The procedures being used to screen seminary candidates for emotional and sexual maturity are, if the New York Times is to be believed, obscene. I mean that literally.
When I first read the article, I was simply revolted. My earlier understanding was that the appalling instruction of 2005 restricting the recruitment of gay seminarians had been largely softened in the later instruction issued in 2008, as carefully and clearly described by James Alison. To find that recruitment interviews remain obsessed with sex, and particularly with same sex attraction, was yet another indictment of the institutional Church’s lamentable inability to come to terms with a fundamental part of what it is to be human. Then I recalled something I read last week in Mark Jordan’s “The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism“.
The context was Jordan’s analysis of the Vatican’s rhetorical style in its pronouncements on homosexuality, a style which Jordan says is characterised by repetition, flattening, threatening and certainty, rather than reasoning. This is what he says about the extraordinary repetitions in Vatican discourse :
There certainly seems to be room for some contemporary satire, if only we had another Pascal. For example, the obsessive repetitions and flattenings of the official documents might seem to indicate that they are themselves a form of sexual gratification. They describe sexual acts and organs in ways that typify pornography made for men. Read the rest of this entry »