2013 Favs: The Church has Gay Priests? Duhhhhh

2013 Favs: The Church has Gay Priests? Duhhhhh December 28, 2013


Is there any adult Catholic who attends mass regularly who is unaware that many of our priests are homosexual?

I have a response for this not-so-startling reality.

Big deal.

Pope Francis recently gave a brief press conference during which he took a couple of hard-ball questions about gay priests. He answered them with what you would expect: Honesty.

I’m going to paraphrase rather than quote because I don’t have what I think are good quotes to use. The various permutations of what he said are spread all over the internet. You can find them and be confused by them there.

Basically, if I understand it, he was replying to questions about a specific priest whom he’s appointed to a high position and who may have fallen off the chastity wagon in his past. This particular priest is rumored to be a homosexual.

If what I read is mostly accurate, the Holy Father said that:

1. If a priest is truly seeking to follow Christ, and,

2. He is keeping his vows of chastity now,

3. Then, who is anyone, including the Pope, to cast him out?

When asked about rumors of this particular priest’s scandalous past, he seemed to be saying that these were sins of the past that have been repented and which are not happening now.

All this is in keeping with the Catholic Church I know and love.

The Catholic Church is the most forgiving, most loving place any sin-shamed person can go. I have sins in my past that are not only really bad ones, but that were extremely public. I can tell you from personal experience that forgiveness is not to be found just anywhere. I was not forgiven, ever, by some people. They basically cast me out of the Christian universe over things I had done 20 or 30 years before.

I didn’t come to the Catholic Church seeking forgiveness. I came because Christ in the Eucharist called me with an insistent call. But one of the things I found is the first genuine forgiveness I had ever encountered.

So for me it’s a simple equation. If I can be forgiven, then some homosexual priest who fell off the chastity wagon once upon a time, deserves forgiveness, as well.

Not, notice, my forgiveness. This hypothetical priest hasn’t done anything to me. I don’t need to forgive him. He and I are square. He deserves forgiveness from the same place where we all go for it: The wounded and loving Heart of Jesus. The blood that flowed from Jesus’ side fell on homosexuals, just as it did everyone else.

There is no sin so dark that He can’t forgive it. There is no hurt so deep that He can’t heal it. And there is no person so broken that He can’t use them to build His Kingdom.

What I ask of a priest is sincerity and authenticity of purpose. I want priests who are all in for Jesus and who have what it takes to lead us through the challenges that are coming as part of this post-Christian world in which we now live.

That means I want priests who stand for holy matrimony, who stand for life, who will not back down and run away when the Church is attacked by secular forces. The priesthood is a leadership position. I want priests who will lead God’s people through the morass, who can hold their little flocks together in the storm and deliver them safely to heaven.

Those are big things I’m asking. They are far beyond the ability of any human being, gay or straight. Only priests who are, as I said, all in for Jesus can do them, because they are possible only if they are attempted with heavy doses of heavenly grace.

We need priests who give themselves to Jesus through Our Lady in such a profound way that they can, in obedience to their bishops, be the leaders God needs for these times.

I don’t care if a priest is gay. Doesn’t bother me a bit.

What I want is true priests, holy priests, who are for-real followers of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

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56 responses to “2013 Favs: The Church has Gay Priests? Duhhhhh”

  1. Rebecca, isn’t this a different view than that of the previous Pope? Didn’t Pope Benedict say he would not allow gay men to be priests? I may not be accurate here at all, thus I’m asking. IMO, the priests who were molesting children weren’t all gay or straight –they were child molesters which has nothing to do with, IMO, their sexual orientation. I’m obviously not an expert. Pope Francis seems to understand that whether a priest is gay or straight, if he is willing to live a chaste life, then he is welcome.

    • The way I understand this, this was a short-term ban, for certain reasons. There is still the old line of thinking out there that you become a priest because you cannot find a woman or if your a woman and cannot find a man, or are not good looking, “it’s get thee to a nunnery”.

      I know that seminaries no longer allow you to sign up to try the life out, unless you demonstrate signs of a vocation.

      Not all gay men have a vocation, and not all straight men do either.

    • Benedict also understood that. During the reign of Benedict, the Holy See issued a document saying that those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies should not be ordained to the priesthood. That was to do with formation of priests. Pope Francis is talking about forgiving a priest who has sinned and been forgiven. Priests are human; they sin.

      This is the relevant document: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccatheduc/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_20051104_istruzione_en.html

    • I think the issue is openly gay priest. I am not aware of any priest who claims to be gay, with celebacy of course. But then again I’m not aware of any priest openly saying they are heterosexual either.

    • I think Pope Benedict said that men with “deep seated” homosexual tendencies should not be ordained. This is generally assumed to mean men who are sexually active, use porn, or who cannot break a significant masturbation habit. I pretty sure there is no issue with ordaining gay men who have been able to live chastely for several years.

    • We had a gay priest come and speak at our church. He said one of the reasons he decided to become a priest was that it would be easier to live a chaste life. He said he knew he was gay by age 13 (even earlier but he didn’t know what it meant) and knew nothing could change him. He thinks he was born that way.

      I didn’t ask if he was still living a chaste life. I assumed it since he is a priest.

  2. “In fountains so clear in which all may find pardon,
    From Jesus’ heart flows in endless redemption;
    Though your sins were raised as high as a mountain
    The blood flows most freely from Jesus the fountain”
    -American Hymn

  3. Unless you’ve been living under a rock and missed all the abuse scandals of (mostly) pubescent boys, everyone in the world knows well that there are priests with a homosexual orientation.

    As far as this particular priest, Pope Francis said he looked into the allegation and didn’t find it to be well substantiated.

    In general I agree with your comments, but I do think extra care is required to evaluate seminarians with a homosexual tendency. That can be a problem for some, when most of their close relationships are with their fellow priests.

      • I shouldn’t have said this in the present tense. I find it hard to believe that any abuse could happen today. From what I see, at no time is a Priest alone with kid(s) without other adults.

        • We just had a case tried in Kansas City last summer, where a Priest was MAKING child porn. He pled guilty, the local Bishop was charged with obstruction of justice for not reporting it, even though he knew about it, so yes, it is still going on, and it is still being covered up.

    • Homosexuality is not the same thing as pedophilia, and Christians that perpetuate that lie are only harming their gay brothers and sisters. Please stop doing this.

      • It’s not the same thing, of course not. But it’s clearly homosexual if a man abuses boys, and clearly heterosexual if a male abuses girls.

        I’m eagerly awaiting the argument which defends the proposition that a man abusing boys is actually a heterosexual behavior.

  4. I see this as yet another case of the mass media not knowing authentic Catholic teaching from a hole in the ground. They must use the Big Green Book, if they even own one, as a doorstop.

      • Interesting. Thanks. Intuitively it doesn’t feel like it’s a good idea to be openly hmomsexual or heterosexual. While I can see how that priest could be helpful to same sex attracted people, it’s kind of jarring to have a priest announce his sexuality.

    • I’ve been thinking about this since you made the comment Manny, and, speaking just for myself, I don’t know why any of us need to know things like this about our priests. Frankly, I’d just as soon not hear all about their sexual problems.

      What I want from them is an authentic priesthood that, by definition, means that they do not engage in sexual activity, whatever activity it is that tempts them.

      I do think that people who can’t control themselves sexually should not be priests, or deacons or in any other responsible position in the Church. I don’t want to learn that the choir director is having affairs or that the head of the RCIA is addicted to porn, or that the school principal goes to “gentleman’s clubs.” I also don’t want to learn that they are addicted to drugs or robbing banks on the side, either.

      In short, we all sin, but flagrant, continuous and deliberate violation of the Commandments (mortal sin) should disqualify a person from Church leadership positions. A person like that is in need of conversion.

      Before you ask, I think the same goes for those who advocate for abortion or gay marriage, etc.

      Not that we should stone them. But they shouldn’t be in leadership positions, or held up as examples. They need conversion.

      • Well said. I agree. I don’t mind walking beside my brothers and sisters and carrying burdens with them, but everybody does not need to know.

      • I agree. As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t know of any openly heterosexual priests either. Their sexual orientation is completely unknown.

      • Glad you don’t advocate stoning. Neither did Jesus ref. adultorous woman incidentally where was the man and why was he not up for punishment

  5. Wait! Y’all are going way beyond the question and PF’s answer. The first question was specifically about Msgr Ricca. Pope Francis said that some of the accusations refer to sins committed as a youth. Then, he was asked about a gay lobby. First, he replied that he hadn’t seen anyone with a gay lobby ID card. He made clear that sin is sin, then referred to the Catechism for teaching about same sex attraction. He then said almost exactly what Rebecca said about forgiveness of sin. There is a huge disconnect between the Spanish and translations.
    One thing, Rebecca. I believe the Church teaches that each individual’s sin does harm to us all. That is why we pray for repentance and reparation and why correcting error is so important. But, once forgiven, it is gone, except for the reparations we owe.

  6. Thanks all of you who were kind enough to answer my question, of several hours ago. I appreciate it! I’m so far very impressed with the personality of Pope Francis. He seems much more at ease with the faithful than Pope Benedict was.

  7. I don’t know what the numbers are. I’ve seen numbers saying anywhere from 25% To 60% of Catholic priests are homosexuals. 35 to 45% seems like a fair number. Am I the only one who sees putting someone in a position of preaching against their own tendencies as a problem? No matter if you are sexually active or not, preaching against the way you just ARE has got to be rattling. Setting someone up for that kind of self loathing can’t be good, and would explain a lot.

    • No one preaches against what homosexuals are. As for gay priests preaching against their own tendencies, I have never heard a priest preach specifically on any sin. Rather, they try to teach what the Scripture readings of the particular mass mean. However anyone who says that sin is wrong is preaching against his or her “own tendencies.” We ALL have a tendency to sin.

      The Church will never say that sin is not sin, no matter how organized and vocal a particular group of people are in lobbying for a particular sin.

      I repeat: The tendency to sin is universal. We all have tendencies to sin.

      • It’s pretty hard to see the tendency to love another person, that is a biological fact, and not some man made bedevilment, as a sin. As a priest, you know that the Church is against Gay marriage, and against homosexuality in general, and you are forced to live by those rules. How in the world, can you not see that as the Church being against homosexuals, and therefore against your own interests? It strains credulity that folks can’t understand this.

        • Pofarmer, you seem to be under the impression that priests are conscripted and forced into the priesthood against their wills. Actually, it is not only voluntary, but they have to go through extensive screening before entering seminary and then during and after seminary they are educated in these matters extensively. They serve as deacons before they are ordained, which again, is entirely a voluntary act on their part, and which gives them a taste of real pastoral work. Even after they are ordained, they are free to leave the priesthood at any time.

          Not one of these men is “forced to live by those rules.” This is a complete fabrication.

          If they don’t believe what the Church teaches after all this, then they are, to be blunt, liars and phonies. I am not talking about someone who finds himself struggling with a teaching for a time. I am talking about someone who is ripping off the priesthood for his own reasons. This has nothing at all to do with the Church being “against homosexuals.” But it does have quite a lot to do with the integrity of the man.

          You say in another comment elsewhere, “Man, I really do hate the Catholic Church.” I think that’s the real point to this line of commentary.

          • It’s true, I despise the Catholic Church, both for what it has done to me and my family, and what it has done to others, and what it has failed to do recently of it’s own accord to account for it’s own misdoings. But that is not the issue here. The issue here is that, while being technically voluntary, the Church has encouraged gay men to enter the Clergy almost as a form of treatment. Why else would the number of homosexuals in the Catholic Clergy be so high? The Catholic Church wields it’s theology with some force, and I imagine that a lot of these men go in thinking that they are damaged and need to be “saved” by service to the church or some such. So, yes, I’d say it is a voluntary type of flagellation that they undertake.

            • The argument you are making is entirely spurious. You are just making up things to try to support your position, which itself has no merit.

              There’s no reason to answer this nonsense. It’s untrue on its face.

              • I dunno, I don’t think it’s any more nonsense than the pat Catholic excuse that “Priests aren’t any worse about abusing kids than anyone else.” How good of an answer is that for guys that are supposed to stand in as substitutes for Christ?

                • That’s a deliberate red herring, but I’ll answer it. It is far worse when someone who speaks for Christ does something so heinous to a child, for many reasons. That is part of the responsibility of the priesthood, that your actions are far reaching and consequential in way that another person’s would not be.

                  You do know Pofarmer, that what you’ve been doing with this entire line of argument is making a case against allowing homosexuals into the priesthood, and that I am trying to take the other side and defend homosexual priests?

                  With friends like you, your fellow homosexuals who are also priests don’t need any enemies.

  8. “When asked about rumors of this particular priest’s scandalous past, he seemed to be saying that these were sins of the past that have been repented and which are not happening now.”

    As harsh a critic of the Catholic Church as I am because of the side it takes in controversial political issues, there is one thing that it does better than just about anyone else. It lets you put your past behind you. For things you are doing now or want to do in the future, forgetaboutit! But, as far as what you have done in the past, there is not a better advocate to be found anywhere.

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