Rob Frydlewicz: Vatican Scapegoats Gay Seminarians, November 29, 2005
To quell outrage over the Roman Catholic Church's cover up of child abuse by its priests, the Vatican scapegoated gay men by banning their admission to seminaries. However, the ban that was announced on November 29, 2005 was akin to rescinding an invitation to a club that had lost its popularity long ago.
Even before the edict was issued half as many men were entering seminaries as in 1965. During the same time frame the number of Roman Catholics increased by 41%. After peaking in 1975 the number of ordained priests has fallen by more than 30%. Today the typical priest is older than 60, with those over the age of 90 outnumbering clergy younger than 30.
To address this decline the Vatican thought it wise to bar a contingent of young men who historically comprised a significant portion of priests - while continuing to refuse ordination of women or married men. And despite findings to the contrary the Church knowingly deceived its faithful by conflating homosexuality with pedophilia.
The Roman Catholic Church has been greatly impacted by gay liberation. Previously, as long as homosexuals were seen as pariahs by society they provided a steady stream of seminarians. But as gay men began to live more openly the priesthood was no longer the only respectable career option to consider. (Shortly after I came out to my dad he told me I would have made a great priest. That's when I realized that those of his generation considered gay men useful if they became priests.) To help fill this void more priests are being brought from Africa, home to virulently homophobic forms of Christianity.
For more posts like this, Rob also has a blog called ZeitGAYst/