Monday, February 25, 2013
Let the Purge Begin
In light of the latest regarding Cardinal O'Brien from Scotland; I say, "LET THE PURGE BEGIN!"
I am of the opinion that if a deacon, priest, or bishop is accused of a crime he should be immediately removed from office and sequestered into a convent or monastery until such time as his innocence can be proved. If it cannot be proved, then he should remain in said monastery or convent indefinitely with a mandate to do two things, say Holy Mass and pray.
We do not live in an age where chances or the benefit of the doubt can be given any longer. Every Archdiocese, Diocese, and Eparchy in the Catholic world must run above board and there can be nothing which can cause scandal.
There will be more to come out. Of that I am sure. This is not the end, but it is a good thing. We must relieve the priesthood of any and all criminal predators, whatever the stripe.
The answer is clear though to solve this issue which exists in the Church today. We must start teaching sexual temperance and we must start living in a temperant way. This means that we must do all we can to snuff out several things:
(caveat: when I speak of priest, I include all three levels, deacon/priest/bishop)
1. Active homosexuality within the priesthood. We cannot control the inner dispositions of another, so if he does not disclose that he his homosexual, there is nothing which can be done until such time as it is discovered. However, any and all active homosexual activity must end immediately. This ranges from identifying as homosexual all the way to actively living the lifestyle.
2. Disobedience regarding celibacy. Priests must embrace the charism of celibacy. I know that it is not an infallible teaching of the Church, but it doesn't need to be. The great graces attained from a celibate lifestyle are immeasurable. But that really is secondary in the argument. The bigger impediment to Holy Orders is Matrimony. I believe that a priest should have the freedom to exercise his ministry without the bonds of marriage. This is where the charism really lies. Insofar as this is the case, celibacy falls in line because for a single person the chaste action is celibacy.
3. We must demand, absolutely demand that our clergy be chaste. There should be a zero-tolerance policy in this arena. If a priest is found to be unchaste, off to the monestary or convent he goes.
I firmly believe that the diaconate should be closed to married men. The charism of celibacy is too important for the priesthood to allow marriage to be a distraction. Deacons are too closely related to the priest to be permitted. The role of the permanent deacon is an experiment which is failing. They are underutilized and they are ineffective, in most places.
I know this will upset many, but the reality is that the permanent deacon is nothing more than the embodiment of the flawed post-Vatican Council II notion of participatio activa trumping true and meaningful participatio actuosa. The role of a permanent deacon in today's world is nothing more than a liturgical minister. It has been my experience that in 99.9% of cases and in all but one parish, that the permanent deacon assists at Holy Mass, takes Holy Communion to the sick and that's about it. But then again, laymen do the very same thing.
The other side of that coin is that it is the first step in legitimizing a married priesthood and that is unacceptable, as a general rule (This excludes the East, btw). The charism of celibacy is compromised.
This is my opinion and anyone is free to disagree, but I would ask them to prove why it is so.
4. His place of solace and comfort should be one of two places, either a monestary or convent. If the priest identifies as gay, he should be sent to minister to a convent, wherein his temptations will be lessened because he will not be around other men. He would live a cloistered life and he would offer the Sacraments to the sisters as well as live the rest of his life in solitude and prayer. If a priest is accused/convicted of any other crime, he should be placed in a monestary, where he can say Holy Mass and live a life of solitude and prayer.
The time for action is now. We cannot wait any longer. Bishops must, absolutely must choose those men who are free from the bonds of deviant sexual behavior, homosexual or heterosexual. Bishops must give men an honest shot to get through seminary and finally bishops must promote vocations to the priesthood as a valued way of life. It is not easy and there is much self giving as well as self denial, but in the end it will cause a boom in vocations.
In short, the priesthood must return to a chaste state. The key is chastity and we must start teaching it and living it. It must start at home and it must continue until such time as the world ends.