måndag 20 oktober 2008

Katolska präster, celibatet och kyrkoreform

Fr. Rich Hasselbach, en vän i USA, som lämnat prästämbetet men sedan återupptagit det i viss mån (numera som gift), berättar i en artikel om vad som fick honom att ta det steget. Det följande är några utdrag.

Välkomna att kommentera - gärna på engelska, så kan ni få svar från honom själv (om han hinner). Har bett honom titta in här.


"I recall my own experience as a young man studying theology. When I got to the major seminary, I wanted to grow spiritually and challenge myself. I turned to a gifted young priest on the faculty for spiritual direction. He was a dynamic preacher and brilliant theologian—what better guide into the depths of my soul? Full of hope, I went to my director's room for our first session. He welcomed me, closed the door and locked it, then gave me what seemed an inordinately long hug. He poured me a drink, we spoke about banalities for about twenty minutes, and when it was time to leave, I got another hug. It lasted twenty minutes. I timed it. Well, I thought, he's affectionate; I should be more open. Still…


While estimates vary about the percentage of gay priests, I would venture to guess that among the clergy under the age of sixty it is well in excess of 50 percent. The church condemns the homosexual lifestyle; at the same time it turns a blind eye on rampant clerical homosexuality as long as the relationships don't become embarrassing. Gay priests find it much easier to develop intimate relationships—often with other gay priests. They ease their loneliness, travel with their "friends," and resolve their sexual issues in a way that seems to work for their own conscience and for the people they serve. Many gay priests are good ministers precisely because they find it easier to live a humanely intimate personal life. No eyebrows are raised when Father goes off on a vacation with another man, at least not in the days before the recent scandals. The ministerial success of many talented gay priests suggests the importance of integrating sexuality into the lives of priests, and of finding ways to reconcile the deepest human needs of priests with the pastoral needs of the church. But the church cannot afford to have an exclusively or even predominantly homosexualized clergy—it is too narrow, divisive, and inbred.

I loved being a priest, but I couldn't live with the loneliness and remain spiritually and humanly alive. In the long run, the lack of intimacy would have embittered and destroyed me. Once I came to this realization, it still took me years to find the courage to leave. In the way stood the church, which stigmatizes resigned priests, and an Irish Catholic mother who was crushed by the thought that her son would be a "defector." The church lost an effective minister and I lost the dream I had been pursuing for the best years of my life. While following that dream, I passed up the opportunity to develop a loving relationship with a special woman while still a young man, and missed the chance to have my own children and watch them grow up. What I received in return was a deep understanding and love of the gospel that the church serves, and for this I remain profoundly grateful.

American Catholics deserve real reform. Ending the clubby, secretive, clerical culture would be a good first step. The church should begin to let the laity lead—and listen to the grassroots wisdom of the faithful in the most diverse organization in the world. A less clerical church would be an institution that speaks openly about its problems, embraces the many valid paths to genuine spiritual life, and expects priests and bishops to be spiritual leaders who are accountable to the faithful they serve."

Och det gäller inte bara amerikanska katoliker.... Läs hela artikeln här.

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