:: Red-hot button issues like celibacy, various inclinations, Church teaching and vegetarian chili
I was reading the most excellent musings of Catholic blog queen Amy Wellborn and happened upon this link to an article on washingtonpost.com. The short version: A priest in Mexico falls in love with a female parishoner back in 1997, is relieved of his priestly duties by the bishop, but continues to offer Mass and performs marriages. The marriages are not recognized by the church. The Eucharist is illicit but valid – meaning Jesus is there but he doesn’t want to be. It boggles the mind how much trust our Lord has put in priests. They can make Him present to us in the Eucharist even if He doesn’t want to be. Our God is truly a humble God.
The story about this priest in Mexico touches on a number of things we’re blogging and reading about – priestly celibacy, openess and honesty from Church leaders, and yes, even homosexuality. Mike Hardy has very thoughful coverage of this over at Enemy of the Church? as well. You might have to do some reading on those other blogs before this makes any sense.
I don’t have the brain power to go on and on about this now, but I do have some incoherent thoughts. If we’re all born either heterosexual or homosexual, that is if you believe sexual preference is genetic, realize we’re all born with something else – the inclination towards sin. That’s why God became Man, suffered and died – because we as humans can’t help being what we are. A heterosexual priest falls in love, wants to marry a female parishoner and is laicized. It is sinful to fall in love? I depends how one falls in love. Is it sinful to break one’s vows? I think so. Is it possible for a priest to fall in love and leave the priesthood without commiting grave sin? I think it is.
What does this priest’s story have to do with homosexuality? I’m looking at this story and the Mystical Body of Christ in terms of what we are inclined to do as sexual beings. Is it a sin to be straight or gay? No more than it is a sin to be human. We’re born with an inclination to sinfulness as a result of Adam’s fall. What makes us sinners is what we think and do and what we fail to think and do. Being inclined or disposed of a certain behavior is not the same as engaging in that behavior. That covers all sinful thoughts and actions, like my attitude when I’m driving. The Church doesn’t teach that the homosexuals are disordered souls, it teaches that the behavior is disordered. All sin is disordered, whether it is promiscuous heterosexual activity or homosexual activity. If you have other ideas on this please let me know. I would like to understand this issue better and get other perspectives. I am a non-practicing heterosexual so I don’t have the same challenges that gay Catholics have.
When people ask me what I think on a certain moral or ethical issue I tell them I agree with Church teaching on the matter. If I don’t know what the Church teaches I find out with intellectual gusto. For me the key to believing and understanding is not by simply learning what the Church teaches, but also learning why the Church teaches it. The important thing to note is that we are talking about truths, not opinions. I happen to think vegetarian chili is an abomination which God never intended. That’s my opinion. I’m convinced that chili without meat is a sign of the end of History. You think I’m nuts. Whether vegetarian chili is actual chili or a demonic soy-farmer conspiracy is a debatable point. The One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus and nutured by Scripture and Church tradition is not.