Honoring a 9/11 "saint" who was gay?

A Catholic parish in Syracuse, New York plans to do just that in tribute to the man listed as the first official fatality of the 9/11 attacks, Fr. Mychal Judge.

From  Religion News Service:

Like most Americans, Brother Edmund Dwyer was stunned by early coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. As he struggled to grasp the scope of the carnage, scrolling type along the bottom of his television screen announced the death of Rev. Mychal Judge, a legendary New York City fire department chaplain.

For Dwyer, a vast tragedy became painfully real.

“He was a saint,” said Dwyer, 90, a retired Brother of the Christian Schools who resides at Christian Brothers Academy in DeWitt, N.Y. He worked closely with Judge during the 1980s, when both men comforted dying AIDS patients in New York City.

Judge was killed by flying debris at the World Trade Center.

“He always wore his Franciscan robes, and he had a smiling face and a beautiful manner,” Dwyer said, recalling how Judge spent hours with young men who felt abandoned.

As a tribute to his friend, Dwyer is serving on a committee at All Saints Church in Syracuse, which intends to honor Judge with a memorial.

The Rev. Fred Daley, pastor at All Saints, intends to ask local firefighters to attend the dedication. While the memorial will honor those killed on Sept. 11, Daley said the way Judge lived his life carries special meaning for the All Saints congregation.

Judge — like Daley — was a Catholic priest who publicly acknowledged that he was a celibate gay man. In June, after months of discussion, parishioners at All Saints voted 256-3 to offer a statement of welcome to gays, lesbians and transgender men and women. Daley said the vote meshes with his beliefs on what it means to be a Christian.

“More and more, I’ve been called in my spiritual life and in my heart to identify with the powerless and with the broken, and I think some of that comes from my own journey as a gay person,” Daley said.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are inherently wrong. While a new state law has legalized same-sex marriage in New York, the church does not recognize those ceremonies. Yet officials with the Diocese of Syracuse say embracing gay men and women at a parish does not contradict church teaching.

“Our hope is that all parishes are so welcoming, and it’s certainly in line with who we are as Catholics,” said Danielle Cummings, a diocesan spokeswoman.

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  1. diakonos09 says:

    According to Catholic teaching, to be gay is not a sin. To have homosexual psycho-sexual-emotional desires is not a sin. So if this priest was a celibate gay man, what’s the problem with his potential declaration of sanctity? He died a martyr of charity (a “new” category pioneered by Blessed JPII with Max Kolbe) and martyrs go straight to Heaven – “do not pass GO, do not collect $200.” :)

    I know this post is more on the parish welcoming than on the sanctity of Fr. Judge, but still…I find it curious that our Church finds no problem in declaring and promoting the official sancity of ex-sinners way worse than “gay”. There are official Blesseds and Saints from the EX categories of satanic priests, sorcerers and witches, murderers, drug dealer and addicts, alcoholics, professional prostitutes…the list goes on (see the book, “Saints Behaving Badly”). Will we as a Church have the faith, courage and commitment to truth to officially declare a celibate gay person as Blessed or Saint?

  2. peregrinus says:

    I don’t think there would be any controversy about this. He was doing as the Church requires.

    Just out of curiosity, who was the satanic priest on that list?

  3. 100000926275186 says:

    a good post…thank you!

  4. Pagan Sister:

    Bartolo Longo from Italy.


  5. Diakonos: what a great comment! You are completely right, not to mention that everyone seating on the pews is a sinner (I know am an expert on that).

    Pagan Sister:

    You can find info on Saint Bartolo Longo here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bartolo-Longo/129287483778965

  6. diakonos09 says:

    The ex-satanic priest was Blessed Bartolo Longo, a 19-20th century Italian lawyer, philanthropist and most famous as “Apostle of the Rosary”. Check out http://www.catholic.org/saints/story.php?id=42086

  7. pagansister says:

    Thanks for the info, rudy, about Bartolo-Longo. I will investigate. (thanks also diakono09).

    A well deserved honor, for Judge. Glad the church in Syracuse is doing it.

  8. Wow…what a touching story of a wonderful, unselfish person. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  9. If one is celebate with same sex attraction weakness, they are doing as the Catholic Church teaches. Nothing wrong with honoring them as long as it is clearly understood it is because they were celebate and not going something intrinsictly evil as part of their identity.

    Gay special rights folks can never seem to get this straight. I would suspect that there are many weaknesses that should keep one celebate. I would say a person with strong attraction toward incest should stay celebate as well as those with attractions toward beastiality or marrying more than a single spouse. Having the moral courage and perserverance not to sin is a good thing and should be honored as most of us fall into sin and need to find repentence with a strong desire to sin no more. The Church should never send a message that a grave sin is now OK or accepted no matter how much political correctness and pressure is applied.

  10. pagansister says:

    rudy, did look up and read about Bartolo Longo. Interesting. Never heard of him before your mention.

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