Understanding Pope Francis’ controversial remarks on homosexuality in the priesthood

Pope Francis leads an audience at the Vatican on Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)Pope Francis leads an audience at the Vatican on Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

In a new book based on interviews with a Spanish priest, Pope Francis says that homosexuality in the priesthood is “something that worries me” and a “very serious” question. He remarks that gay priests who cannot maintain their vows of celibacy should leave the priesthood rather than live “double lives,” advises against admitting gay men into seminaries if their homosexuality is “deep seated” and suggests that a societal perception of homosexuality as “fashionable” has permeated Catholic culture.

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The pope’s comments have provoked consternation among previous admirers, who worry that he is walking back the more pastoral approach to L.G.B.T. Catholics that has been his hallmark, and rejoicing among some of his usual critics, who complain that his persistent emphasis on mercy can sometimes break church doctrine. Others likely found themselves simply perplexed in the wake of this latest controversy. Is this the same guy who asked, “Who am I to judge?” in deflecting questions about a gay priest in 2013?

If homosexual priests who stumble on celibacy should leave the priesthood, Catholics and church observers asked on social media, what about heterosexual priests who similarly struggle with their vows?

“Pope Francis has, not for the first time, been misunderstood, and a few headline writers gave people the wrong impression,” America editor at large James Martin, S.J., said in an interview conducted by email on Dec. 3. “But his comments were rather confusing to begin with.

“Pope Francis has, not for the first time, been misunderstood, and a few headline writers gave people the wrong impression.”

“He first speaks about gay priests expressing their ‘affections’—that is, being sexually active—which he obviously condemns,” Father Martin notes. “He says that they shouldn’t be accepted into seminaries or religious orders, but then he says that gay priests should be ‘impeccably responsible,’ leading to the conclusion that he accepts them if they are celibate…. My sense is that he is essentially reminding gay priests to be celibate—like all priests are called to be.”

The pope’s suggestion that “homosexuality” had become “fashionable” in contemporary Western culture startled and pained many. “I can’t speak for Pope Francis, but I’m assuming by ‘fashionable’ he means that one sees it more and more in public life,” says Father Martin. “But if he means that one is gay simply because it’s ‘fashionable,’ that’s not only wrong but hurtful and perpetuates the idea that gay people ‘choose’ their orientation. That would mean he’s going against not only every reputable psychiatrist but the lived experience of L.G.B.T. people.”

But had the pope really strayed far from what the church has already said about gay men in the priesthood or in preparation for it?

“Not really,” says Father Martin. “But it’s important to see his comments in context with his past remarks on gay priests and L.G.B.T. people. His most famous quote, ‘Who am I to judge?’ was a response to a question about gay priests. And, more recently, he told his friend Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay man and abuse victim, ‘God made you like this.’”

The psychologist Thomas Plante, the Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. University Professor in psychology at Santa Clara University in California, tracks the source of the pope’s latest headline-generating contretemps back to 2005, when the Vatican released an instruction on admitting men with “homosexual tendencies” to the priesthood. That document indeed proposes the same distinctions Francis briefly attempted to parse in his book-length dialogue with Fernando Prado, C.M.F., The Strength of Vocation: Consecrated Life Today—that while it was acceptable to admit candidates who had experienced “transitory” homosexuality into Catholic seminaries, candidates with “deep seated homosexuality” should be prevented from entering, if always treated with sensitivity and respect.

The problem is such distinctions do not hold up well under modern psychological scrutiny. “Sometimes our beloved church gets burdened by these documents in some respects,” Dr. Plante says. “I think the folks in the Roman collars and red hats writing these documents could use a little help from professionals in the field,” he adds. The instruction’s language does not reflect “what we really know now about human sexuality and homosexuality and how it all works.”

“Pope Francis, I love him, but he is not a mental health professional.”

Dr. Plante has conducted thousands of evaluations of seminary applicants and has essentially thrown his hands up—along with the seminary directors who consult with him—in trying to make the distinctions the Vatican apparently insists on.

“The critical issue here is that people’s sexual orientation, from a psychological view and a risk-factor view in terms of the clergy abuse crisis, is irrelevant,” Dr. Plante says. “It is how they manage their impulses that’s important. How they manage their desires, their impulses, gay or straight—that’s really the issue.”

When the pope speaks off the cuff on such a charged subject, Dr. Plante worries that “homosexual priests get scapegoated because of the fact that they’re gay, not the fact of what they are doing with their orientation….It is who they are, not what they do, and that is a really big problem.

Dr. Plante wonders why the pope and other church leaders do not more often reach out to professionals in psychology or human sexuality before they speak out on the subject. “You want clarity here because it is such a hot topic,” he says. “There is so much emotion, so much anger and hostility” around the issue. “You have to take a deep breath and be very clear about your communication because when you are not really clear, other people are going to project their own narratives, their own storylines,” he says, voicing concern that some will use the pope’s imprecision as “ammunition” to bash gay men in the priesthood.

Father Martin agrees that the use of “imprecise language” or comments that “seem to contradict one another” can confuse people “and, in some cases, demoralize them.”

“They also tend to then be used by ‘both sides’ and create further division in the church,” he says. “We all speak off the cuff, but I suppose when you’re the pope those off-the-cuff remarks are more likely to cause damage.”

Dr. Plante does not believe, as some headlines suggest, that Pope Francis or the Holy See wishes to drive gay men out of the priesthood. “Let’s see how that works out, if we really had an inquisition and took out all the priests who identify as gay,” he says. Dr. Plante speculates that would mean a reduction of “one-third to half” of the priesthood and the removal and humiliation of “folks who have done nothing wrong and are managing their impulses, something you have to do whether you are married or celibate or straight clergy.”

“Pope Francis, I love him, but he is not a mental health professional,” Dr. Plante says. “Why not talk to the professionals in the field?... There are many engaged Catholics out there who want to help and know something about this stuff. Let us help you. We mean well and we want to help the church.

“If the Vatican had a leaky roof,” Dr. Plante says, “you wouldn’t send a guy in a Roman collar and a red hat up on a ladder to fix it, would you?”

Harry Martin
4 days 10 hours ago

The Church needs to stop hiding from the clear history and reality that homosexually oriented men have served in all degrees of clerical orders and religious life for centuries. Their varying degrees of chastity while living these lives needs also to be recognized and addressed. Perhaps instead of denying this truth it may be more honest and fruitful to prayerfully accept that God could well call men of such orientation to be priests, deacons, and more. Then instead of denying their vocation work with God to seek how best to fulfill it in the holy, merciful, love of God. This does not mean embracing or yielding to a specific culture or worldy vision. It means allowing God to call whomever, form those souls in the graces needed for their lives and then allow them to grow in the fulfillment of being the servants God has called them to be.

Joseph O'Leary
4 days 6 hours ago

There are lots of priests, both gay and straight, who are dubious about the merits of celibacy and who are open to sexual experience. Some of them navigate within the system despite the dangers of falling into the "double life" Pope Francis deplores. Others would gladly leave the ministry precisely to avoid this danger. But Francis speaks out of both sides of his mouth. He urges them to leave, but at the same time he presides over a system where they will be severely punished for leaving. For one thing they will lose their pensions and housing. If the Pope really wants an end to double lives, he should offer the financial inducements required. Anglicans are complaining that priests who become Anglican ministers are a financial drain because their church of origin offers no financial support for them. I suggest that open discussion of these issues would be helpful.

J Brookbank
3 days 15 hours ago

Beautiful post, harry

Tim O'Leary
3 days 3 hours ago

Harry - your cavalier use of "varying degrees of chastity" would be a disrespect to priests who have SSA (why can't they keep their vows) except that the defense of homosexual priests seems to always come with a wink-wink re unchaste infidelity. The article above is spinning so crazily, it is denying many truths, including the crazy claims from Dr. Plante, who has been denying any link between homosexuality and same-sex sex with teenage boys and seminarians for a long time. https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/10/22/no-homosexuality-not-r… He suggests Pope Francis reach out to “professionals” and should not use “imprecise language” when he doesn’t distinguish between pedophilia and ephebophilia and makes up statistics that half of priests are gay - the LA Times survey has it a 15% and that is the best data we have. Incredible.

Joseph O'Leary
2 days 22 hours ago

So gays "have SSA" -- talk about imprecise language!

Nancy D.
4 days 10 hours ago

Our Call to Holiness, has always been a Call to be chaste in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds. Identifying oneself or some one else, according to sexual desire/inclination/orientation, which sexually objectifies the human person, and denies our inherent Dignity as sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, in direct violation of God’s Commandment regarding lust and the sin of adultery, necessarily denies our Universal Call to Holiness.
It is not possible to be pastoral, while denying Our Universal Call to Holiness, and thus Divine Law, which can only be endowed to us from The True God, The Ordered Communion of Perfect Complementary Love, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity.

Frank T
4 days 8 hours ago

The term Perfect "Complementary" Love takes us right back to the old penis/vagina stuff that is supposed to be so sanctified by God . I personally don't buy it. This planet is over-populated and polluted. Too many folks on this site love to quote scripture as if it ALL has equal relevance to the problems that society has to deal with. Too much elitism from people with PhDs in religion perhaps?

Bev Ceccanti
4 days 1 hour ago

The pope is Catholic...so is the Church ..It is what it is

Frank T
3 days 1 hour ago

...and what it is is falling apart.

Ernie Sherretta
3 days 18 hours ago

I agree. Platitudes are easy, life isn't. Sexuality, like any other human activity is to be enjoyed. More harm has been caused by human hands than human sex organs. What humans do with consensual sex is their business. Prostitution is supposed to be the oldest profession and condemned because it involves using one's body for money. What about using one's body in advertising, and other subtle ways of promoting yourself? More harm has been done by heterosexual men, celebate or married than by LGBT persons.

Tim O'Leary
3 days 3 hours ago

Ernie - have you forgotten the HIV and STDs that killed millions? Or the rapes of women and men and child abuse that ruined thousands? Or the adultery and abortion and pornography that broke up many lives? Human sex organs are involved in all of that. Don't be flippant.

Nancy D.
3 days 15 hours ago

Truth will not contradict Truth; Love will not contradict Love.
Just as every element of Truth will serve to complement and thus enhance the fullness of Truth, so, too, will every element of Love serve to complement and thus enhance the fullness of Love.
From the moment of conception, every human peron has been Created In The Image and Likeness of God, equal in Dignity, while being complementary as a beloved son or daughter, Willed by God, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, worthy of Redemption, as a reflection of Love, although not yet Perfected, through Salvational Love, God’s Gift Of Grace And Mercy, poured out for all those who desire to repent, and be reconciled to The Ordered Communion Of Perfect Complementary Love, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity.

“Be Perfect, as My Heavenly Father Is Perfect.”

Love is ordered to the inherent personal and relational Dignity of the persons existing in a relationship of Love, which is why a man is not Calld to Love his wife, in the same manner as he Loves his daughter, or his son, or his mother, or his father, or a friend.

“For God so Loved us that he sent His only Son...Who came down from Heaven, ‘not to do My own will, but to do the Will of Him Who Sent Me’, “

The Sacrifice of The Cross, Is The Sacrifice Of The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity.

“Caritas In Veritate; Veritas In Caritate.”

No doubt, the erroneous notion that public morality and private morality, can serve in opposition to one another, and are not complementary, has led to grievous error in both Faith and reason.

Jim Spangler
4 days 9 hours ago

I was not going to make a comment on this article, but I must express my feelings that when I read this, I felt nothing but empty words. For everything that has transpired over the last five months in the American Catholic Church is right down depressing. One can only wonder what additional exposures will be made. Information coming from the secular press indicates that there will be even more depressive information exposed. I find it difficult that Pope Francis talks the walk, but he does not walk the walk. What has given us the black eye is homosexuality amongst our Priest, Bishops and Cardinals. Either active, sympathetic, weak in ability to carry out the cannons of the Church, an or a direct failure to carry out the duties of their office. When 137 Bishops had their back bone turn to jelly, and their tongues frozen like ice cubes when voting for asking Rome to share documentation regarding McCarrick sexaual scandal, I could not belive. At. least we had 83 that voted for the action, so that must mean that we still do have some good Bishops. I find all of this totally depressing, and wonder where it will end up. I fear that after February it will be no different that it has been. I keep my sight on the Cross, and what Scripture says. One needs to read ROMANS 1 to get a good insight of what is happening. May God have mercy on his Church and all of us. As for Father James Martin, he needs to be banned from speaking within all the Diocese. The man is a false prophet and is spreading evil. He needs to be excommunicated.

Bev Ceccanti
4 days 1 hour ago

I agree. I look forward to all of this terrible stuff coming out. The smoke of satan was predicted by Bishop Sheen and probably by the 3rd letter of Fatima. and more. I am counting on the promise that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail....' We're here to stay.

sheila gray
3 days 22 hours ago

Ridiculous comment about Father Martin, who is a gay priest. “He needs to be banned from speaking within all the Diocese.” So you are deciding who needs to be excommunicated, Thank God YOU are not walking in the Shoes Of The Fisherman... We have knocked heads before. I’m just shaking and shaking mine right about now. How about you?

Mike McDermott
4 days 8 hours ago

Father Martin's claim that a sexual preference or attraction is innate in all cases is simply false. Identical twin studies have repeatedly shown twins developing different sexual preferences as adults, in spite of having exactly the same DNA and gestational experience. If people were "born that way", identical twins would be consistently either gay or straight. A pair of identical twins both growing up as gay is actually the rare exception.

I am not suggesting gay people all consciously choose their preferences, but obviously there is no "gay gene" and they are in fact not "born that way".

Unfortunately, we will never understand the complex interplay of environment and social experiences which trigger SSA, because simply studying that is taboo in today's PC culture.

sheila gray
3 days 21 hours ago

Your comment would be laughable, if it were not so destructive, ignorant and mean-spirited. No one would choose to be homosexual in these unevolved Times. The only “choice” we freakazoids and misfits have is whether or not to love ourselves and move forward, or succumb to the hate and hide ourselves far, far away from “the madding crowd”.

Vincent Couling
3 days 21 hours ago

Mike, perhaps you should inform yourself as regards the epigenetic theories of homosexuality ... see, for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetic_theories_of_homosexuality

"Epigenetic theories of homosexuality concern the studies of changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence, and their role in the development of homosexuality. Epigenetics examines the set of chemical reactions that switch parts of the genome on and off at strategic times and locations in the organism's life cycle ... Instead of affecting the organism's DNA sequence, non-genetic factors may cause the organism’s genes to express themselves differently."

"Twin studies:

Identical twins have identical DNA, which leads to the perceived conclusion that all identical twins are either heterosexual or homosexual. However, it is evident that this is not the case, consequently leaving a gap in the explanation for homosexuality. A "gay" gene does not produce homosexuality. Rather, epigenetic modifications act as temporary "switches" that regulate how the genes are expressed.[10] Of the pairs of identical twins in which one twin is homosexual, only twenty percent of the other twins are homosexual, which leads to the hypothesis that even though identical twins share the same DNA, homosexuality is created by something else rather than the genes. Epigenetic transformation allows the on and off switching of certain genes, subsequently shaping how cells respond to androgen signaling, which is critical in sexual development.[6] Another example of epigenetic consequences is evident in multiple sclerosis in monozygotic (identical) twins. There are pairs of twins that are discordant with multiple sclerosis and do not both show the trait. After gene testing, it was suggested that DNA was identical and that epigenetic differences contributed to the gene difference between identical twins.[11]"

Jason Bruns
4 days 8 hours ago

Honestly I am shocked by this statement "that gay people ‘choose’ their orientation. That would mean he’s going against not only every reputable psychiatrist but the lived experience of L.G.B.T. people.”
So- You think people cannot choose weather or not they are Homosexuals? And that "every reputable psychiatrist" believes Homosexuality is "not a choice"
How disturbing that thinking is.
So if someone is a "pedophile" do they have a choice? Or what if someone is sexually attracted to "animals" would they have a choice? Or would you want the individual to just yield to whatever tendency or impulse that they have. How difficult it would be to hold to a "judgments" or "an ideology" like this. God help Us!

sheila gray
3 days 4 hours ago

Jason, this is an ignorant and hurtful statement. No one in the world has Sex with animals except because of great trauma, mental illness, or someone has a gun to their head. As far as sexual orientation is concerned, it is neither a “tendency” or an “impulse”. God help you cure your disease of discrimination and ignorance.

Michael Barberi
4 days 8 hours ago

This is a good article and agree that Pope Francis must be careful about making statements in an interview because it can be interpreted negatively and incorrectly. This issue drives the emotions of all of us. As for surveys and studies that report to suggest conclusions that homosexuality is not something that some people are born with is selective to support one's agenda. I read a doctoral dissertation on homosexuality where all the studies were analyzed. In truth, there are studies that support that homosexuality is innate and possible genetic, something that a person is born with, and there are studies that argue the evidence suggests that environment factors influence sexual orientation. Nevertheless, most experts cautiously argue homosexuality is something a person is born with....it is not chosen. This does not mean that some people may have chosen this sexual orientation, but this is not the consensus view. According to the experiences of most homosexuals I can attest to my narrow view....most people I know who are homosexuals did not want to be that way. The best explanation is that homosexuality is akin to being born left-handed.
Someday I hope the Church will change its teaching on homosexuality and the requirements for their salvation. There a many homosexuals that are wonderful, honest, kind, and charitable. They don't believe the Catholic Church treats them with respect, compassion and sensitivity. They feel disenfranchised and not welcomed.

Bev Ceccanti
4 days 1 hour ago

The Catholic Church can't change the sixth commandment.

sheila gray
3 days 21 hours ago

Oh, Please!!!!!!! You have NOTHING TO SAY, I’m afraid. How empty. How sad. How wrong...

Vincent Couling
3 days 20 hours ago

Dear Bev,

Your comment leaves me confused. Since adultery is, by definition, voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person other than with his or her spouse, surely gays cannot even begin to be be accused of violating the 6th commandment until the church begins to solemnize their unions?

Michael Barberi
3 days 10 hours ago

Bev - You are conflating the sixth commandment with my comments. If the Church permitted members of the same sex to be married, then adultery would apply to them. As you know, homosexuals cannot be married in the Catholic Church and are required to practice lifetime celibacy. More importantly, homosexuals don't have a "choice" between marriage where sex is permitted, and remaining single where one must practice lifetime sexual abstinence. Every other Catholic has a 'choice' between marriage and remaining single. Even a priest who took a vow of celibacy before God can get a dispensation, marry someone and have sexual relations. There is no 'dispensation' for homosexuals. They must practice celibacy, full stop. If a homosexual has a calling to serve God, they cannot join the priesthood. This is discrimination by sexual orientation.

If the only message the Catholic Church has for homosexuals is "they have an intrinsic disorder" and the Church can discriminate against them in terms of employment, adoption and lay ministries (the current practice of the Church), then the Church has a intrinsic disorder.

J Brookbank
3 days 6 hours ago

Well done, michael

F C
2 days 21 hours ago

Michael Barberi
Well said!

Jeffrey More
4 days 6 hours ago

This article is hilarious. When news of the Pope's comments broke, it was so predictable that Fr. Jim Martin would pull all the fire alarm switches and go to DEFCON 1. Think about this - our beloved Pontifex Maximus can spend five years spouting the most absurd nonsense ((e.g., about the evils of air conditioning, or the similarities between Islamic violence (as evidenced by the slitting of a French priest's throat by an Islamic terrorist while he was on the altar saying Mass) and Catholic violence ( (e.g., a drunken husband slapping his wife), and Fr. Jim is cool: no indignation, no criticism, no comment. But when for one of the first times in his disastrous pontificate Pope Jorge I makes a pronouncement about homosexuals in the priesthood that is totally and clearly in accord with Catholic teaching (like it or not), Fr. Jim's head explodes. Moreover, Fr. Jim's brain is so fried, he has resorted to babbling - he falsely accuses a few headline writers of conveying the wrong impression. This is a perfect illustration of the maxim that everything comes down to a matter of whose ox is being gored. Fr. Jim's beloved ox has just been gored, and it's rather entertaining to see him flailing. Perhaps, though, he can take comfort in realizing that there are a number of very fine Christian religions that would totally buy into his views - unfortunately, Catholicism isn't one of them.

Paul Perez
4 days 4 hours ago

Mr.More,
Thank you very much for your comments. I could not have said it better myself-- particularly your use of "hilarious." We have had Popes during my life time (the Venerable Pius XII -- when I was a little boy -- through Pope St. John XIII, Pope St. Paul VI, Pope St. John Paul II to Pope Benedict XVI) who never expressed an unclear thought and never expressed an unclear word. Pope Francis, on the other hand, nearly only expresses unclear thoughts and utters unclear words. Father Martin has his hands full! To wit, our Pope has frequently expressed his thoughts about "gender theory" -- that it is a fashionable, baseless ideology -- to the horror of our trans brothers and sisters. Many express only hatred for him for him because of this. The pleasure I feel at Father Martin's hilarious babbling regarding these latest utterances of the Holy Father will have to be the subject of my next confession.

Joseph O'Leary
4 days 5 hours ago

Francis has a global vision, we are told. This means in practice that priests living openly with common law wives is ok in Latin American and Africa. "He recognizes gay unions" we are told. Well let's hear him say so, loudly and often.

Jim Petosa
4 days 5 hours ago

I think all this parsing is troublesome. Let's face it. The Church's systemic homophobia and misogyny is indefensible. And in our short lifetimes, it really isn't possible to wait for institutional enlightenment when one step forward is followed by two steps backward.

Ellen B
4 days 5 hours ago

He would be better off worrying about the number of pedophiles in the priesthood & in ridding the church of them.

Rick Bauer
4 days 5 hours ago

The Holy Father may not be a mental health professional, but he is stunningingly incoherent as a teacher and a pastor, something that falls well within his job description. Unless he wants a Dubia every time he opines on this subject, he needs to be clear, consistent, and Catholic.

Those who serve as clergy in the church deserve nothing less. This "varying degrees of chastity" is like varying degrees of sinfulness, and certainly the vow taken by priests (and apparently violated in about 80% of the clergy abuse scandal to date) cannot afford to be addressed in such a lax, contradictory, or doctrinally irresponsible manner. I humbly request that he remember his Lord and Savior recommended "let your yes be yes, and your no be no." If the Catholic Church is going to descend into sexual permissiveness for its clergy (and this is not an evolution in doctrine in any conscionable manner, but a repudiation of scripture, tradition, and Magisterium) or change standards on celibacy, then just come out and have the courage to state it. If not, then say that with equal clarity, and back it up with some leadership.

And while we are talking about speaking with clarity, Fr. Martin can use some clarity on just how much of the church's teaching on homosexual practice is no longer binding.

Deacon Rick Bauer
(my opinions are my own)

Jim Spangler
4 days 5 hours ago

Excellent opinion Rick!

Karl Miller
4 days 4 hours ago

There’s actually two components to Pontifex’s comments. One is the call to chastity - and that is universal, be it gay/straight or anything yet to be decided.
The more salient point (which does not require Dr. Plante’s psychobabble to understand), is that Francis continues to maintain that individuals with deep seated homosexual traits should be excluded from the priesthood. No spin can circumvent that proscription. And those who criticize the Pope’s conservative critics on this topic need to realize Francis is lock and step in line with their thinking. And whatever your thoughts on the “bridge”, Francis has continued a long history of an official stance on this subject.

Paul Crookall
4 days 4 hours ago

Repairing the roof at St Ignatius, Enfield, London never put off Guy Brinkworth SJ from getting his ladders out....I wrote an angry riposte to the original article not because I am gay but because it confused something natural - homosexual love - with a violent and often murderous form of emotional disturbance, pædophilia.

Why does celibacy exist in the western church ? Why is protecting material wealth from being dispersed by the Salic law - or any other code of inheritance from the European Middle Ages - so important ?

How can it be acceptable to subvert the vow of poverty with an abnormal vow of celibacy that exists solely to consolidate worldly wealth in the church and to keep it there ?

To me the Gospels read that Jesus and the Apostles were spokes in a wheel, not a pyramid of power brokers with Iscariot as Chairman of the Board accumulating capital from the tithes of the poor. Or are Acts 2:44 and 4:32 inserts by later authors that we can safely disregard ?

The Impossibilism of 'chastity' is the direct cause of profound psycho-sexual derangement and applying the word of restriction - Sin - to limit the fullness of a humanity created by a Something no theologian or wrangler of apologetics has yet unravelled is what Dan Berrigan thoughtfully and simply called Temptation (Huddersfield UK, Jan 1973).

Living a celibate life makes sense if one commits oneself to things greater than self or family, such as working to develop communities that lack the basic needs of life in places where it is unrealistic or dangerous to take anyone other than oneself at one's own risk. But celibacy reified, as a thing-in-itself, is worthless, jut like the rest of Old Nick's helpful suggestions.

Phillip Stone
4 days 2 hours ago

homosexual "love" is natural in the context that human urges to lie, cheat, steal, murder and the like are natural due to human nature being fallen and the name for the event between Adam and Eve and God in the garden of Eden invented by the church was "original sin"

the DSM was hijacked by biased activists just the way the UN and the like have been when a vote to drop homosexuality from the list of sexual perversions was jerrymandered at a quite violent meeting - all the ordinary psychiatrists like myself had consistently voted the other way and remain convinced still.

Go to Youtube and search for Dr. Joseph Nicolosi - successful therapy is described and demonstrated.

J Brookbank
3 days 14 hours ago

Phillip --- you are engaged in a disinformation campaign about the DSM.

Joseph O'Leary
2 days 21 hours ago

He is also engaged in a campaign of slander against gays.

Rhett Segall
4 days 3 hours ago

Dr. Plante says that Vatican instructions on homosexuality and the priesthood does not reflect “what we really know now about human sexuality and homosexuality and how it all works.” Psychologists and psychiatrists have been sadly very wrong about successfully treating and returning credibly accused sexually abusive priests to ministry. He opines that Pope Francis is not a mental health professional and "should talk to professionals in the field." I would think the Pope and others have. Past experience in these areas, though, make it clear that the "professionals" themselves can be very mistaken.

Dennis Hayes
4 days 3 hours ago

what educated RC, certainly one educated in scripture, would countenance this? the Holy Spirit would seem to have fled.

Dennis Hayes
4 days 3 hours ago

what educated RC, certainly one educated in scripture, would countenance this? the Holy Spirit would seem to have fled.

Dennis Doyle
4 days 3 hours ago

I don’t think I am being uncharitable by saying that Pope Francis’ consistently saying things that reasonable people find inconsistent with his prior statements leaving “ the faithful” struggling ( as we see here) to reconcile ....is a failure of leadership. He is not dumb. He has purpose. His purpose is to straddle the axis and keep everyone finding something that supports their bias. So nobody leaves. He intends his legacy to be that he “ held it all together during turbulent times” but the reality is it will be a legacy of sophistry that mocked the succession of Peter as a vicar of Christ.
Christ was unequivocal. We can argue about “ what would Jesus do” but we can’t argue whether He had a forked tongue.
If one wants to know why the Church is losing its moral authority, just look to the Papacy.

arthur mccaffrey
4 days 3 hours ago

I think the best that has been said on this topic was said by John23="hate the sin but love the sinner". But I am also curious about numbers----the constant preoccupation with homosexuality in the media and in these kinds of articles seems to be out of all proportion to their numbers in society. Is there a gay lobby that keeps gay issues on the front pages all the time? What Francis is obviously including in his remarks is a seminary culture that is rife with active homosexuality where gay priests prey on straight heterosexual fellow seminarians who either have to suffer the unwanted predations or leave the seminary.

Tony B. de Castro
4 days 3 hours ago

A quaestio facti: is is correct for Plante to assume, it seems that way, that the Vatican document in question had no input from psychologists? The Gregorian University in Rome has an Institute of Psychology. Perhaps the question is: do psychologists everywhere agree on this issue?

J. Calpezzo
4 days 3 hours ago

Nice try Kevin. The Pontiff is as clueless here as with the clergy abuse scandal

Karen Mulhern
4 days 2 hours ago

If all unmarried Catholics are meant to be celibate, why is this even a discussion for those who chose vocations? The problem isn't one's orientation/preference...it's lack of moral rectitude. (Imo)

Bev Ceccanti
4 days 1 hour ago

One should not place oneself or cause someone else to be placed in an environment of temptation of deadly sin, regardless of orientation. This move is sinful in itself.. It doesn't
matter what psychologists say, We all know it would be irresponsible to house Catholic 'brothers and nuns in the same household. Recognize the sexual response of human beings and plan accordingly.. No one. No one should be 'set up' to engage adultery, especially when under the pain of sacrilege. Those who have homosexual tendencies should not become priests unless that orientation is taken into account and there is a useful mission for them that will not require them to live or work in close proximity to those they are sexually drawn to. The Commandments cannot be be subjugated to ' psychology', It's a slippery tool in the hands of the devil...

Karen Mulhern
3 days 19 hours ago

Bev Ceccanti, you really think "proximity" breeds "temptation"? That's so absurd...again, lack of commitment and utter disregard of Church teachings is the problem. If a person has their heart and spirituality in the proper place, celibacy is a no brainer and temptation easily withstood.

Gene 92118
4 days ago

While some argue, "Gay or straight priests - as long as they are celibate," the fact is that straight seminarians give up marriage and family (spouse and children) which is a sacrament - a visible sign of Christ's presence in this world. But what do gay seminarians give up? A lifestyle and a behavior the Church views as sinful. How many thousands of heterosexual priests and seminarians have left the church because half the bishops and priests in the US today are homosexuals? Straight guys don't want to go to gay bars, and straight priests and seminarians do not want to hang out with gay clerics who use the priesthood to cover-up their homosexuality. If being a priest with a homosexual orientation is OK, then why doesn't Cardinal "nighty-night-baby, I love you" Tobin come out along with Father Martin?

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