So the Vatican has issued a document on a Catholic news website qualifying its position on homosexual priests. "Men who have deep-rooted homosexual tendencies" need not apply. But the church is quibbling. You can be a priest if you have "transitory" homosexual tendencies that last only for three years or less. It's the hardcore homosexuals those sustaining a "gay culture" who will be barred from taking the vow.
Reminds me of Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Truly, this is theater of the absurd.
I'm wondering who came up with the three year thingy. Can't you see the somber group, sitting around in some musty old, candle lit garret? One of them says, "Look, let's give them a period of time when they can experiment, say for about a year"to see if the scourge has really taken root."
"No," another says, "I needed longer than that to get it out of my system."
"Well, about three years."
"Look, the bottom line is that we have to be celibate."
Then, one of the wiser in the group says, "Look, Good-fellows, this entire issue is ridiculous. It's not gays in the priesthood who spoil the barrel of apples. It's all those at the top who look away when a pedophile priest takes advantage of a child. It's the authority figures as well as the pedophiles who need to learn a lesson from all this. Instead of reassigning a criminal to some distant parish, the guys at the top have to be responsible, have to show that they are leaders and will protect the children by allowing the pedophiles to be prosecuted. If not, our leaders are criminals too."
My, my, my. All this equivocating reminds me of leadership at so many levels. Not just the politics of the Catholic Church. But politics as usual. The corruption. It's everywhere.
Look at Cunningham. Delay. Scooter. Cheney. Why, the President himself. He used "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in a different sort of way to work his plan to invade Iraq and take out the man who "tried to kill my daddy." Don't ask the real questions about evidence to wage a war. Don't tell all that we know the reasons we shouldn't go to war.
Who gives a damn if there are gay priests and gay soldiers? Let them do their jobs. It's when they exploit their positions that they become a HUGE problem and an embarrassment to their church or country. If a priest abuses a child, he should be tried as a criminal. He is a criminal. If a soldier sexually humiliates or tortures a prisoner, he should be held accountable. If the President or Rummy, or Cheney, or any of the guys who are so enamored of their power that they think they are immune from prosecution abuse the authority we've entrusted to them, we should put them in handcuffs and fingerprint them. No one should be above the law. Not a priest, shrouded by secrecy, or a President, hiding behind executive privilege.
If you commit the crime, no matter how important you are, even if your name is Bush and you are part of a dynasty, revered almost as much as the Catholic Church, you must stand before the people who elected you and face their judgment.
We're giving priests three years to see if they have "those" transitory tendencies. We know George Bush's tendencies. And they are not transitory. With Bush we have a war culture. Endless war. And like the pedophile priests who abuse the most innocent of their flock, Bush is exploiting our young men and women in uniform. And the people of Iraq. If a priest sustains an active gay life, that is an "impediment to the fulfilling of his duty." If a President continues war after war after war when the electorate is saying, "No more," then his actions are an impediment to the fulfillment of his oath of office.
Missy Comley Beattie lives in NY City. Her nephew was recently killed in Iraq