John-Henry Westen

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Bishop Schneider: Why homosexually inclined men shouldn’t be in seminary

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March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – During an exclusive interview with LifeSite, Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider, proposed as one of the solutions to the sexual abuse crisis a new canonical norm in the Catholic Church which would mandate that men with homosexual inclinations “categorically not be accepted in seminaries.” Bishop Schneider, one of the leading voices for orthodoxy in the Church, suggested that if men with homosexual inclinations are in seminary “ they must be dismissed from the seminary and helped to be healed and to live as a good Christian layman.”

Bishop Schneider explains:

Currently the norms only say that those with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should not be admitted to seminary, but for me this is not sufficient. What does “deep-seated” mean? If an adult man comes to the seminary and feels homosexual attraction, even if it is not yet deep-seated, it is still a homosexual attraction. And in itself it is already a condition that, in some circumstances — such as in the exclusively male atmosphere of a seminary — could develop into a deeper or more aggressive tendency.

And when he becomes a priest, he will be with seminarians, with young altar boys and so on. And so while perhaps in seminary these tendencies were not deep-seated, they can become deeper in certain circumstances.

It is for me in some way disingenuous. Let’s say that a young man is not an aggressive homosexual. He does not take pleasure in having homosexual tendencies, and they are not so deeply rooted. But when he acknowledges that he has these tendencies, or when it is proven by exterior acts or signs that he has homosexual tendencies, even if they are not deep-seated, he should be charitably sent away from the seminary. And this should be a canonical norm: that someone who acknowledges that he has homosexual tendencies, even not deep-seated, cannot be received into another seminary and cannot be ordained.

Homosexual tendencies are a kind of a personality disorder trait and a distorted perception of reality, since this signifies a desiring an object of pleasure against the natural order of the sexes. Magisterial documents call it an “objective” disorder. How can you ordain a man with a disorder in his personality or in his psycho-somatic makeup? Of course, there are other psychological disorders as well. We do not ordain men with certain psychological disorders, even when they are not so deep. It would harm the priesthood.  

Asked what sort of exterior signs he had in mind, the Bishop replied:

If he were to have an exclusive and ostentatious friendship with a man, it would already be an exterior sign. Or if he looks at male pornography on the internet, this would be another sign. These are exterior, verifiable signs. Once these are discovered, such a seminarian should be forever excluded from ordination. Yes, he can be healed, but the seminary is not a sanitarium for healing people with psychological disorders or homosexual tendencies. This is naïve, and it will harm the priesthood and the person. It would be better for such a person to be a good Christian in the world and save his soul, and not to be a priest. We can and should help him, or course. But we have to be willing to say to him: you will not be ordained, it is for the salvation of your soul. Be a good Christian in the world.

Better to have fewer priests but healthy, psychologically healthy men. And deep lovers of Christ, deeply spiritual men. It would be better for the entire Church. Better to leave some parishes without a priest and some dioceses without a bishop for several years than to ordain a man who has a disorder, either homosexual or other personality disorders.

 

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John-Henry Westen

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.  

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.