Sex, Gender and the Sacred

The road to the sacred runs through the carnal. Not only the Bible but Life itself reveals that sexuality is more spiritual than biological. The erotic is God's poetry of love calling us out of ourselves to awareness of beauty and to an expansive creativity and giving of ourselves. We go to God through one another, via loving, not apart from one another. --Paschal.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

To our Gay Priests and Seminarians, a Letter

To Our Gay Brothers in Priestly Ministry or Preparing for It

The Pope and his highest advisors are said to be preparing a statement on homosexuals and the ministry, and have also launched an examination of the seminaries in the United States with what seems to be a particular focus on homosexuality. The Celtic Christian Church is aware of the deep pain this activity will cause in many completely faithful and celibate gay men in ministry or preparing for it. In the face of that reality, the Celtic Christian Church, well aware of its limitations, wishes to express to our gay brothers in ministry or in training our concern and our support.

To be specific about this issue, the following is a summary of the Roman Catholic Church's position on homosexuality. This orientation, while not sinful in itself, is seen as an objective disorder, going against, as it does, the natural, God-given sexual function of the human body.
Therefore homosexual acts are considered intrinsically disordered and therefore sinful. In consequence chastity, which in this case means celibacy, is required of homosexual persons. Following upon those positions, the current visitation of American seminaries will inquire into homosexual attitudes and actions. The intent is to refuse admission to gay men and to dismiss gay seminarians, in the conviction that they are not capable of living a celibate life.

This position on homosexuality is unsatisfactory because it is "physicalist," that is, it is focused entirely on the physical aspect of the human body: because the sexual organs work in a certain way, any use of them in any other way is to be condemned, and so any gay and lesbian sexual activity is seen as unnatural and immoral. But what is to be considered "natural" for a person who, biologically, is attracted to a person of the same sex, and who, psychologically, desires a
companion to share his/her life?

In the face of that unsatisfactory conception of homosexuality, the Celtic Christian Church affirms a different position. It recognizes that the homosexual orientation is, at least in part, biologically determined. And it recognizes that it is by means of intimate and committed relationships that human persons attain the fullness of personality. In consequence it offers no condemnation of homosexual persons. On the contrary, it affirms them as children of God, equal in human and Christian dignity to their heterosexual brothers and sisters.

And in the area of priestly ministry the Church makes no distinction between homosexual and heterosexual persons. It ordains to the priesthood persons of either orientation who are seen to be called by God to that ministry and who fulfill the Church's formation program for Holy Orders.

What the Celtic Christian Church asks of its homosexual priests is the same thing it asks of its heterosexual priests, that is that they do their best to live their Christian lives seriously and that, if they are not married or partnered, they live a celibate life honestly. Nothing further, in this Church's judgment, should be asked of them.

We are fully aware that the great majority of homosexual Roman Catholic priests serve their people well and faithfully and respect their commitment to celibacy, just as we are aware that the great majority of heterosexual Roman Catholic priests do the same. Both the position on the homosexual orientation and the measures being implemented in regard to gay priests and seminarians by the Pope and his highest advisors cast a very negative pall over those faithful priests and can only have an inhibiting effect on those gay seminarians who would one day be
faithful priests. And we are aware too of the deep pain that those priests and seminarians are needlessly made to suffer.

Faced with this situation we do the one thing we can do. We offer those gay priests and seminarians our concern and our support. And if this Church, small as it is, can offer one or another of them more concrete help, we will be happy to do so.

Paschal Baute, priest of
The Celtic Christian Church