Friday, December 3, 2010

The Benedict Stuff Lost Amidst The Rubbers

The press is far too worried about trying to change Catholic teaching to talk about it, but you can see a few other quotes from Pope Benedict's interview with Seewald over at The Tablet.

A few of my favorites:

On barring gay men from the priesthood

Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don’t want to get married anyway. For, in the end, their attitude toward man and woman is somehow distorted, off centre, and, in any case, is not within the direction of creation of which we have spoken. The Congregation for Education issued a decision a few years ago to the effect that homosexual candidates cannot become priests because their sexual orientation estranges them from the proper sense of paternity, from the intrinsic nature of priestly being… The greatest attention is needed here in order to prevent the intrusion of this kind of ambiguity and to head off a situation where the celibacy of priests would practically end up being identified with the tendency to homosexuality.

If the condom thing doesn't take off like they want it, my prediction is that "the Pope is a homophobe" will be the new headline.

On what led to the abuse crisis

The Archbishop of Dublin told me … that ecclesiastical penal law functioned until the late 1950s; admittedly it was not perfect—there is much to criticize about it — but nevertheless it was applied. After the mid-sixties, however, it was simply not applied any more. The prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but, rather, a Church of love; she must not punish. Thus the awareness that punishment can be an act of love ceased to exist. This led to an odd darkening of the mind, even in very good people…

Of course the intellectual climate of the 1970s, for which the 1950s had already paved the way, contributed to this … The thesis was advocated—and this even infiltrated Catholic moral theology — that there was no such thing as something that is bad in itself. There were only things that were “relatively” bad. What was good or bad depended on the consequences. In such a context, where everything is relative and nothing intrinsically evil exists, but only relative good and relative evil, people who have an inclination to such behaviour are left with no solid footing. Of course paedophilia is first rather a sickness of individuals.

In other words, the Church stopped disciplining people, plus the folks in charge were playing God with what's right and wrong. Reversing these two trends is basically the remedy for everything wrong with the Church today, not just the abuse crisis.

On claiming to have the truth

It is obvious that the concept of truth has become suspect. Of course it is correct that it has been much abused. Intolerance and cruelty have occurred in the name of truth. To that extent people are afraid when someone says, “This is the truth”, or even “I have the truth.” We never have it; at best it has us. No one will dispute that one must be careful and cautious in claiming the truth. But simply to dismiss it as unattainable is really destructive.

And this is why the world hates the Church.

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