Two Priests In Trouble for Having Boyfriends. Is There a Difference Between Them?

Two Priests In Trouble for Having Boyfriends. Is There a Difference Between Them? October 7, 2015

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski

This is a post about two prominent priests.

The first prominent priest held a powerful Vatican position and taught theology to priests. He told the world — in a press conference, no less — that he’s gay, sexually active and proud of it. He denounced the “homophobic” Catholic Church and departed with a book deal and his boyfriend.

The second prominent priest is from Chicago. He attended Pope Francis’ address to Congress last month. It turns out that he also has a boyfriend. His archbishop removed him from his parish assignment.

The Chicago priest, Father Marco Mercado, is asking for prayer, and says that his priority is the Gospel. He says he’s sorry if his actions have scandalized anyone.

Scandalized? Us?

After the past 15 years, this barely causes a blip on the Church scandal meter. Those of us in the pews are just relieved it was between adults and something is being done about it. After all, the pope himself told us that there was a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican, and just about every Catholic over the age of 12 knows that many of our priests are gay.

What we have here is a tale of two priests. One fell off the chastity wagon and says he’s sorry for what he did. The other denounced the Church for calling his sin a sin.

This situation illustrates a big issue for the Church. How are we going to go forward in this onslaught of satanic evil that is coming down on us if our priests bunt instead of swing away?

It’s not a question of whether or not we should have priests who are homosexual. We do have priests who are homosexual and everybody knows it. The question is, which column does the priest fall into? Is he a priest, who happens to be homosexual? Or is he a homosexual, who happens to be a priest?

I don’t care if a priest happens to be homosexual. I care if he is an authentic follower of Christ. The day is past when we could get by with priests who went to seminary so that they wouldn’t have to tell their mamas they were gay. We need holy priests who will lead us through these times.

It doesn’t bother me to learn that a priest has fallen flat on his face and done something stupid and sinful. Intimate involvement between two adults is definitely not the worst thing I’ve ever heard of a person doing. People long for other people.

As one of life’s all-time sinners whose only hope was and is the love of God, I do not have the qualifications to be anything but understanding about other people’s sins. I have been forgiven too much to draw a line on forgiveness to others.

But forgiveness presupposes that the person acknowledges their sin and asks to be forgiven. We all sin, repent, get cleaned up and try again. That’s life.

The priest in Chicago says he’s sorry. I don’t know the situation, and I leave its resolution in his bishop’s hands, but I’m assuming that his relationship with an adult man did not involve someone who was vulnerable, such as a parish employee or a counseling situation. All I know is that he says he did wrong and that he’s sorry for it.

The priest in Rome wants the Church to stop telling him his sin is a sin. He’s self-righteous and accusatory toward the Church that trusted him, educated him, promoted him and gave him enormous power.

The fact is, he was ripping off the priesthood and it sounds as if he was doing it deliberately. Given his attitude, he had no business wearing a collar, much less being that close to the seat of power within the Church.

Linda LaScola is an atheist blogger here at Patheos who writes in support of Christian clergy who become atheist. She has made comments that I think accurately describe the impact of fallen clergy. Here’s part of what she says.

… There are clergy who are purposely or inadvertently discouraging their parishioners from holding some of the foundational beliefs of their religion. 

… Liberal clergy will continue to lead the move away from biblical religion. They are humanists’ natural allies … We predict they will keep discarding bits of Christian doctrine until it’s gone. 

This is a post about two prominent priests. One fell off the chastity wagon and seeks forgiveness. The other condemns the Church for saying his sin is a sin.

One affirms Christian doctrine and wants to be forgiven for his human weakness. The other demands that Christianity discard 2,000 years of teaching concerning human sexuality and condemns the Church for adhering to it.

Which of these two priests would Ms LaScola consider “a natural ally?”


Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

9 responses to “Two Priests In Trouble for Having Boyfriends. Is There a Difference Between Them?”

  1. A lot of priests are Gay and sexually active. maybe most. I have no way of knowing. Only the community of priests probably know for sure and they aren’t telling. Boyfriends are accepted, probably even encouraged, in private. Being an out Gay priest with a publicly acknowledged sexual partner is a whole different animal. isn’t it? It’s about politics, not real life and only a pretend religious issue, really.

  2. Well said. As Catholics, we are all called to practice chastity, meaning no sex outside marriage (no fornication or adultery) and no marriage to someone not of the opposite sex. It does not matter that men can now legally marry men, and women legally marry women, in the US and various other countries. Catholic men can only marry women and Catholic women can only marry men.

    Catholics who commit sins by not being chaste must confess their sins to a priest, be absolved, and do the assigned penance. They must also try very seriously not to commit the same sin again, as all of us must do for any serious (mortal) sins. We should also work on all our lesser (venial) sins, trying to change bad habits. Ideally, priests set examples for lay Catholics but they are fallible human beings, too, and subject to temptation. Satan particularly likes to cause priests to fall into sin so we must pray for our priests not to do so.

  3. Luke 17:1-10 seems to me to have the answer.

    The unrepentant one is obstinate, and unforgivable. The repentant one, EVEN IF HIS REPENTANCE IS NOT TOTAL OR FALSE, must be forgiven seventy times seven times, every time he repents.

  4. Both priests have been outed, and are out as being gay. The real difference is not gay, but is repentance. One wants repentance. The other wants a book deal.

    I know which one I’d forgive and support. I’m pretty sure I know which one atheists would support. The two are not the same.

  5. Honestly what is there to discuss? One has already left the Church and the other wants forgiveness, but can he remain a priest and stop having an intimate relationship with his partner? Personally I think it is a shame that they can’t serve and still have their relationships, but those are the rules even for heterosexual priests in the Catholic Church.

  6. Of course you would, unchaste actions and lying are normal in pagan cultures, as long as they appear to do no harm ( and even quite tolerated when they do harm, as all human activity does).

  7. There’s a lot more to discuss than what is in evidence here. Charamsa is certainly unrepentant though we don’t know the full extent of his motives. Mercado on the other hand is not the repentant sinner that Representative Hamiton has painted. On what grounds do we assume that we’re speaking of his having a boyfriend? All the Archdiocese said is that he had an “inappropriate relationship with an adult male.” Rep. Hamilton naively assumes that to mean boyfriend, but it could cover the gamut from Mercado cruising for men at gay bars to Mercado taking advantage of and abusing a vulnerable adult. Even adults can be abused. I think the loudest fact is the reality that many priests have boyfriends on the side and continue in ministry. What Mercado did therefore must have been serious enough for him to be removed.