USCCB President Statement on Deep Seated Homosexuality

USCCB President Statement on Deep Seated Homosexuality

USCCB President Equates
Deep Seated Homosexuality With Heterosexuality

In multiple interviews the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said that “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” are equivalent to “deep-seated heterosexual” tendencies. Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad made the remarks to the Washington Post and the Catholic News Service in discussing the recent Vaticaninstruction that addresses whether or not homosexual men should be ordained.

The long-awaited and speculated upon document issued November 29 by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education declares that the Church “cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called ‘gay culture’.” The document has angered many dissenters inside and outside the Church.

The Washington Post paraphrased Bishop Skylstad as saying that the ban on men with deep-seated homosexuality applies to men with deep seated heterosexual impulses. “Absolutely, it cuts both ways. . . . I think if the orientation dominates one’s personality, whether that be homosexual or heterosexual,” then the candidate cannot be ordained, Bishops Skylstad said. A Catholic New Service story reported Bishops Skylstad as saying that if a seminarian “has a deep-seated heterosexual impediment” he should not be ordained.

Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese interpreted the document differently. He says it is clear that the homosexual condition poses a unique impediment to ordination that is not found in heterosexuality. “To be happy, a priest must be convinced in his heart that he would be a good father and a good husband. . . . It is a sacrifice. It’s supposed to be a sacrifice. It is not a sacrifice in the same way for a person with deep-seated homosexual tendencies. He is not drawn to marriage in the same way,” Bishop D’Arcy said in a statement. Bishop D’Arcy also said that a “heterosexual man who enters the seminary does not enter a school with attractive young women. . . The homosexual candidate, however, is forced to live closely with other males. In fact, he will live most of his life with males. This is not fair to him for his own spiritual growth.”

In the Washington Post story Bishop D’Arcy said he disagreed with Bishop Skylstad, who said the document still gives room for ordaining homosexual men, saying that interpretation is “simply wrong.”

At issue is what is meant by the phrase “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a practicing psychiatrist and expert on homosexuality discussed the question in an interview with the Zenit News Service. “Those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies identify themselves as homosexual persons and are usually unwilling to examine their emotional conflicts that caused this tendency,” he said. “Strong physical attraction is present to other men’s bodies and to the masculinity of others due to profound weakness in male confidence.” In contrast, “Those with mild homosexual tendencies do not identify themselves as homosexuals. Such men are motivated to understand and to overcome their emotional conflicts. They regularly seek psychotherapy and spiritual direction.”

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