Sacred Scripture teaches us about sacrifices to God through the parable of the sacrifices that the Israelites made from their flocks of sheep and goats. (Translation from the Clementine Latin Vulgate.)
And it shall be a lamb without blemish [agnus absque macula], a one year old male. According to this rite, you shall also take a young goat. (Exodus 12:5).God required of the Israelites, when they presented a lamb in sacrifice to Him, that the lamb be without blemish. And still today, God requires, when the community of believers presents some few of its members to Him as a living sacrifice in the priesthood, that each one be a lamb without blemish, an immaculate male. In this way, each priest is a figure of the one true priest, Jesus Christ, who himself is a lamb without blemish. And those who would live a consecrated life as religious brothers or sisters must also be “immaculate in the sight of the Lord.”
But those persons who have a homosexual orientation, even if they have not acted upon it, or even if they have repented from past acts, still have a human nature with an intrinsic moral disorder. As such, they are very far from being lambs without blemish. Any Israelite who presented a blemished lamb to God as a sacrifice would have been severely rebuked by his family and neighbors, and by the Jewish priests and Levites. And rightly so. Therefore, those who accept homosexuals into seminaries, religious orders, or the clergy are rightly rebuked by God. And those who enter a seminary, or a religious order, or who receive ordination, while having a homosexual orientation, are rightly rebuked by God.
All those who have a homosexual orientation, or an orientation towards pedophilia, or a strong attachment to anything that is gravely immoral, are not suitable for the religious life, nor for ordination. Even if they are repentant from, or have never committed, such gravely immoral acts, they are not suitable for the religious life, nor for the Sacrament of Ordination, because of the Biblical teaching that the faithful should offer as a sacrifice to God only lambs without blemish, only those who are immaculate in the sight of the Lord.
The homosexual orientation (and other strong attachments to serious sin of any kind) is a fundamental type of damage to human nature that cannot be overlooked when evaluating someone for ordination, the religious life, or for any other position of leadership or teaching in the Church. For much the same reason, such persons are not fitting candidates to be lectors, or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, or altar servers, or to teach children, or to have any leadership or teaching role in the parish or diocese.
The Right of the Faithful to Have Faithful Ministers
It is the will of the Most Holy Trinity that the faithful have deacons, priests, and bishops who are like Christ, who are true and faithful examples of Christ's teaching, and who are among the best candidates that the community of believers has to offer. Candidates for ordination, who have the fundamental moral disorder of a homosexual orientation, are not fit to have any roles of ordained ministry to the faithful, because they cannot represent Christ to the faithful as truly, fully, and faithfully as chaste heterosexual men can.
A homosexual who ministers to the faithful represents Christ less fully than a heterosexual man. Moreover, the flaw in this representation is fundamental to the human person as created and ordered by God. Therefore, the faithful are given an example that is intrinsically unable to truly represent an important aspect of human nature, created and ordered by God, as well as an important aspect of Christ in His holy human nature: that of a chaste and properly-ordered sexuality. Even a chaste homosexual deacon, priest, or bishop does harm to the faithful by reason of the intrinsic disorder of a homosexual orientation.
When an ordained deacon, priest, or bishop both has a homosexual orientation and ministers in various ways to the faithful, such a ministry harms the people of God. They are harmed by the bad example that is implicit when a person with such a grave moral disorder is given any kind of role of leadership in the Church. Such a bad example gives the mistaken impression to the faithful, in contradiction to Church teaching, that such an orientation is not contrary to God's plan and that acts related to this orientation are not contrary to God's will. Moreover, this bad example diminishes the perception by the faithful of the degree of sinfulness of such acts.
Finally, such persons have an intrinsic tendency to misunderstand, and even to distort or deny, the teachings of Christ on the topic of sexuality, being influence by their intrinsic orientation away from God's true plan for human sexuality. The clarity of the teaching of Christ on this important topic is endangered whenever homosexuals are given any kind of position of authority, leadership, or teaching within the Church, especially within the ordained clergy.
A Common Heresy
It can easily be seen that many persons with a homosexual orientation do not sincerely and fully accept Church teaching that the homosexual orientation is intrinsically disordered and that homosexual acts are always gravely immoral. Anyone who does not accept this teaching of the Church, or who obstinately doubts this teaching, is in a state of heresy. And heretics are automatically excommunicated under Canon Law.
Canon 751: “Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”The phrase 'latae sententiae' literally means 'broad sentence' or 'wide judgment,' in other words, a sentence or judgment that is applied widely. In this context, it refers to a type of excommunication which is automatic. Such a sentence of excommunication is incurred “by the very commission of the offense,” (CCC 2272) and does not require the particular judgment of a case by competent authority.
Obviously, no heretic should be admitted to Ordination, or to the religious life, or to any position of authority, teaching, or leadership in the parish or the diocese. Unfortunately, there are even many heterosexuals who do not believe Church teaching against homosexuality. Such persons are also automatically excommunicated and are unfit for Ordination, for the religious life, and for positions of authority, leadership, and teaching.
Finally, unless homosexuals are prevented from entering the clergy and the religious life, and those already present are removed, the faithful are in grave danger of accepting the numerous false teachings about sexuality that are present throughout modern secular society. The souls of the faithful cry out for true living examples of Christ's holy life and teaching. Those who have a homosexual orientation, or any other strong attachment to any objective mortal sin, are fundamentally and intrinsically unfit to minister to the faithful in full accord with the will and plan of God.
May God have mercy on the priesthood and the religious life, in this generation and forever.
by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
September 27, 2005
On a personal note, I am straight. I do not have a homosexual orientation, nor have I ever had a homosexual orientation. I have never committed any homosexual sins. But I do not bear hatred or undue prejudice against gays and lesbians. I merely recognize that they have gone astray from the path of truth and righteousness. And I would like to see them sincerely repent of their sins.