I’ve been reading a various Catholic commentators who give an entirely different spin on what’s going on. Francis’ seeming embrace of a gay victim followed by doubling down on keeping gays out of seminaries might have much more to do with his fight against the Chilean bishops than anything else.
Pope Francis summoned them all to Rome recently for a week for some private chats behind closed doors. Very little was reported in the news. But one person said that once the doors were shut, Francis made a speech that basically unloaded on them. The reporter called it a “j’accuse” moment. And that the bishops got so ticked off that the offer of resignation was done en masse. Not out of penitence, humbly accepting blame, but as a kind of mutiny. So their laughter at the end of it all there may be a really bad sign of defiance.
In the 27 notes or more to the 10-page indictment that Frankie read to the bishops that were released, one may reveal the reason why he’s concerned. He sent down a couple of inquisitors to check out the Chilean Church and this is what he said they reported:
…the proceedings of the ‘Special Mission’ record serious accusations against some bishops or superiors who are believed to have entrusted these educational institutions to priests suspected of active homosexuality.
Oops. “Lavender seminaries” – this is something whispered about at least since Malachi Martin’s day. And we know from the Vatileak scandals and other stories that there’s a heapin’ helpin’ of gay clerics partying in Rome — in Ratzinger’s old apartment, for instance. So in meeting with the victim, Francis was moved by his natural pastoral tendency to bullshit, I mean, console whomever he’s talking to. Then later when he thought about those damned pointy hats, reality set in.
Benedict XVI (probably gay himself) said that as long as gays didn’t do the gay thing it was OK for them to be priests. But gay men, according to a friend who should know, tend to be incredibly promiscuous. Many live out the kind of Playboy lifestyles straight men often dream of: lots of sex, plenty of different, gorgeous partners, no attachments. Only with other guys who feel the same way.
Not my cup of tea, but I can imagine how I would feel to be surrounded constantly day and night by scores of beautiful young women whose interests and beliefs I share: very hard indeed. I think I can see why seminaries, just like military outfits, could drive a gay man crazy.
As to what the appropriate solution is, I have no idea. But the pope can never openly admit how many gay men there are in the priesthood, as that would force open a dialog. Gay men and lesbians would inevitably press for full and complete acceptance. Ultimately, the Roman Catholic Church, as it has had to change its teachings on so many things, might have to rationalize this as well.