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February 27, 2009



I know this is rather a stupid question but why should there be any concern about a seminarian's sexual ordination if he is supposed to be celibate, that is, non-sexual?

Shouldn't the concern be about how seminarians deal with sexual desire?

Are they being taught to channel them, ( kundalini etc;), or just ignore/ repress them?

All in all, it seems to me that there's a lot of confusion going on.

The Orthodox Church doesn't, at first glance, seem to have this problem.
Yet, having a married priesthood is not a panacea since the bishops are required to be celibate, ( and theoretically monks).
So, they too face the same situation but, of course, pretend otherwise.

Spirit of Vatican II

Celibacy was rather taken for granted in seminaries, I think. The promise of celibacy was administered in a rather shabby ceremony some time before the subdiaconate. Many priests regard it as an invalid promise, and I suppose a lawyer could make that case. Rhetoric about celibacy from retreat directors tended to the bluff, sometimes with put-downs of romance and marriage. I suspect that the taken-for-grantedness had a lot to do with the number of seminarians who were thinking, "since I'm gay, celibacy is prescribed anyway."

In the seminary environment, sexual desire could be put on hold; an issue left over until after ordination, one might say. Some of the sort of monastic sublimation you mention would no doubt have circulated in the spiritual lore the seminarians picked up. All in all, I think it was a flawed policy that made the Church anxious to make all monks priests and all priests "monks" (and from what you say, it appears that Orthodox bishops are monks in a more literal sense).


For quite a while I've thought that the requirement of celibacy for priests was confusing the role of a priest versus the role of a monk.
It's logical for a monk, (monos), since a monk, ( or nun), is a person who has decided to "abandon" all for the sake of all.
It's not necessarily the same for a priest. A priest, ( as far as I understand it at present), represents the bishop who represents Christ before the altar. A priest also represents the people of the local Church, especially if there's no deacon who does fully represent the people-( all this is the Orthodox notion of priesthood). There is no need for the priest to actually be celibate.
At any rate, priests aren't required to be monks. Why should they be?

If they are, then the seminaries should really be monasteries.


Pawlikowski isn’t so sure Benedict fully comprehends the concerns of Jews who suspect Pius XII ignored their plight. For Benedict, the concept of complicity simply does not compute, he said.

He sees [the Holocaust]as a horrible event. No question about that," Pawlikowski emphasized. "He views the Holocaust as a pagan, anti-human phenomenon but doesn’t really want to deal very clearly and explicitly with the Christian complicity that was also there."

Pawlikowski said the notion that the church might have been an intentional or unwitting accomplice in war crimes "clashes with [Benedict’s] ecclesiology."

"His vision of the church is very ahistorical. Really, the essence of the church is not within history. It’s transcendental and is not really impacted as such by the realities of human history," Pawlikowski said. "This is part of the issue ... He sees the church primarily as a victim of the Nazis and not in any way a collaborator."

From Chicago Tribune;


I think the observation that the Pope sees the Church as ahistorical is correct.

In fact, this view of the Church isn't unique to the Pope. It's quite prevalent in Orthodoxy also.

I find it perplexing- a Church teaching that God "entered" human history, ( the Incarnation), also teaching that It itself is not in history.

Spirit of Vatican II

Yes, his ideas of the Church's historicity were formed in his doctorate and post-doctorate studies of Augustine and Bonaventure on this topic. The Bonaventure book is worth looking at for an example of dreamlike talk about history that has no relation to modern understanding of history.

Today's Japan Times carries a critical article on Benedict by the former editor of "The Universe". He makes much the same points as Kung (though he is unnecessarily dismissive of Merkel's intervention). See http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20090301a1.html

It seems that the old clerical pastime of nagging about Ratzinger has now become a worldwide craze, sometimes degenerating into Ratzinger-bashing.

It is encouraging to see BISHOPS now speaking up for common sense, and reclaiming their collegial authority: http://enlightenedcatholicism-colkoch.blogspot.com/2008/12/interview-with-pastor-who-actually-gets.html


The two Catholic blogs you've linked to, (Bilgrimage and enlightenedcatholicism), certainly point to a real crisis in, at the very least, the U.S. Catholic Church. I suppose the reason the crisis seems to be focused in the U.S. is quite simply, money. (A similar crisis is occurring in the Orthodox Church - though it is split among a number of different ethnic jurisdictional lines - there was the Greek fiasco with Archbishop Spyridon, appointed by Constantinople, whose style of authoritarianism rankled both clergy and laity - just recently, the OCA (Russian), had a fiscal scandal, etc., etc. - in all this, money was involved).

The blogs do a good job of linking all this with right-wing politics. (The same links can be found in the Orthodox but since they're so small it's not noticed.)

As the current U.S./world fiscal crisis deepens, I wouldn't be surprised to see more attempts to silence any views but the "correct" ones, theologically and politically.

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