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gaudeamus igitur

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 23, 2003

Cardinal Arinze's graduation address at Georgetown reminded the audience that the Church invites sinners to "abandon the food of pigs, make a U-turn and return to the refreshing joy of their Father's house, like the prodigal son." His remarks gave rise to expressions of bafflement and indignation: most predictable, some less so.

Ed Ingebretsen, a professor of English at Georgetown and a priest in the American Catholic Church, said Wednesday that Arinze's remarks are in line with Roman Catholic doctrine, but nonetheless seemed out of place at the commencement ceremony. "These things are exactly what he's paid to say," Ingebretsen said. "(But) it's a graduation; why he decided to do the pro-family thing no one seems to know."

The aforementioned Ed Ingebretsen was an openly gay Jesuit priest who left the order two years ago, having prudently delayed his departure until he was tenured at Georgetown. The "American Catholic Church," to which he now professes allegiance, celebrates diversity, if his website be trusted. In the final weeks of his Jesuit existence Ingebretsen recounted his spiritual journey to a sympathetic reporter at the Georgetown Voice:

At the age of 22 and after his third application, the Jesuits finally admitted Ingebretsen. The seminary was not a good place to learn about sexuality, since most discussions of sexuality were shrouded in secrecy or shame. He had his first sexual experience at the age of 23 while in the seminary. He took five years to work up the courage to enter a gay bar in New York at age 28, but he ended up running away when a man offered to buy him a drink. He confessed all of his secret desires to his superior while still in the seminary. The priest, a man Ingebretsen speaks of with reverence, told him to trust his feelings. But it wouldn't be until Ratzinger's letter in 1986 that he could even begin to do that.

Remind me to ask Father Fessio how often his superiors instructed him to trust his feelings.

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