The Reverse Visitation
Responding to reports that the Vatican may be close to releasing a directive to exclude most gay candidates from entering the priesthood, leaders of Roman Catholic men's religious orders in the United States are planning to travel to Rome to voice their objections in person.Oh, this is not gonna be pretty at all.
The trip is one of the steps by leaders of Catholic religious orders to try to reassure priests and seminarians who have been rattled by news of a possible Vatican ban on the ordination of gay men.
Word of the trip, which has not been scheduled, was in an internal letter sent on Monday to leaders of religious orders from the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the key American coordinating body for more than 250 leaders of Catholic religious orders, like the Franciscans, the Dominicans and the Jesuits. The letter was provided to The New York Times by a member of a religious order who said he was pleased by the superiors' actions.
In addition, at least two leaders of Jesuit provinces have written to their priests and seminarians reassuring them that their sexual orientation is not an issue as long as they remain celibate and chaste.
"We're not going to push anybody overboard," said the Rev. John Whitney, head of the Oregon province of Jesuits, which includes 254 men in five Northwestern states.
The NFPC's top guys met in Chicago this week with similar concerns. Response to come....