There's a difference between a heterosexual candidate, what his choice of celibacy is, and that of a homosexual celibate. When a heterosexual celibate chooses to become a celibate in the priesthood, he's taking on a good - that is, his own desire to become a priest - and he's giving up a very good thing, and that is a family and children that could follow. That would not be true of a homosexually oriented candidate. He may be choosing the good, but... he's giving up what the church considers an aberration, a moral evil.
Rod Dreher sees this as a sign that Cardinal Bevilacaqua "gets it." I tend to disagree.
First of all, I was taught (and I've been teaching) that there are three vocations -- the clerical religious life, marriage, and the dedicated single life. All are equal in grace, and no one is preferred over the other.
Bevilacqua's comments run against that -- he's saying the the married family life is where all the "good" stuff is, so a heterosexual's vocation is more authentic, since it entails giving up this "good" stuff.
But that's not the only alternative -- there;s also the dedicated single life, which is also open to gays (and, apparently some would have that be the only vocation open to gays). Isn't it possible that a deveout gay Catholic would be giving up this dedicated single life for a life in the priesthood? And don't we believe that this dedicated single life is "a good thing?"
What I think is most telling about these comments is the absolute lack of compassion for gay Catholics. In fact, the Bevilacqua seems to be saying to them that they are doomed to pursue "an aberration, a moral evil."
The Church really needs to honestly and compassionately deal with the reality of gays in the Church. They're not going away, and we've begun to accept them. But we continue to send these signals that we're not so happy they're here.
I'm sot sure what this will look like -- I'm still unsure about gay "marriage", but I'm pretty darn sure it doesn't look like referring to the life of a gar Catholic as "and abberration, a moral evil."
Last, week I took issue with a Slate headline that said that the Church was trying to excuse its own behavior by blaming gays. Tony Andragna (who has some great thoughts on these issues at QuasiPundit) disagreed with me, and said that some clerics are indeed blaming gays. I'm beginning to think we was right.