Vatican to Tighten Rules on Admitting Gay Men to the Priesthood - New York Times: "Homosexuals, even those who are celibate, will be barred from becoming Roman Catholic priests, a church official said today, under stricter rules soon to be released on one of the most sensitive issues facing the church. "
Gay Men Ponder Impact of Proposal by Vatican - New York Times: "'I feel like a Jew in Berlin in the 1930's,' said a 48-year-old gay priest who has spent 18 years in a religious order. He said he was considering donning a pink triangle - the symbol used by the Nazis - and getting heterosexual priests and members of the laity to wear the triangles as a protest."
I recently read a post about this news issues where the emailer suggested that the role of religion is to provide a framework for morality. I would agree that the Catholic Church arrogates this role unto itself, but I do not find theology to be a particularly enlightening way to establish a foundation for moral and ethical discussion. My observation is that building one's ethics or morality upon one's understanding of the wishes of God-as-you-understand-it is a precarious way to find the social stability that is sought through good morals and ethics.
As for the Catholic Church, as a former Catholic seminarian, it is my experience and observation that this will lead to nothing good. The seminary is already a hiding place for many who are not able to deal with the ways in which their experience of the universe differs from the reality mandated by the Catholic Church. These people will simply hide harder. They will be more careful and further submerge the issues that they need to address. It is pure arrogance for the Church to assume it is capable of determining the sexuality of its candidates. I've been there. I know they cannot.
As for vocations, this attitude will further erode vocations in the parts of the world where vocations to the priesthood are not a step up in one's quality of life. The Roman or Latin Rite of the Catholic Church has long depended on prestige and power to attract men to the priesthood. For this reason, there is a spike in vocations for the dioceses of the Third World countries, and increasingly First World countries are staffing their churches with men from these areas.
Finally, there are only two ways in which I, as a non-Catholic, am concerned with this. The first is the sense in which the Church continues to twist people who live in our society. It seems to me that their actions along these lines continue to populate our world with people who are damaged by these prejudicial attitudes. People whose moral compass becomes so twisted by the need to hide and submerge feelings, that it causes damage beyond the boundaries of the Catholic community. The second way in which I am concerned is only in the way the Catholic Church continues to provide some energy to the prejudice of various parties. Their actions and their taking time with this issue provides some measure of energy to the movement of bigots who refuse to acknowledge the work of the scientific community in favor of their twisted theologically based moralities.
For these two reasons, I hope their work bears fruit in a continued world-wide decline in vocations.