the anti-bigot

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 20, 2008

The top aide to New York's new governor, Charles O'Byrne, is a former Jesuit priest, the New York Times helpfully reminds us.

O'Byrne left the Jesuit order and the priesthood because he doesn't approve of the Church's stand on-- now brace yourself for a shock-- sexuality. He explored his own learned approach toward that subject in a theological treatise published in Playboy magazine.

Actually, before he became a Jesuit, O'Byrne had entered New York's archdiocesan seminary. But he was expelled, the Times reveals-- for reasons the archdiocese does not choose to discuss. (Those reasons, evidently, did not frighten off the Jesuits.) O'Byrne is prepared to offer his own version of the events:

He said in the Playboy article that the expulsion occurred after he complained about an atmosphere in the seminary that he thought “coddled” bigots.

What sort of bigots did he encounter, do you suppose? Jim-Crow enthusiasts? White supremacists? Or maybe O'Byrne, who is of Irish stock, found that the New York archdiocese does not welcome seminarians for that ethnic group? Hmm. I don't think that hypothesis will hold up. What could it be?

Mr. O’Byrne is openly gay himself.

Wow, did you see that one coming?

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 21, 2008 1:45 PM ET USA

    O'Byrne is hardly an unusual occurrence to the Jesuits. In some places his ilk is nearly a majority, I am told by straight Jesuits. Being a spiritual advisor to the Kennedys is no distinction based on their stand on more than a few issues. Having a clergy of a high moral character requires a person of "normal" mores.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 20, 2008 11:41 PM ET USA

    You did not mention that he is now an Episcopalian. You also did not mention that he has been a long time priest and advisor to the Kennedy family.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 20, 2008 5:50 PM ET USA

    Yes too..but it was interesting. You mean to say there was a time when the Seminary for the Archdiocese of NY would boot someone for a homosexual orientation? Haven't seen any pictures of the ex Jesuit O'Byrne but he must be a real senior citizen for the "booting" to have happened. It must have been a long, long time ago since American semanaries have not been known for that type of self-policing for decades..

  • Posted by: - Mar. 20, 2008 3:24 PM ET USA