Anglican Archbp. Williams causes another dust up for the C of E and himself

There is a good deal of controversy in England right now about comments made by Anglican Archbp. Rowan Williams before Benedict XVI’s visit to England.

In an article in The Times published today, the contents of an interview with Archbp. Williams are exposed in advance of next month’s publication of a book entitled Shadow Gospel: Rowan Williams and the Anglican Communion CrisisThe Times provided some of an interview of Williams by Ginny Dougary.

Inter alia, Williams says (for the first time) that he has “no problem” with homosexuals being bishops, but gay clergy must be celibate.  I think the writer meant “chaste”, since celibate means unmarried.  When will people get this right?

Williams indicated his personal support for the consecration of homosexual bishops in the Church of England, but that he will never endorse homosexual clergy in active relationships because tradition and historical “standards” dictate that homosexual clergy must remain chaste.  He won’t endorse priests and bishops in active homosexual relationship because “the cost to the Church overall was too great to be borne at that point”.

No kidding.  Then there is the fact that homosexual sex is wrong.

Here is an instance where the Archbishop of Canterbury could have said nothing.  He didn’t have to say any of this.  But, no.  He opted for the gaiter in mouth approach and made a statement that will surely anger both sides of the issue in the Church of England, leaving no one feeling supported.

Williams’ comments have provoked a furious response from homosexuals. They will surely alienate more traditional Anglicans.   Homosexuals will be angry that homosexuals have to be chaste but married heterosexuals don’t.  Conservatives will be angry because Williams seems to set aside Christian tradition going back 2000 years.   (Repeat quietly to yourselves… Anglicanorum coetibus… Anglicanorum coetibus….)

And why would he give this to a Murdoch paper, The Times, and not to The Guardian?  And why provoke the firestorm when there are already so many problems in the C of E?  Can he be so naive as to think that in an interview a reporter isn’t going to ask about homosexual clergy?  Did he think that the reporter was going to stick to the 11 languages he speaks? His kids? His book about Dostoevsky?

Here is a commentary in The Times by Ruth Gledhill with my emphases and comments.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is treading an impossible path

Ruth Gledhill Commentary

The picture of Rowan Williams that emerges from Ginny Dougary’s revealing interview is of an honest man struggling to square an impossible circle.

Or put another way, this academic pastor with his formidable intelligence is imprisoned within the loop of a one-sided Mobius strip called the Anglican Communion in a modern world with more sexual dimensions than the early Church Fathers can have possibly imagined. [I think the Fathers of the Church knew about sin….but okay. They didn’t have to cope with interest groups supported by an instant global media machine promoting their … proclivities as if they were normal.]

Charles Raven, the conservative evangelical, in his new book, Shadow Gospel: Rowan Williams and the Anglican Communion Crisis, published next month by Latimer Press, writes of Dr Williams’s leadership as a tragedy in which “the weight of an historic institution and the resourcefulness of a deeply learned mind are brought to bear in an attempt to sustain the unsustainable”.

Cardinal John Henry Newman, beatified last week by the Pope in the penultimate step before canonisation, tried to walk this Via Media in the 19th century. He gave up and went to Rome. Dr Williams admits the reason he opted to be an Anglo rather than Roman Catholic was because he could not accept that the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra.

Newman also had doubts about papal infallibility but they were not enough to stop him, perhaps because he understood what is now becoming dreadfully clear to the 80 million members of the Anglican Communion. [If they are paying attention.]

What is extraordinary is the candour with which he confesses, even if inadvertently, the double standards at the heart of the Church’s [C of E] teaching: either homosexuals and heterosexuals are equal in God’s eyes, or they are not. [But it is really a question about the sex they want to have, not about their dignity as human beings.]

What has been unsustainable from the start is the Anglican position, articulated with dreadful clarity by Dr Williams, that lay people can have sex if they are gay, but not clergy. What we are seeing, in the traumas and contortions of contemporary Anglican theology, is the impossibility of a Church trying to be both Catholic and reformed.

Damian Thompson had this:

But does the Archbishop hope that one day gay bishops can have partners? “Pass”.

Yes, he really did say that. Now, you may regard Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality as wrong, amounting to a declaration that it’s OK to be left-handed but not to write with your left hand, but it is at least clear. It’s inconceivable that Benedict XVI would produce the game-show reply “Pass” to a question about sexual morality.

Nicely done.

Damian adds:

What will it take, I wonder, for my liberal Catholic friends to recognise that – irrespective of your views on this matter – Rowan Williams emerges from this debate neither as a radical prophet nor a defender of biblical morality, but as a source of confusion and anxiety?

Perhaps liberals will continue with Archbp. Williams precisely because he is the opposite of a Pope.

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  1. TJerome says:

    Ruth Gledhill is past her shelf date. She is so immersed in the 1960s ethos of “I’m ok you’re ok.”

    Archbishop Rowan should really consider stepping down from the See of Canterbury. Although if he keeps pursuing this agenda he may be the last protestant Archbishop of Canterbury (which would actually be fine by me).

  2. catholicmidwest says:

    Celibate is what the man said, and he should know the difference. However, he knows that many of his followers don’t know the difference between celibate and chaste, and he probably is perfectly okay with that because it has the potential for helping him solve his problems for now.

    We’ve played the same damn game in the Catholic church in the USA for years, and people still don’t get it. Celibate means “not married;” chaste means having no sexual relations–with anyone. At any time. In any way. No men. No women. No children. No animals. No inanimate objects. Period.

  3. catholicmidwest says:

    PS All celibates, being unmarried individuals, are supposed to be exclusively chaste because the Church forbids sexual relations outside the marriage bond.

    It is *morally possible* to be chaste but not celibate under certain conditions. It is *NEVER morally possible* to be celibate but not chaste. EVER.

  4. Does that mean you disagree with what she said? If so, how?

  5. Jacob says:

    This little dust-up shows quite well the point I made this last week about Dr. Williams. The man tries to have it both ways on hot-button issues and fails spectacularly. Mr. Thompson’s display in his own post of Dr. Williams’ hypocrisy regarding the chaste homosexual turned down for the sees of Reading and Southwark is clear.

  6. C. says:

    7 years too late, still fuzzy as bread mold, and only after enormous pressure from Rome. It is clear where doctrine subsists. Anglican worship is often beautiful, Anglicanism is heresy.

  7. Randii says:

    I don’t see this as such a big deal.

    In the Catholic church for a long time now homosexuals – presumably chaste/celibate have been ordained as priests. And certainly some Catholic bishops are gay.

    The Catholic church has not 100% shut the door on ordaining gay men even after the recent scandals which right wing Catholics like to pin on gays in the clergy.

    So, at a practical level, what the good Archbishop said has been the defacto reality in the Catholic church for a long while.

  8. Joan M says:

    “It is *morally possible* to be chaste but not celibate under certain conditions. ”

    Actually, it morally required to be chaste while not celibate. Persons who are married are required to live chastity too – having sex only with their spouse.

    Every human being is called to live chastity. Only some are required to live celibacy.

  9. Supertradmum says:

    I think one needs to read between the lines. I really do believe that Rowan Williams, a highly intelligent, is trying to work out his own conscience in the public debate by sharing his own confusion on the issue. Point? He mirrors many Anglicans who have been following the Via Media and now, at this time, are presented with the clearest choices they have ever had laid before them since the constitutional crisis over Mrs. Wallace. Many Anglicans have been able to keep a foot in both the liberal Protestant camp and the so-called Anglo-Catholic camp, but now, deeper lines, or rather crevices, are appearing in their happy compromise landscape.

    Rowan Williams, I sense, is actually moving toward a Catholic point of view, or even a conversion. We need to pray for him, as the Via Media does not and never will work. He is trying to ameliorate the Anglican community and that is no longer possible in the present doctrinal climate. God bless him and his way to Truth. I do not believe that he is a hypocrite, but a man searching…

  10. Supertradmum says:

    sigh, highly intelligent MAN-please pray for healing for the serious carpal tunnel I have developed in both hands.

  11. catholicmidwest says:


    It is unfortunate that the same term is used for married chastity and celibate chastity, because they are two very different things and this causes a lot of confusion for people. It’s not very precise. People should say clearly what they mean to say and make it understandable to the bulk of the audience who is to hear it.

    According to Catholic teaching: From a moral point of view, a married person is permitted to have sexual relations with his or her spouse, and only with his or her spouse. From a moral point of view, unmarried people, no matter their classification, are not permitted sexual relations of any type with anyone or anything. Let’s be clear.

  12. catholicmidwest says:

    You are correct in saying that many gay candidates are ordained. [No, this is not correct. We will not accept the premise that “many” homosexuals are being ordained. Not now. A few, perhaps.] You are wrong in saying “it’s no big deal.” It’s a terribly big deal and has cost Catholic parishes millions and millions of dollars. That’s not my opinion; that’s accounting. We paid people millions and millions of dollars for homosexual crimes that were shown to have happened in courts of law.

  13. Patrick J. says:

    In popular parlance, celibate means “not having sex.” Like that or not, classic definition or not, the Archbishop is communicating that popular definition. Why do we need another word popularly understood as “unmarried?” I would say that “chaste” implies also speech and thought, and modest behavior, which celibacy does not, and of course others who have opined here would too, seemingly. I also think that “homosexual” is as homosexual does, in other words, your actions alone define one as such, which could include “effeminate” behavior for a man… also proscribed in the Bible. I am not a thief if I gave up robbing banks a few years back, no matter how much I may still want to do such and I am NOT a homosexual if I don’t (fill in the blank..).

  14. Patrick J. says:

    With all due respect, this blog comments section needs an edit feature, Fr. Z, for goodness sakes, for us ‘can’t get it right the first timers.’ As, per, “one’s actions alone define one as such,…”

  15. mdillon says:

    If I might add my 2 cents here: I see the use of “gay” and “homosexual” interchangeably.
    Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, (and psychologist) explains that Homosexuality is a “condition;” whereas, Gay is a “lifestyle” (based on ones behavior). For me, it is important to distinguish the difference between the two.

  16. Supertradmum says:


    The word from Rome has been that absolutely no homosexuals are to be admitted into seminaries. I know that this rule is often ignored and purposefully so. However, how many of those young men actually are ordained is not clear. As I have followed the careers of some of these homosexual men in my diocese and others, some drop out, after either being confronted at some graduate level for some reason, or leaving on their own accord. However, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude prevails. One young friend of the family at Mundelein was told in his class, with his entire class present, not ever to mention homosexuality at the seminary. We must pray that these deluded men leave on their own accord, as obviously, they are not being encouraged to leave. I am sure we need to pray about this daily.

    Ordination is another matter…but living in a diocese that went bankrupt over pedophilia and homosexuality in priests, I am very sensitive to this problem. Sadly, not all the doors have been closed to those who want to live the gay lifestyle or to those who have such tendencies. Obviously, a seminary is the last place where they should be, as it is a place of such great temptation. I would imagine in America and know that some Anglican seminaries in England do not discourage homosexuality, either,

  17. Fred says:

    If we go by the Compact Oxford English Dictionary from Oxford University Press, which makes the definitive Oxford English Dictionary, Bishop Williams’ usage of “celibate” is correct:

    celibate (celi|bate) Pronunciation:/?s?l?b?t/ adjective

    * abstaining from marriage and sexual relations, typically for religious reasons:a celibate priest
    * having or involving no sexual relations:a celibate lifestyle
    Origin: early 19th century …..

    Inter alia, Williams says (for the first time) that he has “no problem” with homosexuals being bishops, but gay clergy must be celibate. I think the writer meant “chaste”, since celibate means unmarried. When will people get this right?

  18. Ed the Roman says:

    “chaste means having no sexual relations–with anyone. At any time. In any way. No men. No women. No children. No animals. No inanimate objects. Period.”

    No, continence means that. The chastity of the celibate is continence; the chastity of the married is fidelity.

  19. Flaneur says:

    Joan, you’re right. “Pure, undefiled, sincere” – that’s chaste. “Not having sexual activity” -that’s celibate. Thank you.

  20. witness2hope says:

    “Sadly, not all the doors have been closed to those who want to live the gay lifestyle or to those who have such tendencies. Obviously, a seminary is the last place where they should be, as it is a place of such great temptation.”

    You do not want homosexuals entering seminaries who live chaste in accordance with the Catechism of The Catholic Church?

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    Please correct me if I have misunderstood.

  21. Tony Layne says:


    It is a big deal, under the current social circumstances. Even without getting into the numbers game of “how many priests are gay”, we don’t design rules to enshrine the status quo, even in the secular world. Because people avoid speed traps, it doesn’t follow that speed limits are pointless or that they need to be eliminated.

    You say “presumably chaste/celibate”. I won’t deny that there are priests who suffer from same-sex attraction (though how many has yet to be determined by anything remotely approaching a scientific method). And charity perhaps would demand that, in any specific case, we presume the priest lives his vow of chastity with complete faithfulness. However, homosexuals are under greater social pressure than heterosexuals to express their orientation sexually, to affirm the “rightness” and “naturalness” of same-sex attraction through homoerotic unions. In many circles, groups of SSA-afflicted priests argued that they weren’t and shouldn’t be bound by their vows of chastity precisely because they were homosexuals, as if a completely different set of rules pertained to them. Many of the priests who were later accused in the 2002 scandals were members of these circles (comprising what Fr. Andrew Greeley called the “lavendar Mafia”); some—including, I think, Fr. John Geoghegan of Boston notoriety—were even members of NAMBLA. So it’s not just a case of “pinning the scandals on gays”: homosexuality was a major component of the problem.

    The priesthood was never meant as a refuge from sexual temptation or as a cure for sexual disorders. The demands of the priestly life are difficult enough for a man with no sexual disorders or dysfunctions. No one who has difficulty with chastity—straight or SSA-afflicted—should seek the priesthood.

  22. catholicmidwest says:

    And here is the difficulty. Admitting homosexual candidates to the priesthood is admitting potential gay abusers to the priesthood. We have had far more trouble with gay abusers than with heterosexual abusers. So why do we keep doing the same thing only (predictably!) to get the same result??? We’ve paid millions of dollars and we haven’t learned a damn thing yet!!!! Apparently.

  23. catholicmidwest says:

    Correct. One does not become a priest to hide one’s homosexuality, or to find sexual partners, or simply because having a personal tragedy like homosexuality, one doesn’t know what to do with one’s life. None of that is what the priesthood is about.

  24. catholicmidwest says:

    No, that’s wrong. See the confusion we have over all these ridiculous terms???

    Celibate means unmarried. And just because a person says he’s celibate doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a private understanding about that word that allows him to do anything but sleep with a wife he doesn’t have. Which might mean just about anything to him. It’s a Bill Clinton sort of thing, you have to understand.

  25. catholicmidwest says:

    I do think a lot of homosexuals have been ordained and quite a few are still being ordained. Perhaps it’s getting better, maybe. I certainly hope so.

  26. catholicmidwest says:

    Correct. There is a huge “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule, both about seminarians and about priests, even those with public histories. It’s considered the depth of depravity to say anything about this even in reference to keeping your kids safe, even if there is a broad and scandalous public history involved. It’s ridiculous. You just have to keep an eye on what goes on and behave prudently, that’s all.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    They won’t. There are too many interpretations, and people using this in a manipulative way to do what they want are taking advantage of the situation.

  28. catholicmidwest says:

    Paragraph 2359 refers to all homosexuals in general. It does not advise homosexuals that they have a right to apply for the priesthood. No one has the right to be a priest. Let’s be clear about that.

  29. Well, that’s what it means for celibate priests and other unmarried persons.

    For married people, it means you have sex, in the correct way and spirit, with your spouse alone, with an openness to having kids. Kinda important emendation.

  30. With “spouse” defined as being a person of the opposite sex, not too closely related, not married to anybody else, etc. Phew, a lot to define.

  31. I’m called to holiness as a woman, but that doesn’t mean I’m called to becoming a priest, or a friar, or a monk, or a father of children. :)

    Let’s look at it another way. Suppose I were called to be a holy hermit in the desert of the old Egyptian kind, praying around in the desert on my own until the clothes rotted right off me and I had no covering but my own hair. At that point, do you really think that then I would be called by God to minister to a whole team of young male football players? I mean, maybe their chastity wouldn’t be in danger from a skinny sunburned longhaired naked middle old lady hermit, but my chastity probably would be in danger from them. No matter how much I might be determined to treat the boys like my brothers or my sons, it would be very difficult to do that. God would never ask it of anyone.

  32. And when I say my chastity would be in danger, that’s assuming I never even laid a hand on one of the kids. Chastity is about more than just physical acts.

  33. Supertradmum says:

    ps Williams is correct in his use of the term celibate

  34. New Sister says:

    Catholicmidwest – you’re right but incomplete….chastity is not simply a case of abstinence while celibate, or sexual exclusivity with a spouse. A married person is quite capable of unchaste sex with his/her spouse – by lust/mere physical gratification, for example.

  35. New Sister says:

    I hope Father is right, too — but we cannot be complacent or let down our guard!! The gay activists are rabbid to destroy the priesthood and the U.S. Armed Forces.

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Many times people read a statement like “they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” and automatically assume this means striving for the priesthood. HOWEVER, the essence of Christian perfection is holiness, not necessarily being a member of the priesthood. They can well be, and often are, 2 very different things.

  37. New Sister says:

    What I’ve learned about gay men is they crave “affirmation” from “real men”, as I heard in a testimony from a recovered gay. That is why they gravitate toward the priesthood and military – for there is nothing more masculine and “studly” (pardon the term) than they. I just realized I should stop pining away to keep “Don’t ask Don’t tell” for the military – both the Church and our Armed Forces need, “ASK and Don’t admit” … or “Invstigate and Kick out”

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    Well, yes. Homosexuals and lesbians want desperately to be told that they’re okay and what they do is okay. It’s why if you know someone with this problem and they’ve come out to you, they just cannot have a conversation with you without their problem being an integral part of the conversation. They crave legitimacy in the worst kind of way.

    The priesthood has one other huge attraction for homosexuals. Priests have a brotherhood which excludes females and normal family life, and often, groups of priests live together. This is very attractive to homosexuals.

  39. catholicmidwest says:

    There are a lot of pieces to this problem, too. If there was ever a time (and there was) when many successful ordinands were gay, then they are now ordained. If they are ordained, because priests tend to stay ordained no matter what, we still have them in the system and they’re most likely still gay. Fact.

  40. New Sister says:

    I know a priest who I suspect is gay – just by the way he speaks of other men, and manifests various characteristics I have learned from NARTH. This priest (professor of Liturgy of all things!) is all about gay partners continuing to cohabitate, but setting their goal to live celibately. (red flag!) On top of that – red flag – is the way he puts emphasis on that very phrase you cite, catholicmidwest – “approach…perfection” – and then is almost flippant when he says (basically every time I talk to him), “when we fall, well,,, that’s why we have confession!”

  41. catholicmidwest says:

    Yup. And I’ll bet suitable confessors are easy for him to find.

    It’s pretty easy to stumble upon such a situation. A lot of people are sick of the double talk, but we seem to be stuck with it, unfortunately.

    Like I said above, you just have to keep an eye on what goes on and behave prudently, that’s all.

  42. witness2hope says:

    I understand.

    I’m trying to grasp the notion of people who are gay, and have identified a calling to the priesthood not by social pressures or outside influence but when their mind speaks to their heart?

    Can we assume there are a few gay priests who live chaste lives and follow the teachings of the Church completely, without as a person said below, talking about other men appropriately and stating gay partnerships are ok?

  43. catholicmidwest says:

    One’s mind speaking to one’s heart is NOT how a person is called to the priesthood. The basic requirements for a vocation are very clear.

    See this:

    What part of that do you not understand???

  44. witness2hope says:

    Great example, I understand :)

  45. catholicmidwest says:

    And honestly, the very last thing we need is yet another swishy priest.

  46. witness2hope says:

    What I don’t understand is this for example:

    A man who identifies himself as a homosexual, but does not act upon the inclinations of the gay lifestyle nor does he promote it is called by God to a life of holiness, which is priesthood.

  47. witness2hope says:

    Thank you very much for the link and enlightening this ignorant mind!

  48. catholicmidwest says:

    Do you think we are stupid? Do you think that somehow we cannot tell? This is the 21st century, witness2hope. We all know homosexuals socially because we work with them and we’re related to them and many of them have come out to us. We all have the internet now. It’s no longer a deep dark secret that people have to guess at like in the 50s, dear.
    Please spare us the incredulity.

  49. catholicmidwest says:

    Besides, some priests are holy and some are not, just like everyone else. You cannot equate the priesthood and holiness just like that.

    The most holy life that a person with a homosexual inclination could live would be as a layperson in total celibacy, chastity, continence AND obedience to the moral law of the Catholic church. No duplicity, no trickery, no guile. This means no sex with anyone or anything and a complete reliance on God in all things. That would be holy.

  50. witness2hope says:

    I’m very sorry if I have offended you but as a Catholic myself, I am continually learning.

    If I have brought my questions out in the open, it is because I want to become a better Catholic, a better human being.

    The questions that you have come across and have been answered, thanks be to God. There are those of us, especially the younger generation which I am now in, are asking the questions that the older generation have settled.

  51. Phil Steinacker says:


    Begging your pardon but the major confusion regarding the definition of celibacy also extends to the common understanding of chastity. Unless I am terribly mistaken, chastity is a state that is lived out according to one’s station in life. It means not to surrender to lust in thought or action; not to objectify anyone in that manner. For the unmarried person chastity most certainly does require abstinence – totally.

    For spouses, however, chastity in marriage also requires that spouses not lust after one another. It is NOT OK for a married man to lust after his wife, contrary to popular beleif that “if I can’t lust after my own wife who can I lust after?”

    “But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.” ~ Matthew 5:28

    I don’t know about you but in my Douay-Rheims bible Jesus says “woman” – not “wife.” He doesn’t make such a distinction, so it must be that means we are to lust after no one. By authority over each others’ bodies St. Paul wasn’t giving a hall pass to husbands and wives to objectify each other through lust.

    I think I get where you were trying to go, however. It appears there is mass confusion regarding the entire lot of words relevant to sex: celibacy, chastity, & abstinence. In this case the word you are looking for – as you intended it – is “continence” which the Catholic Encyclopedia (online) “may be defined as abstinence from even the licit gratifications of marriage.” I do believe it meets your very precise set of definitions.

    You’d think somebody would write a treatise on the subject so we all can speak with authority on something that draws so much attention. :-)

  52. catholicmidwest says:

    You haven’t offended anyone. I hope I haven’t offended you either. Through no fault of their own, many young people have not been told these things. There is a lot of confusion out there.

  53. Phil Steinacker says:

    Ooops! I merely implied my central point.

    I failed to clarify that chastity in marriage does not preclude sexual relations – but it does forbid lust. Continence precludes sexual relations for everyone, married or not.

  54. catholicmidwest says:

    Yes, I understand. Lust in marriage can exist. However, desire is fine. Lust is when a person just looks to their own satisfaction without thinking of their partner or the responsibilities that go with sexual activity, such as openness to children. On the other hand, sexual desire like love, are normal parts of married life. There is nothing wrong with normal married love as long as it is whole.

    This is one of the chief problems, of course, with birth control. It separates sexual activity from the well-being of the spouse and from openness to life. It makes it an isolated act of gratification.

  55. Patrick J. says:

    Proof reading challenged here! We have editing capabilities, no? Whay not Yooooz themm?

    But, in the end, it is your zone, so carry on!

  56. catholicmidwest says:

    Or people could just stop using euphemisms and speak plainly about what they mean to say.

  57. Alice says:

    Having grown up with the Baltimore Catechism, I know that celibacy means abstaining from both marriage and sexual relations, usually for the Kingdom. In fact, I find it a bit refreshing that the Archbishop of Canterbury actually expects his flock either to understand three syllable words or to be able to look them up in the dictionary. (Look up celibacy at and if you are confused.) I suspect that Abp. Williams used the word purposefully because if he had said that homosexual clergy must be chaste, those who are “married” (and same-sex “marriage” is legal in some parts of the Commonwealth) would be able to say that their relationships were chaste, just as heterosexuals may marry and still be chaste since the Law of God does not require that husbands and wives live in continence.

  58. heracletian says:

    In Damian Thompson’s blog post to which you linked, DT challenged his ‘liberal Catholic friends’ to see Rowan William’s leadership for what it is. Now, in relation to this, I would want to say to all Catholics who style themselves ‘liberal’ either to return to orthodox Catholicism or become an Anglican. For in Anglicanism they can find the home, haven and answer for all their grievances against their apparently benighted, backward and not-with-the-Zeitgeist Catholic Church. I grow deeply weary of these ‘liberal Catholics’ and ask them to walk to where the courage of their convictions would lead them. Be hot or cold. Their Laodicean griping at the Catholic Church from within the Catholic Church is really nauseating.

  59. New Sister says:

    The military has intense intimacy, too, especially in combat. That Dan Choi character who is getting interviews on Fox — what a deplorable example of an officer! He’s living the gay dream, getting all that attention – gaining “legitimacy,” as you aptly put it – in the eyes of his fellow sodomites. It’s all about him… yuck … I can’t stand to hear Fox News (or any cable network) cover this topic anymore.

  60. Tony Layne says:

    Good point, New Sister. It is possible to misuse the act even within the bounds of marriage.

  61. Tony Layne says:

    Not “tend to”. Once ordained, always ordained. You can’t “undo” a sacrament. The Pope can release you from your vows; your bishop can suspend or declare impeded your exercise of Holy Orders; you can abandon your ministry, marry, become an atheist or even (God forbid!) a Satanist … and when you’re laid in the ground you are still “a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek”.

  62. Tony Layne says:

    Arguable position. On the other hand, recovering alcoholics continue to refer to themselves as “alcoholics”—even as “drunks”—no matter how long they’ve been dry. It’s not an act of self-hatred but rather a reminder to themselves that they can never let themselves think for a moment that they’ve been cured. Then again, some who have been afflicted with SSA have found their desires lessened, even to the point of being able to sustain a marriage.

  63. TJerome says:

    Father Z, when I see a phrase like “In a modern world with more sexual dimensions than the early Church Fathers can have possibly imagined” my antenna goes up. I think early Church Fathers like St. Augustine were well aware of a multiplicity of sexual dimensions, and anyone else for that matter, who grew up in the sexual hedonism of the Roman Empire. Hasn’t Ruth heard of the Satryicon? Heck, those ancient Romans could probably teach us a thing or two about “sexual dimensions.” Maybe I am mistaken but this smacks of the typical liberal, “oh the people in the old days weren’t confronted with all of the complexities of modern life and mores” so we have to be more “open, perceptive, blah, blah, blah.” In my opinion, Ruth is trying to make a heretic like Rowan a sympathetic figure. That’s a half baked 1960s approach to morals. So that’s why I think she’s past her shelf life. She needs to update her approach to 1960 liberal pablum.

  64. pewpew says:

    About the quote; you can’t actually commit adultery with your wife, so I don’t think you’re correct here. You may still be right that you shouldn’t lust after your spouse though, I don’t know.

  65. Luke says:

    Look, I’m from Texas, and maybe we do things differently down here… but some of y’all have just been a little rude to witness2hope.

    We have to be better. If we are going to win hearts and minds…. We have to be better.

  66. witness2hope says:

    I have read the whole article, including the following link:

    “Concerning the criteria of vocational discernment regarding persons with homosexual tendencies in view of their admission to seminaries and Holy Orders”

    I have come to understand fully and completely that homosexuals should not enter the seminary or be ordained because it will conflict with the people entrusted to them by God as mentioned here:

    “Such people, in fact, find themselves in a situation that seriously obstructs them from properly relating to men and women. [emphasis mine] The negative consequences that can result from the Ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies should not be obscured.

    When dealing, instead, with homosexual tendencies that might only be a manifestation of a transitory problem, as, for example, delayed adolescence, these must be clearly overcome at least three years before diaconal Ordination.”

    I am an orthodox Catholic, in my twenties, who believes and follows the teachings of the Catholic Church which is over 2,000 years old. I think it is good to question my own faith and bring it into light, so that I may be corrected and not just pay lip service.

    Pope Benedict said in his homily of the Beatification of Cardinal Newman:

    ““I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it” (The Present Position of Catholics in England, ix, 390). On this day when the author of those words is raised to the altars, I pray that, through his intercession and example, all who are engaged in the task of teaching and catechesis will be inspired to greater effort by the vision he so clearly sets before us.”


    There is a difference between liberal Catholics and orthodox Catholics. The former questions the teachings of the Church so that it may be molded into their image of God; Pope Benedict’s message is the danger of “dicatorship of relativism”. In contrast, the latter, orthodox Catholics [such as myself] ask questions because they want to seek the truth, put their ignorance into light and conform themselves to the teaching of the Catholic Church and share in the glory of Christ.

    It is sad that Catholics lose their faith in God or want to change the teachings of the Catholic Church because it does not conform to the “trend” or modern morality of the age. It must be with prayer and open dialogue that one must have faith and trust the teachings of the Catholic Church are true and infallible — that it is the individual who is wrong and in time, with the grace of the Holy Spirit will come to understand Her teachings.

    Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

    The young generation that I am in seek the truth which is found in Jesus, our friend and savior. There is so much truth and beauty and wisdom the Catholic Church holds, and all the heroic saints throughout the ages. I would like to quote Saint Thomas Aquinas in “Summa Theologica”:

    All things desire God as their end, when they desire some good thing, whether this desire be intellectual or sensible, or natural, i.e. without knowledge; because nothing is good and desirable except forasmuch as it participates in the likeness to God.

    Catholics and especially the young generation asks questions that burns in the hearts not because they want to change the teachings of the Church but to get to know the Bride of Christ, to understand Jesus, have an intimate knowledge of God. The questions offered, like the one I asked, sounds heretical and blasphemy because of ignorance. It must be corrected. This cannot be done without patience, prayer, grace, humility, and a firm hand on the Truth.

    As Paul said to the Corinthians:

    ” For, although we are in the flesh, we do not battle according to the flesh, 5
    for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments
    and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ,
    and we are ready to punish every disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”,
    (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

    So it is with this, I bind every thought and offer it to God and let my brothers and sisters in Christ correct me.

    God bless you all and keep me in your prayers, as I will do the same.

  67. Jerry says:

    According to Merriam-Webster, ‘celibacy’ can mean either being unmarried or abstaining from sexual intercourse.

  68. AnAmericanMother says:

    Re “Via Media does not and never will work.”

    As my dear old dad says, “The only things in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and dead possums.”

  69. catholicmidwest says:

    Yup, it’s not a very precise word, particularly in a pluralistic society like the one we have. We need to be more precise or we deserve what we get. Stop with the euphemisms.

  70. catholicmidwest says:

    Yeah well, Tony, technically you are 100% correct. Even laicised priests, unfortunately have still been ordained.

    Once you ordain a man, you have him for life. So they’d better be a lot more careful before they ordain than they have been in the past.

  71. AnAmericanMother says:

    Prayers of course. That carpal is awful stuff.
    You’ve had the wrist braces fitted, and your PT has given you the stretching exercises? Those two things (and changing the arrangement of my computer keyboard) avoided surgery for me.

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