New Vatican Document Forbidding Gay Priests “Damaging,” Says Gay Catholic Group

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy is releasing a new document (dated December 8, 2016) entitled “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” which is a set of guidelines for priestly formation. The document notes, “The Holy Father Francis has approved the present General Executive Decree and has ordered its publication.”

“This document is extremely disappointing in its approach to gay men called to be priests,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA, an organization of Catholics committed to equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the Church and society. “It is not at all what anyone expected from the ‘Who am I to judge?’ Pope.”

“These guidelines are a tremendous insult to the thousands of gay men who have served and continue to serve the Church with honor and dedication. They undermine decades of commitment by these men, and they fail to acknowledge that God calls a great variety of people to the priesthood,” said Duddy-Burke.

Duddy-Burke continued, “The document does a great deal of damage in four short paragraphs dealing with gay people. It trivializes our identity by referring to ‘homosexual tendencies.’ It claims gay men cannot have healthy relationships with either women or men. It encourages those who experience a call to priesthood to avoid having any same-sex relationships for at least three years, forcing people deep into unhealthy closets. It even says that people who support the ‘gay culture,’ whatever that is, are unfit for priesthood.

“All of this reinforces a sense of gay people as flawed, unfit for ministry, and as second- or third-class members of the Church,” said Duddy-Burke.

“Our Church is struggling with a tremendous shortage of priests to serve even the basic sacramental needs of Catholics. The hierarchy’s exclusion of people that God has called to ministry exacerbates this problem to the detriment of the people of God,” said Duddy-Burke.

“DignityUSA believes that God calls people to serve the Church regardless of gender, sexual orientation, relationship or marital status, age, or any other human attribute,” continued Duddy-Burke. “We will continue to uphold the ministry of people whose vocations our communities validate.”

Feed The Hungry - Advent 2016

Feed_The_Hungry_Advent_2016

First Sunday: … We Need To Feed The Body With Bread

Second Sunday:… We Need To Feed The Person With Hope

Third Sunday: … We Need To Feed The Soul With Grace

Fourth Sunday: …We Need To Feed The Heart With Love

 

 

In the Gospel of Matthew the evangelist relates a parable given by Jesus about what was expected of his disciples and followers (separating the sheep from the goats) which ends with these verses:

“The ruler will say to those on the right: ‘Come, you blessed of my Abba God! Inherit the kindom prepared for you from the creation of the world! For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me; naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me; in prison and you came to visit me.’

These Acts of Mercy would come to be called the Corporal Works of Mercy.   However it is set of values rooted in the more ancient tradition of Judaism itself as reflected in Isaiah 58:3-7 talking about fasting as a religious activity:

Why do we fast, but you do not see?  Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”  Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. 

Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist.  Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself?  Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?  Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

Rather is not this the fast that I choose:  to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed to go free, and to break every yoke?

Is it to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

This carries over into Jewish spirituality for in Judaism, showing hospitality (hakhnasat orchim) to guests is considered a mitzvah (blessing and command). When one knows of strangers who are hungry or need a place to relax, it becomes a legal obligation. Some rabbis consider hakhnasat orchim (literally the “bringing in of strangers”) to be a part of gemilut hasadim (giving of loving kindness).

Jesus was Jewish and in his own instructions to his disciples and followers counseled a continuation of this ancient tradition.

And so too do we this year focus on the Corporal Works of Mercy … and in fact will zero in on the first … TO FEED THE HUNGRY … physically (with food), psychologically (with hope), spiritually (with grace) and personally (with friendship, community and love).  Let us prepare for our celebration of Christmas by following in the ancient tradition of Judaism and Practice Loving Kindness.

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