Georgetown Lecturer Scolded Pope Benedict in Open Letter

Former World Bank official Robert Calderisi is an openly gay Catholic who, in an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI, endorsed the ordination of women, promoted gay “marriage,” and objected to the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. In that letter, he even called the Church’s refusal to ordain women “un-Christian.” Yet Georgetown University, a Jesuit university, is hosting him next week to speak on the topic of The Catholic Church and World Development Since 1945.

Calderisi will address the impact of the Catholic Church on economic and social progress in Africa, Asia and Latin America at Georgetown on Tuesday December 4th. His appearance is sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, the Georgetown Jesuit Community, and the SFS Program on Global Human Development.

Calderisi has written a book on African aid, but on his website he published a non-dated “Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI from a Gay Catholic” which details at length his opposition to the Church on many important issues:

On Pope John Paul II:

Like many Europeans and North Americans, I was disappointed by his strong views… on contraception, divorce, priestly celibacy, the role of women in the church, and homosexuality.

On being a cafeteria Catholic, he wrote:

Another friend — formerly a Catholic, now an agnostic — asked: “How can you continue to be part of an organization when you respect only some of its rules? Even country clubs expect all their members to meet the same standards.” I replied that, for me, the most important rules were the ones that Christ set, and He said absolutely nothing about the major social issues of our time, except divorce.

On homosexuality, he wrote:

I do not regard homosexuality as an appropriate subject for Church teaching, let alone approval or disapproval, any more than I would expect the Vatican to comment on the rising and falling of the tides.

On gay “marriage,” Calderisi wrote:

Gay marriage is nothing more than two people wanting to commit to living together publicly…There is nothing disrespectful or subversive of traditional marriage in this — except in the minds of those with a taste for conspiracy or hidden agendas.

On the issue of abortion, Calderisi comes down firmly in the personally pro-life category while remaining pro-abortion rights:

As for abortion, I believe that people should be free to make their own decisions in this intimate area.

Calderisi wrote his prescription for the Church:

My focus will be on four topics that seem to me crucial for the whole Church:  promoting Christian unity, admitting married men to the priesthood, removing all remaining discrimination against women (including admitting them to holy orders), and abolishing the stigma which currently hangs over divorced men and women.

Concerning the Church’s refusal to ordain women, Calderisi compares the Church to golf clubs that refused to serve Jews or blacks and called the Church “un-Christian.”

Perhaps an old-fashioned clubbishness — the same archaic instincts that kept golf courses and other private establishments closed to Jews, blacks and women for the longest time — has played a part…

The exclusion of women from holy orders is so irrational and arbitrary that it is difficult to know where to start in refuting traditional arguments…

Not only is the prohibition difficult to defend; it seems thoroughly un-Christian.

Calderisi’s new book entitled Healing the Nations: The Catholic Church and World Development will be published by Yale University Press in September 2013.

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  1. By SATURDAY MID-DAY EXTRA | Big Pulpit on December 1, 2012 at 7:00 am

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