Ed Team

There They Go Again

Filed By Ed Team | August 29, 2005 10:56 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
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I was tempted to write "they" in the title, because increasingly my Church -- the Catholic Church -- sees me as a stumbling block. You who know me, must learn to avoid my deviance for fear of it rubbing off on you.

Today, the news is that the Church in Rome is about to release a document in which gays will be barred from seminary and probably removed from the pulpit as well, if found out. If I wasn't a member of the body, I'd probably be rightfully rejoicing and guffawing. Getting rid of gays in the priesthood? They might as well close all the seminaries and parishes now... How can you tell a gay church?.... fill in your own punch line. All of your fists will not hit me in my gut as hard as this news has.

I have known many good men who served selflessly as priests. Several of them are gay and faithful to the celibate rule. I wouldn't consider them good priests if they didn't follow their vows. In fact, if you look at the pedophile issue in the Church, one could hardly call it gay-- although they often abused young boys. It was a crime of convenience -- there were simply no girls in a position to be taken advantage of like that. Yes, I am sure there were gays among that group. We are, after all, everywhere. But the number was in no higher proportion than in the general population.

But the Vatican, in its infallible wisdom, thinks that outing gay priests will make the Church pure. At the same time it will alienate the few of us who have found good solid liberal parishes to live and commune with. My faith community is well aware of my sexual orientation and they still have me serve communion, lector (read the texts) and even serve at the altar. They must be able to see past those stereotypes to the person I am-- the person God has made me. (Never mind that one of the flamingest priests in my town is the ultra-conservative televangelista who says novenas til your ears bleed and harps every conservative issue. He even wears the full length black cassock.... as if he's Bing Crosby in "The Bells of St Mary's.")

I think the Vatican might have to back down from getting rid of gay priests in America when they find out how rife some seminaries and diocese are. I mean, they can't very well close whole swaths of churches, not to mention removing bishops and archbishops! And the good priest who is doing the right things and working hard? Yeah, his life's work will be washed away with the the bad. His calling -- also a gift from God-- and the years of struggle and effort and service he has had will be denied and rejected.

It seems to me that the Church hierarchy needs to stop searching for scapegoats and look for justice for the poor and the abused.


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