To the editor:
Bishop Matthew Clark’s column in the Catholic Courier couldn’t have come as a surprise to those who know this good man’s pastoral approach to contentious issues. It’s his style, after all, to weigh them against the highest laws of love of God and neighbor. What provides an insight into Bishop Clark’s courage is the timing of his affirmation of celibate gay seminarians and priests. His article must have created quite a stir among his brother bishops as, behind closed doors, they anticipated a Vatican document that would make heterosexuality the litmus test for admission to seminaries.
Bishop Clark upholds the Vatican’s standards for all seminary candidates. They have to be judged capable of establishing sound pastoral relationships; they must be knowledgeable about theology, have a solid spiritual life and love the church.
What is needed to meet these goals for priestly formation for a life of celibate chastity is, he says, sexual maturity, not sexual orientation.
Sister Camille D’Arienzo
Sisters of Mercy