In recently published commentary on Archbishop Chaput's newly released guidelines to deal with "irregularities" in dispensation of the sacraments in his archdiocese, the blogger writing at Questions from a Ewe notes with her usual panache and verve that it's exceedingly odd that Chaput is concerned with "irregularity" of a sexual sort — well, with some folks' "irregularity — when it's well known that 50% of U.S. Catholic priests and an even higher percentage than this in other parts of the world are sexually active. All those priests are, in other words, leading the kind of "irregular" lives for which Archbishop Chaput wants to bar only openly LGBTQ Catholics and divorced and remarried Catholics not living together as brother and sister from the sacraments.
Did I say exceedingly odd? Questions from a Ewe says it even better:
I guess Chaput is ok with sexually active priests receiving and consecrating the host because it's not "irregular." It's become so regular that it is the majority of priests who have secret, dishonest, unhealthy sexual relationships.
Not only do sexually active priests consecrate and dispense communion, they lead parish councils, instruct the faithful, read the gospel, and preach all while leading an inherently dishonest life. Archbishop Chaput, pardon me, but THAT is what I find a counter-witness and morally confusing. I'll go so far as to say the deception and hypocrisy are morally repugnant.
Many laity are hypnotized by glittering chasubles and shiny chalices into believing priests actually abstain from sex. It is my understanding that all priests regardless of sexual activity tend to know which ones are sexually active with women, with other men, or with minors. The unwritten code of conduct is to turn one’s head to not see other priests' sexual activity lest that priest make your sexual activity known. And thus, they band together to form a sick group illusion to the faithful of abstaining from sex though actually having sex, all while instructing the faithful about how "sinful" their relationships are, and marginalizing them based upon those relationships which are usually 1000 times healthier than any relationship most priests have ever known.
It is time for the faithful to say, "No more!" (“Non amplius!” for Latin fans.) No more lies about priests' sexuality. No more hypocrisy about sexual morality from men with the unhealthiest of unhealthy sexual relationships. No more cult-like, zombie-esque laity accepting the celibacy myth either.
Here's what I suggest. Walk up to your local priest and ask about his sex life. Priests instruct about ours all the time. They also serve in public roles that carry explicit restrictions around their sex lives. So it's entirely appropriate that we start openly discussing their sex lives. Clergy's sex lives deserve at least as much and probably far more scrutiny than that of remarried divorced or homosexual algebra teachers, who rarely weave moral theology into discussing things like the quadratic equation.
Why not walk up to the priest before Mass and ask, "When was the last time you had sex? Was it with a man or a woman? Have you gone to confession since having sex or are you planning to celebrate Mass in a state of mortal sin? How many times have you had sex, confessed and then had sex again? True reconciliation requires a firm commitment to amend your behavior. I just want to make sure youre not doing anything that is morally confusing before I receive communion you consecrated." Try using a questionnaire if verbally asking these intimidates you.
Most likely even if the priest just zipped his pants 30 seconds before your discussion, he will deny being sexually active. Don't waiver because in addition to having the moral fiber to engage in secretive sex, priests also are capable of lying. It is actually a requirement for their secret sex lives. For example, the priest about whom I spoke, previously elaborately, explicitly and emphatically spoke about his total abstention from sex…which turned out to be an elaborate, explicit and emphatic total lie.
If he blusters, calmly remind him that his clerical brotherhood fixates on sexual morality so you feel obligated inquiring about his sex life. Good leaders lead by example so you just want to understand the example he sets.
And she's absolutely right to say this. The deep sickness at the heart of how the Catholic system today approaches matters of sexual morality begins and ends with the refusal to bear not only too much reality, but any reality at all. Both the pastoral leaders of the church and lay Catholics who continue to collude with them are so tragically and unrelentingly wedded to an approach of pretend-and-deny in this area of human existence, that the only way the church can ever work itself out of the deep, dark place to which it has dug itself with its official teaching about sexual morality is to start telling the truth.
Which requires lay Catholics to begin telling the truth and demanding that their pastors do so — and that's the very point I hear Questions from a Ewe making here.
(Thanks to Rolando for pointing me to this posting.)
The spotlight photo is from the Cliparts site.