- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A long-awaited Vatican document on homosexual priests, released Tuesday, shows a fault line running through the Catholic Church as to what levels of homosexuality are acceptable.

In some American dioceses, such as Los Angeles and Rochester, N.Y., bishops have indicated they will continue to ordain celibate homosexuals.

“To gay young men who are considering a vocation to priesthood: we try to treat all inquiries fairly,” Rochester Bishop Matthew Clark wrote Nov. 12 in the Catholic Courier, his diocesan newspaper. “You will be no exception.”

Others dioceses, such as Arlington, say a candidate must “not suffer from a disordered sexual orientation, i.e. not consider oneself to be homosexual.”

David Morrison, an Arlington resident and the Catholic author of the 1999 book “Beyond Gay” about his efforts to live a chaste life, suggests that the document leaves room for men with same-sex attractions.



“If you don’t self-define yourself as gay, if you don’t act it out, if you only have a fantasy from time to time and have some ambivalence about your sexual identity, that man should be fine,” said Mr. Morrison, who is active in the local chapter of Courage, a Catholic apostolate to homosexual persons. “People with same-sex attractions ought to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

“But there are self-identified gay priests who do not support the church’s teachings,” he added. “I’ve had friends, with same-sex attractions, who were told in the confessional of a church in the District, that ‘All you need to do is get a gay lover.’ That’s pretty dehabilitating when you’re trying to stay chaste.”

The Archdiocese of Washington’s Tuesday press release says its priests must be committed “to living a chaste life”

An article this week in the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger revealed behind-the-scenes pastoring by Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of one homosexual priest while he was archbishop of Newark in the 1990s.

The Rev. Mariano Gargiulo, who eventually decided to become an Episcopal priest, revealed his homosexuality to Archbishop McCarrick in 1998. During a farewell interview, the archbishop agreed to shake hands with Mr. Gargiulo’s male lover, who was waiting in an outer office.

“He was a gentleman and very kind to me,” Mr. Gargiulo told The Washington Times. The archbishop “was very compassionate and very loving, but he upheld the church’s teaching, and he made it clear celibacy was the only option for a priest.”

About 30 percent to 50 percent of the Catholic priesthood is estimated to be homosexual. The document calls homosexuality a “disordered” state, adding that no one with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” might be ordained.

“Is ‘tendencies’ the equivalent of ‘orientation’ or does it mean something else?” asked the Rev. Thomas Reese, a visiting Jesuit scholar at Santa Clara University. “The document never uses the ‘O’-word, which has left many people scratching their heads.”

If the would-be priest has “tendencies” that are transitory and curable, rather than an orientation that is innate and incurable, he could be ordained, Father Reese wrote.

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