Catholic Denomination Says Gay Priests Are OK

February 20, 2009 12:55 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff

An alternative Catholic denomination is ordaining openly gay priests, but will such rogue religious groups ever be recognized by the papacy?

Catholics With More Lenient Policies

In a recent service that looked nearly identical to a traditional Roman Catholic mass, four priests were ordained at Yale’s Dwight Chapel in New Haven, Conn. But three of the new priests are openly gay men, something the Catholic Church has refused to allow.

The men were allowed into the priesthood because they were ordained by the North American Old Catholic Church (NAOCC), which refers to itself as a denomination in the worldwide, universal church of Jesus Christ on its Web site.

“We walked away from the papacy in 1870,” Michael Seneco, the Archbishop of the NAOCC, said to the New Haven Advocate. Seneco, who is openly gay, said he and his colleagues belive the stances that the Roman Catholic Church has taken on homosexuality and women as priests don’t gibe with Jesus’ teachings. “Jesus was a radical and the church has forgotten that,” Seneco said.

In addition to Connecticut, the NAOCC has parishes and ministries in several other states and in Washington, D.C.

The Roman Catholic Church, however, does not approve of their actions. And gay priests are not the only issue: the Church issued a decree of excommunication last year against those who ordain women as priests.

But the NAOCC stated that theirs is only one of many non-Roman Catholic churches in the world that “not only welcomes, but strongly embraces and encourages women to answer the call given to them by God.”
The NAOCC’s disagreement with the Catholic Church over the ordination of gay priests brings to mind the scuffle within the Episcopalian church regarding a similar issue.

In August, divisions within the church were felt sharply at its decennial policy forum, the Lambeth Conference. Following the Episcopal Church’s ordination of openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire, 230 traditionalist bishops boycotted Lambeth, instead attending the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon), held in Jerusalem in June; this despite the fact that Robinson had not been invited to Lambeth.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Willaims, ended the conference, by saying the church needs “space for study” about gay clergy. The 1998 conference ruled that gays should be embraced as members of the church, yet it “cannot advise” ordination of homosexuals or bless gay marriages.

Related Topic: “Vatican Puts Its Foot Down on Female Priests”

Regarding the issue of ordaining female priests, the Roman Catholic Church has made its views extremely clear. Top ranking Vatican official Monsignor Angelo Amato said the church made its decree—to excommunicate anyone who attempts to ordain a female priest—after what it described as “so-called ordinations” held in various parts of the world.

The church has always banned the ordination of females by stating that the priesthood is for men only, but the new decree was different in that explicitly addressed the issue and attaches consequences. “The church does not feel authorized to change the will of its founder Jesus Christ,” Amato said.

Regina Nicolosi, a program coordinator for the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests, a group that, like the NAOCC, ordains women as priests while maintaining dedication to the Catholic faith, said the move could backfire because “we’re getting more support from Catholics who are saying this is getting ridiculous.”

Reference: Catholicism


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