And Their Masculine Counter-parts.
"What a wicked game to play,
to make me feel this way.
What a wicked thing to do,
to let me dream of you.
What a wicked thing to say,
you never felt this way.
What a wicked thing to do,
to make me dream of you..."
-Chris Isaak, "Wicked Game"
(It must be 'sweeps week' on Abbey-Roads. Anyway - I haven't posted on gay themes for awhile. I know how popular this subject is...:)
I was discussing the subject with a co-worker, well kind of. Someone we both knew died recently, while there had been no obituary in the newspaper. I innocently remarked it was probably due to the scandal. I assumed everyone had known about it since it had been in the newspapers about a decade ago. My poor friend was shocked - normally - he shocks me with stuff.
Anyway - the conversation moved to another related subject, a priest who had died recently and the friends he left behind. Some gay priests. (Now I had never known about that! See what one slip of the tongue ellicits?)
It is interesting that many of the gay priests we have either known personally, or have heard of, tend to be into the leather scene, as well as sadomasochism - I suppose it's the same thing.
These otherwise compassionate, gentle men, and sometimes very spiritual, when tempted towards homosexual activity, become rough, punishment-for-sexual-pleasure degenerates. The parody of exaggerated masculine stereotypes seems to be their big turn on. What is that all about?
When I was in monastic life, I found out, only after I had left, that my novice-master, now deceased, was into it. At another point, when on retreat at the abbey, a fellow monk told me himself that he was also an aficionado. (Why do people tell me these things?!) Later, I eventually found out about a local priest to whom I once confessed was into it big time, as was as a local religious who finally left his community. I ran into the Brother - leather costume and all - downtown on the street one night after I was leaving a restaurant where I had dinner with friends - he was heading towards a gay bar. Obviously embarrassed, he tried to ignore my hello and rushed by my group. (Not understanding what had just happened, I was offended that he brushed me off, since a week before, he had been asking for donations.)
How curious. My friend and I discussed it a bit more, wondering what it was all about - not this particular topic, but the inconsistency of behaviors - the religious man as sexual pervert. Upon reflection, in the case of those with homosexual inclination, it seems to me it must be an attempt at 'obtaining' or 'feeding' off an idealized masculine archetype in order to bolster one's emotional need to 'feel' masculine, or as a sort of affirmation of one's maleness. Still, at the same time, it could represent some type of search for masculine authority, dominance, and approval - I can't be sure however, it's not my experience, and I may be stretching here to find some understanding. (I'm always just trying to understand - to say to these people, "You're going to hell." doesn't cut it for me. It's easy to condemn, it's not so easy to understand people.)
Decidedly, the degrading aspect of discipline and bondage suggests to me a perverted taste for punishment experienced as sexual pleasure. The painful effects heightening the sexual excitement. It seems to me to be particularly diabolic - hence the exaggerated attraction for consecrated persons. (Spiritual persons experience temptation in a manner more spiritual, albeit, fallen spirits. Whereas, carnal persons are more often tempted by their own concupiscence - hence, the devil doesn't have to work so hard - although, both work hand in hand.) Naturally, the sexual degradation of a priest would also be the manner in which the devil could mock the Passion of Christ as well.
Wouldn't the devil love to tarnish the priest or religious, nay, destroy him with these perverted attractions and practices? The devil, in his machinations and temptations could easily play upon the consecrated person's weaknesses, the psychological need for male relationship, such as with a father or one in authority, or the man's own sense of male inferiority, by alluring the person towards exaggerated macho stereotypes. While at the same time causing shame and degradation in the person, compelling him to accept abuse as a means to sexual gratification. Remember the film "The Exorcist"? The exorcist told the younger priest the devil would use his weaknesses to his advantage. I suspect he does this with the sexually tormented priest or religious.
I obviously do not know the psychology of it all, yet it would seem to me to be a foretaste of hell in some respects, albeit obscured by carnal pleasure. It also suggests to me that at the very least, certain homosexualities are most definitely a mental disorder, although even more deeply, a spiritual disorder, something which the gay community virulently denies. I can't believe someone was born with these inclinations. It has to be nurture - more accurately, the lack, or abuse of it - not nature. At the same time, I can't help but wonder if there is complete freedom of the will involved - I prefer to think not.
We must pray fervently for our priests and religious.