Friday, April 30, 2010

USF Guest: Scrap Celibacy; Vows Reinterpreted

On June 13, 2008 retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson appeared at the Jesuit University of San Francisco as part of his "Voice of the Faithful" tour. USF hosted him even though Archbishop George Niederauer (joined by Cardinal Roger Mahony and Bishop Tod Brown) refused him permission to speak in the Archdiocese.

Bishop Robinson has now chimed in on the abuse scandal, urging the Church to scrap the discipline of celibacy, and much more. His remarks about how some priests interpret their vows has also occasioned some comment.

From The Australian :

"There was also a view among some offenders with whom he had worked that a priest's celibacy vows weren't broken if a boy was involved.

"We've met it often enough to see it as a factor," he tells the magazine, out today. "That's what the vow of celibacy refers to, being married. If it's not an adult woman, then somehow they're not breaking their vow."

In other words, interpreting their vows to match their desired behavior. But is the Bishop right? While there is no evidence, beyong his word, about child-molesting priests doing this, there is actual hard evidence of "cutting to fit" in the Church.

The Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry does this exact thing. Right on their homepage they cherry-pick entry No. 2337 of the Catechism to read:

"Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being."

Left at that, it would condone any sexual behavior, provided the person was sincere. But the full entry of No. 2337, which CALGM does not include (for obvious reasons) reads:

"Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.

The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift."

So His Retired Excellency is pointing to a real problem.

Speaking of Jesuits, as we noted in an April 20 article in California Catholic Daily, Fr. Michael Zampelli, who has just been named Rector of the Jesuit Community at Santa Clara University, is Treasurer of the Catholic Association of Lesian and Gay Ministies.

*For the origin of the "Gay Rome" tag, go here. It's at about 1:14 into this audio of USF's "Queer Perspectives" seminar, sponsored by the Lane Center, and held at (where else?) Most Holy Redeemer.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

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