Catholics Interview Potential Seminarians

love the shoes, Mr. Pope

Today Huffington Post had a link to an interesting New York Times article about recent efforts by the Catholic Church to, apparently, catch gay men who were trying to become priests.  The Huff Post title “Catholic Church Tries to Perfect Its Gay-Dar,” was much more amusing than the Times headline, “Prospective Catholic Priests Face Sexuality Hurdles.”  Nonetheless, because I sometimes have the imagination of a 12-year-old boy, I instantly pictured a bunch of priests in those pretty long dresses they wear running around a track where they had to jump over obstacles like stacks of kiddie porn, prostitutes, and men having sex.  If only Monty Python were still together… they could do wonders with this, I’m sure.

But the juicy bits of the Times article weren’t nearly as amusing.  The article provides an overview of the steps being taken by seminaries, bishops, and psychologists employed by the church to make sure nobody gets to be a priest if they’re gay…or if they have those dreaded “homosexual tendencies,” or even if they “support the so-called gay culture.”  (Hmm…gay culture.  Does that include paintings by Michelangelo?  Guess not.)

Anyway, the Times article details a number of the types of questions asked of potential seminarians.  Here are a few examples.  (I swear I’m not making this up.)

  • When was the last time you had sex?
  • What kind of sexual experiences have you had?
  • Do you like pornography?
  • Do you like children?
  • Do you like children more than you like people of your own age?
  • Do you take cold showers?
  • Do you take long runs?

To this list I’d propose adding a few from the movie Airplane!

  • Have you ever been in a cockpit before?
  • Have you ever seen a grown man naked?
  • Do you like gladiator films?

The best quote from the Times article, though, has to be this one:
“The best way I can put it, it’s not black and white,” said the adviser, the Rev. David Toups, the director of the secretariat of clergy, consecrated life and vocations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It’s more like one of those things where it’s hard to define, but ‘I know it when I see it.’ ”

Yeah, how’s that workin’ out for ya?  So Elton John and Adam Lambert probably wouldn’t get to be priests, but Rock Hudson and Richard Chamberlain would.

Richard Chamberlain played a priest in The Thornbirds. He also played a heterosexual in real life.

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