By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 26, 2005
Commonweal has an article written by a gay Catholic priest "pre-acting" to the upcoming Vatican document on the admission of homosexuals to the seminary.
Gay priests like myself are caught in a double bind. If we speak the truth and discuss freely our existence in the church, and, more important, our experience of leading fulfilling lives as celibate men, we will be censured or removed from ministry. If we remain silent, though, we guarantee that the positive example of the celibate gay priest will remain hidden. Voiceless, the gay priest cannot defend himself within the church.
Sorry, pal, but gay clerics reap huge advantages from this system. Look at it from the other side of the fence.
Take the case of Bishop X, who holds a very high-profile position in the U.S. hierarchy. His demeanor, dress, moods, speech inflection, resentments, affections, politics, and conduct of office announce to all of us that he's gay. You know it. I know it. But we can't say it in public. This means that we cannot have an honest discussion about the problem of special pleading -- i.e., whether Bishop X's twisted sexual libido leads him to make decisions to the detriment of the Church that gratify some occult need. It looks to us as if X's shocking and baffling conduct is self-serving tactical subterfuge, but until he joins Weakland and Symons and Ziemann (et al.) by attracting the attention of the district attorney, we have to pretend that there's a more complex and innocent explanation for his vagaries.
Face it, gay clergy have a massive history of dishonesty. Remember Cawcutt's claim that he was defending celibacy? Remember Weakland's imposture in the Paul Wilkes New Yorker profile, where he announced he was especially attracted sexually "to intelligent women"? Gay priests typically surround themselves with defensive lies like concentric fortifications around a castle. Suppose you have doubts about your associate pastor, Father Y. First his defenders claim that Y's effeminacy is no clue to his homosexuality; when that's exposed as false, that Y's homosexuality is no clue to his sexual activity; when that's exploded, that Y's sexual activity is rare and episodic; when that collapses, that Y is finding himself, or adolescing, or at any rate passing through some maturation process ("chastity is the condition of being affectively present to all"). By the time it's demonstrable that Y is regularly doing the bar scene without any hesitation or remorse, we're reminded that he has so many years of valuable ministry and service to God's people behind him, that it would petty and unjust to rebuke him for one particular area of his complex and fruitful life, etc. Most Catholics, faced with this set of obstacles in making their concerns heard, just give up. "Let it take its course. And then let the cops handle it."
Now if Bishop X and Father Y and their chums were working hard to fortify the Church teachings most at risk in the current culture, we might shrug off their duplicity as moral cowardice. In almost every case, however, their sympathies are with the opponents of Catholic doctrine -- especially sexual doctrine -- and they cautiously seek to undermine it. The name for this is treachery.
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