Thursday, September 15, 2005

Priesthood as vocation

Before entering into any state of life, a divine vocation is necessary. This because without such a vocation, it is difficult if not impossible to fulfil the obligations which pertain to that state and to obtain salvation. This is particularly true for the ministerial priesthood or any other ecclesiastical state. After all, it was Our Lord Who said: "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber" (John 10:1).

Consequently, the man who takes holy orders without a call from God is convicted of theft in taking by force a dignity which God has not called him to and does not desire to bestow upon him. This is the teaching of Saint Paul:

"Neither doth any man take the honor to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was. So Christ also did not glorify Himself that He might be made a high priest; but he that said unto Him: Thou art My Son; this day I have begotten Thee." (Hebrews 5:4,5).

It matters not then how learned or prudent or holy a man may be. No man may place himself into the holy sanctuary unless he is first called and introduced to the same by Almighty God. Jesus Our Lord was certainly the most learned and holy among all men, full of grace and truth (John 1:14), the Son of Man in Whom were (and are) hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). And yet, Jesus required a divine call to assume the dignity of the priesthood.

This is the teaching of the Council of Trent. That the Church regards the man who assumes the priesthood without a vocation not as a minister but as a robber:

"Decernit sancta Synodus eos qui ea (ministeria) propria temeritate sibi sumunt, omnes, non Ecclesiae ministros, sed fures et latrones per ostium non ingressos habendos esse" (Session 23, cap. 4).

Those who seize the priesthood without a vocation may labor and toil exhaustively. But their labors will profit them very little before God. In fact, the very works which would be considered of much merit when performed by others will deserve chastisement for such souls. Because such men are not in conformity with the divine will, not having a vocation to the state of life which they have usurped, the Lord Jesus will not accept their toils:

"I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will not receive a gift of your hand" (Malachi 1:10).

Not only will God refuse the gifts of their hand, He will punish the works of the minister who has entered the sanctuary without being called; without a vocation:

"What stranger soever cometh to it (the Tabernacle) shall be slain." (Numbers 1:51).

Bearing all of this in mind, please read the following which first appeared in The Wanderer and may be found at the website:

On October 1, 1986, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published an instruction entitled, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Pastoral Service for Homosexual Persons, signed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and approved by Pope John Paul II.

In this Instruction, Cardinal Ratzinger writes, "It is necessary to point out that the particular inclination of a homosexual person, though not a sin in itself, nevertheless constitutes a more or less strong tendency to an intrinsically evil behavior from the moral standpoint. For this reason, the very inclination should be considered as objectively disordered." (No. 3).

This would appear to be especially significant since Canon 1040 of the Code of Canon Law states that: "Persons who are affected by a perpetual impediment, which is called an irregularity, or a simple impediment, are prevented from receiving orders." Now, irregularities arise either from defect (ex defectu) or from crime (ex delicto). It seems clear to me that a homosexual inclination, which Cardinal Ratzinger has referred to as "objectively disordered," constitutes an irregularity ex defectu.

In fact, when asked by a Bishop if it is licit to confer priestly ordination to men with manifest homosexual tendencies, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments replied with a letter signed by Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez which stated that, "Ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky. A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency is not, therefore, fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders."

Until next time,
God love you
Paul Anthony Melanson

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