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That Dare Not Speak its Name

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Jul 26, 2003

Thanks to Bill Cork for the head's up on last night's Nightline segment about Jefferson City (Indiana) priest Fr. Raymond E. Shafer:

Meet a priest from a small town in Indiana who decided that it was time to talk openly with his parishoners about the fact that he was gay. For Father Schafer, it's a question of identity, not celibacy, he says.

No doubt he took a Vow of Identity. Schafer came out to his flock in a homily he gave in August 2001.

But many parishioners at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Jeffersonville, Ind., say they are upset and confused, not by what Schafer said but where he said it -- at Mass, with children present -- and by what he didn't say. ... But Schafer stands by his sermon, and said in an interview last week that he would not discuss his views on sexual activity. "I'm talking about orientation, not activity, whether it's me or anybody else," he said. "People are not interested in dealing with orientation. They want to deal with people's activities so they can judge ... I don't want to talk about it because it's blurring the issue."

Not to worry. The issue was speedily unblurred by the Archbishop of Indianapolis (this is still August 2001):

In a letter Monday to parishioners of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, Buechlein confirmed that the Rev. Raymond Schafer had told him of his sexual orientation some time ago. Buechlein ... said he "had asked Father not to make an issue of his orientation." The archbishop also said he agreed with parishioners "who are questioning the wisdom and prudence of Father Raymond's making such an announcement at weekend Masses, especially when so many children were present."

Pretty strong language. Fr. Ray was so intimidated that it took him almost two years to work his way onto Nightline so he could refuse to say whether or not he was celibate. Thanks, Excellency.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jul. 27, 2003 11:00 PM ET USA

    It's amazing that all of us, except for the priest, can manage to keep our sins quiet until we get to the confessional.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jul. 26, 2003 9:26 PM ET USA

    It makes noi sense, Diogenes. What is this man (the priest) actually saying?He is admitting that he has strong homosexual desires before the entire congregation. In reality it is a demand, not a confession. He is saying "This is who I am (that is a man with homosexual tendencies)." It is like saying "I have murderous thoughts," or "I have a terrible desire to steal." It is completely inappropriate. Whatever the cause or degree of volition, this priest is demanding legitimacy for his perversion.

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