Alex Blaze

Sexuality and the Catholic Church

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 26, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

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The Catholic Church is trying to sweep its gays under the rug again after Panorama, an Italian paper owned by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, did a hidden camera investigation and found three priests living the gay life in Rome. A picture is worth more than a blockquote here:

priest-panorama.jpg

As everyone in the gay community knows, the priesthood is full of gays. But for straight people the idea is still shocking, so the only thing really surprising here is that more magazines aren't doing short and sweet investigations like this one and getting cheap attention.

The Church responded in a statement:

"The essence of the Church of Rome is not found in those with "'double lives,' who haven't understood what 'Catholic priesthood' (is) and should not have become priests."

"Know that no one forces them to remain priests, exploiting only the benefits."

"Coherence would require them to come into the open. We don't wish to hurt them, but we cannot accept that due to their behavior the integrity of the all the rest might be tarnished."

"Before such facts we firmly adhere to what the Holy Father Benedict XVI has repeated several times in recent months: 'the sins of priests' call us all back to conversion of heart and life and to be vigilant so as not to 'pollute the faith and Christian life, damaging the integrity of the Church, weakening her capacity of prophecy and testimony, tarnishing the beauty of her face'."

They're mad because the newspaper's editor isn't releasing the priests' names. As he shouldn't, since any sort of "hypocrisy" that could be found here to justify outing them in a newspaper is most likely only because of their association with the Church, in which case the Church's behavior is the focus of the story, not these individual priests.

In related news, there is one "straight" (well, middle-aged, divorced, and homophobic) man willing to talk about homosexuality in the Catholic Church: William Donohue. And the Washington Post, for some reason, published a guest column from him saying that gays are pedophiles:

The conventional wisdom maintains there is a pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church; I maintain it has been a homosexual crisis all along. The evidence is all on my side, though there is a reluctance to let the data drive the conclusion. But that is a function of politics, not scholarship.

He goes on to cite the "scholarship" of an ex-gay quack and fudge a few numbers, and then conflate pedophilia and homosexuality to declare child molesters automatically gay if they have ever molested boys as well as girls.

Who knows how long the Church can keep up this complicated game of charades, hiding the sexualities of its priests while telling the outside world that they're celibate when they're clearly not. I visited a monastery this weekend built to house several hundred Catholic monks that only has about a dozen left, and the youngest seemed to be around 75, so I guess I have my answer.


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Dear Alex, I agree with your answer to the "How long" question. It's imploding without our urging, But there is something fishy in the Panorama magazine story and video. If you go to the second video in the article, the one in which we see Padre Paul at a gay club and going down on someone, at the end of the video he is saying mass in his bedroom with a trick present. This simply would not happen. Also, priests don't keep vestments and all the fixins for Mass in their bedroom unless they are missionaries who are on the road and saying Mass off the back of their jeep. In Rome there is a church every five feet. You don't schlep all that stuff. This is some sort of set up in which Padre Paul is willingly and knowingly involved.

Here's the Panorama article in Italian. Watch the second video

Panorama didn't have to go "undercover" to get video of cavorting clergy. They just weren't satisfied with the scandalous quality of their video so they pumped it up, and my guess is that Padre Paul has been planning to leave and decided to let Panorama pay him with an exit bonus...for this performance. Seedy all the way around. Berlusconi (Panorama owner) and the Pope are really more angry at each other than at any of the playful priests.

Anyway, they all deserve each other, and if the Pope wants to clean house of gay clergy, he won't be happy with an empty household, no one left to rub his little feet, and a deserted curia.

>> "at the end of the video he is saying mass in his bedroom with a trick present. This simply would not happen. Also, priests don't keep vestments and all the fixins for Mass in their bedroom"

I noticed that as well and thought: Okay, this whole thing is probably staged.

The pity of this is that the priesthood *has* done some good work, especially at the lowest levels where the interaction between priest and worshiper is most immediate. But isnt that true of just about every large organization? I doubt the low man on the totem pole thinks about the BP spill the same way the CEO does, and I really, really doubt the "priest on the street" thinks about the current scandal with the same "laissez-faire" attitude demonstrated by Rome.

It seems I read Bill Donahue's piece awhile ago somewhere else. My response is still the same. Those priests that molested kids could've just as well had consensual affairs with adults. And that there are priests having consensual affairs with adults just kinda proves it.

But the real crises of the Catholic Church is that of the confessional. Turning child molesters who have confessed over to the police, breaking the confessional seal, is more controversial than homosexual priests.

'the real crises of the Catholic Church is that of the confessional' really Fr Tony?

Not the systematic abuse of children and subsequent cover-up?

Not the limited understanding of human sexuality (that restricts sexual activity to heterosexual married partners where there is a biological life-giving pssibility ie no blow jobs, infertile couples etc)?

Not the denial of human rights to free speech (ref. liberation theologians)?

Not the denegration and persecution of children created in God's homosexual image?

Really, Fr Tony, I respect you enough to forgive you being a papal apologist, but your suggestion that this is about the churchs sacred confessional seal is ludicrous .... it is the victim statements and welfare that have been ignored, hidden and denied.

Paulo, I trust you realize it was not Fr Tony who said that, but GrrrlRomeo?

Mea Culpa! Thanks Sean, and apologies Fr Tony, my sense of good is restored.

GrrrlRomeo, I really don't think the churches response has anything to do with any sense of moral values, or sanctity, confessional or otherwise.