very first of five clauses reads:

“I, N., on assuming the office __________ promise that I shall always preserve communion with the Catholic Church whether in the words I speak or in the way I act.”

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

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