One of my heroes is Bishop d'Arcy of Fort Wayne/South Bend Indiana [next cardinal please your Holiness??] - a man with long experience of priestly formation - he's of the opinion, with the vatican, that homosexuality is too much of a burden and struggle within the obvious potential opportunities for sexual intimacy within a seminary - and he would normatively be against promoting celibate gay candidates for the priesthood.
But that is not exactly the point that we are discussing here - What we are talking about is not sexual orientation - it's a lack of definitive sexual orientation - and clinical psychologists back this up.
Over a sixth of adolescent males go through a period of exclusive homosexual attraction/activity for around three years of their sexual development - two thirds of these revert to exclusive heterosexuality after this period providing psychological sexual maturation is allowed to occur - in other words the vast majority of teenage gays are not actually gay at all; but are indeed 'going through a narcissistic self-pleasure seeking phase projected onto other same sex individuals - sexually gratifying the 'mirror image of the self' -
this can hardly be denoted as sexually oriented at all -
for some males this 'period' never leaves them and even through a basically heterosexual life they still have latent homosexual predilections - we all have adult friends who are a bit...um...well ? overfriendly ? it's one of the consequences of confused or thwarted sexual maturation...
But for the majority the sexual maturation process ultimately clarifies their orientation - regrettably socio-cultural and nurturing influences hone in on this period and especially in western cultures there are men who should be psychologically heterosexual but are subsumed into the culture and lifestyle at a vulnerable age and adapt to it [western cultures have 2 to 3 times the amount of homosexual male population they technically should according to anthropological/sociological studies of all cultures]
But let's consider the post-pubescent males entering seminary - some, especially the more 'religious' and 'pastorally active' may have significant delays on their sexual maturation in comparison to their more 'secular' contemporaries - some may have their first sexual encounter with a fellow seminarian or female student many years after the average teenager plays 'doctors and nurses' or encounters heavy petting.
A considerable amount of time should be spent with the seminarian in their training and development both psychosexually and emotionally in this process for them to actually determine who they are and how they are going to channel that sexual authenticity through their priestly ministry.
If this doesn't happen there will be consequences - some seminarians go on a sexual free-for-all once they've tasted the forbidden fruit - going out to clubs and sleeping with anything that moves ; some even going through a process in [mainly U.S.]seminary called 'bed-notching' whereby they have competitions to see how many first year seminarians they can have a sexual liaison with 'notching their bed post'!!!
Some may suppress it, and that has consequences.
Psychologically it will not go away ; for some it can lead to an eating away of the self and a personal emotional breakdown ; for others of ulterior disposition and ill-intent it will express itself through other means - invariably through spite and malice and abuses of power which may ultimately lead to abuse in all its varied forms - but it usually starts with psychological abuse before it gets sexual.
But what of the others who don't go on to be abusers , but are still deeply sexually immature ?
Well some are at even greater risks.
Some may develop an intimate friendship with another and be sneaking into each others beds in the small hours; or sneaking out over the seminary wall to a local girlfriend's - this psychologically demeans sexual activity - rather than seeing lovemaking as a beautiful sacrament between a loving married couple whereby they are most Godlike - it becomes a debased deathly-silent , terrifyingly guilt-ridden conspiratorial mutual masturbatory fumbling in the shadows...an image that remains with them for a long period of time...- one they may later on seek to conquer or redress - but how ?
Assuredly some will attempt prayer and loving understanding of the marital relationships and the good example round them of family life .
But others ?
They'll try and get rid of those sexual 'bogeymen' and guilt trips by trying to sexually liberate themselves with someone who ostensibly cares about them....But there are others too who having only experienced orgasmic intimacy and excitement via the dark,unsubtle,raw,unemotional,clinically almost violent and dangerous, sexual liaisons that they can only continue to achieve arousal or gratification through that means - why do some married men/clergy get their kicks out of cottaging/dogging/prostitution when technically the opportunity for them to get it elsewhere is readily available ?
It's the sexual thrill and risk of it all - a very dangerous psychological disposition - and a sign of deep sexual insecurity and immaturity.
Another insurmountable barrier for some is the factor of modern woman !
The post feminist teenage girl who is frankly , generally speaking, a monster !!! insensitive, selfish, foul-mouthed, incapable of any considerations apart from her own gratification - Go into any school in the country today and you will discover that three-quarters of all the problems will have teenage girls at their source.
The Jeremy Kyle/Trisha/Take a break magazine generation of 'young ladies' are neither adorable or romantically inspiring ; whereas the 'new-man',the responsible caring males, metrosexually dressed, sharing in all the fellow males' interests and pursuits is exceedingly more enticing and rewarding.
Our parenting and media are producing an era when young men are turning gay out of choice and frankly for some who could blame them when faced with the alternative ???
Sometimes the Daniel is prettier, more caring and loving and more of a capable companion than the Danielle; and that's a direct product of society !!!
Feminists seem to be oblivious to the notion that their feminisms are wreaking a new form of misogyny which isn't at a level of thinking men are superior to women; it's being thrust into young men's faces that a lot of women are not the people you'd really want to spend time with.
I've probably outraged a lot of feminists with that comment , and they'll make the same age-old reaction that catholic attitudes towards women are anachronistically defunct - we like to see every women as pure and virginal and motherly as Our Lady - and we are all sexually fixated on that purity and oedipal urges - it's baloney - men do not like horrible women, full stop - and society is wreaking havoc among the mentalities of our female youth - all products of the liberation of women [i.e. they've dumped their husbands for a younger useless model and have to spend all the hours God sends socialising to keep him and her mates 'happy' and working all the rest of the time to pay for it; while she bleeds her lonely abandoned ex-husband dry and the kids are left neglected to go to pot!!!] .
[I'm sounding so Anne Atkins it's scaring me]
My main point is that seminaries are not going to get anywhere when they are filled with students, and run by people, who are allowed to remain in situations of arrested sexual maturation and left in a psychological limbo rather than confronting their sexual orientation and their preparation for celibacy head-on.
I don't think the problem is a directly homosexual one at all ; it's a problem which is now on the wane, but was highly prevalent especially in the US in the 80's - it's having infantile predatory homosexuals being allowed to hold their sway and blackmail/tyrannise/psychologically abuse fellow seminarians within seminaries; while seminary officials turn a blind eye - or even participated in any available 'fun'!
But meanwhile there are many young sexually insecure, immature and vulnerable seminarians who are frightened of their own shadow... receiving little if no support from anyone apart from fellow seminarians just as scared as they are - and psychological intimacy can lead to physically intimate outreachings/misunderstandings and lead to physical mistakes that corrupt and ruin the originally innocent relationship...I honestly ask you - would you want your son placed in an institution where the few predatory 'deviants' [and I do call them deviants - they aren't homosexual any more than we are - they are predatory sexual abusers with not an ounce of love or respect in their souls] can be permitted to hold their sway ?
Would you want your son placed in an institution that didn't give two hoots what happened to the people in their responsibility providing the bills were paid and the exams passed and the liturgies sung and the sports cups won ?
thought not, neither would I !!
A major problem is age - I wouldn't allow ordination till at least 28 - but then again I'd have priestly training being a significantly longer more involved process.
I'd have integrated intense clinical psychological assessments, psychosexual counsellings and therapies given by trained catholic spiritual directors.
Together with that I'd actually force seminary staff to run their seminaries - trust me they aint like Hogwarts - some are like colditz but with a 1970's hippy minimalist vatican-II-ista mentality - some are like repressed holiday camps where anyone can do what they like providing nobody knows....No, seminaries need to be run...not even that well, just well enough to ensure that the poor seminarian isn't either left abandoned or given enough rope to hang themselves, or left vulnerable to the malevolent machinations of people of ill-will and eight hands.
If that really happened - it wouldn't matter if the seminarian went in there either sexually ambiguous,gay,straight,bisexual, or into goats or items of agricultural machinery - they would have a decent opportunity for sexual maturation and an option to address the challenges and sacrifices and understand the graces and benefits of a celibate life.
I don't see celibate homosexuality as being a preclusion from vocations.; but it does have significant difficulties which must be assessed and determined before any decisions regarding ordination occur - being in extraordinary circumstances - a celibate homosexual candidate would be expected to act extraordinarily and prove their loyalty to chastity and celibacy to an extraordinary standard.
Some of the best , most holy catholics I know are celibate chaste homosexuals [and, significantly, they are some of the most sexually and psychologically mature people I know ][some are even priests].
But for the sexually immature to be ordained is reprehensibly irresponsible;and the training staff in the seminary; and the bishop and vocations director responsible for the candidate - should be dragged over the coals for it !!!
Not one of these priest-abusers should have been able to get through the process towards ordination ; human error should statistically dictate that a few would fly in under the radar and be missed - but for dozens upon dozens to systemically continue to abuse hundreds for decades ?
That's a clerical crime crying out to Heaven for justice.and the blame lies at the doors of our seminaries and bishop's palaces.