Tuesday, May 12, 2009

USA Today Asks The Wrong Question

Their headline question:  "Does it Matter More if a Priest Cheats With a Man or a Woman?"

The brief opinion piece meanders a bit, dredges up Rembert Weakland and mentions natural law, then declines to offer an actual opinion, instead opening the question to reader comments.

There are various opinions, tending toward "breaking your vow is breaking your vow."  And then one "American1942," gets is exactly right:  The big issue isn't whether the priest has sex with a man or a woman.  The big issue is whether the priest has sex with somebody in his parish.

Duh.  That's the real ethical breach, and that is where souls and their relationship to Christ are truly endangered.  Understanding as much probably explains the comparative tolerance extended to vow-violating priests in some countries, especially the Latin ones.  Our question is why the dopes at USA Today didn't start a discussion about that.

Probably because it's USA Today.  Ugh.


Christian said...

Speaking of nookie in the church, do you think Cutie will become an "Evangelical Catholic priest" like yourself?

Father said...

Like me? No. I'm short and chubby.

Seriously, though, I doubt it. Should Cutie decide that his future ministry lay elsewhere -- say, within Lutheranism -- he would be subject to a great deal of fresh scrutiny, ranging from psychological exams to a legal background check.

Even assuming he passed those, a track record of sexual misconduct could be a major stumbling block to re-ordination, I suspect that's true even of conduct that wasn't inherently off-limits in his new church.

And if it does turn out that (a) he has actually had sex with any of the women he's been photographed with, and (b) that any of them is a member of his actual parish, then his chances of being a pastor in the ELCA, at least, drop to zero. That's a very significant ethical line for us.

Now, if he wanted to join one of the schismatic "Lutheran" ministries that apparently exist in large part as homes for defrocked adulterers, he might have a shot there. The Evangelical Lutheran Conference and Ministerium would probably have him, but the International Lutheran Fellowship might also have him. And good luck to them all.