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So, This Is a "Conservative"?

by Christopher A. Ferrara

A great deal of press has been devoted to the supposed ultra-conservatism of the new Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell. But in a recent speech, Pell revealed that he, too, has succumbed in large measure to the political correctness which has overrun the Catholic hierarchy in the midst of this unprecedented crisis in the Church.

At a Catholic youth gathering during his first Sunday as Archbishop, Pell said “there is no place in the Church for priests who engage in homosexual activity . . . If they're acting out [their sexuality], that's incompatible with remaining as a priest — so if that's happening they've got to choose one way or the other.” [Zenit, May 13, quoting The Australian newspaper] So, according to Pell, any priest who is now engaging in homosexual acts can remain a priest so long as he “chooses” to refrain from those acts in the future. What’s wrong with this picture?

It was not until 1973 that the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association, under political pressure, voted to delete homosexuality as a mental disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Even Sigmund Freud taught that homosexuality is a grave disorder. The Church itself traditionally regarded the homosexual condition as an impediment to priestly ordination, as would be any other serious psychological disorder, such as kleptomania. Pell and the generality of modern Churchmen, however, have succumbed to the same political pressure which caused the AMA to cease considering homosexuality as a mental disease. Now, apparently, only practicing homosexuals are unfit for the priesthood, even though the Catechism of the Catholic Church (following traditional Catholic teaching) still describes the homosexual inclination, in and of itself, as intrinsically disordered.

Thus, Pell agrees that men with a serious intrinsic disorder are fit for the priesthood so long as they do not “act out their sexuality.” From this it follows that men who like to dress up in women’s clothes or find themselves attracted to children would also be fit candidates for the sacred priesthood, so long as they can manage to suppress their disordered desires. It is this shamefully lax standard of priestly fitness which explains the current spate of clerical scandals which clog the civil and criminal dockets of courts in every nation.

In the same address Pell went on to say: “I have spoken with many, many people in the gay community and I bear them no ill will and I wish them God's peace.” What precisely is this “gay community” Pell refers to? If the homosexual condition is intrinsically disordered, as the Church teaches, how can one speak of a “community” based upon an intrinsic disorder, and how can one call it “gay”? This makes about as much sense as using the term “cancer community” in referring to everyone who has cancer. Does not Pell realize that merely by adopting the term “gay community” he is validating homosexual propaganda and giving ground to his homosexual opponents?

Pell shows other signs of an advanced case of political correctness. According to the press account Pell is “sympathetic to reaching out to other denominations and faiths . . . He also has been in touch with the Muslim community, recognizing Muslims as people who ‘worship the same God.’” So this “ultra-conservative” Catholic Archbishop declares that the Muslims, who denounce the Holy Trinity as blasphemy and vehemently deny the divinity of Christ, worship “the same God” as Catholics. Yet in 1925 Pope Pius XI commanded that the whole Church pray for the deliverance of Muslims from “the darkness of Islamism” so that they might be drawn “into the light and the kingdom of God.”

In the political realm we have seen the cheapening of political terminology to the point of meaninglessness. Today’s “right-wing ideologue” advances positions no more conservative than those of John F. Kennedy 40 years ago. Today’s right-winger is yesterday’s Democrat. Now, God help us, the same phenomenon has occurred in the Church. The “ultra-conservative” Archbishop Pell says and does things that Pope Pius XI and all his predecessors would have viewed with horror. The gay community? Heaven help us.