Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fr. Martin, SJ on why homosexual clergy don't 'come out'.

"'Several reasons,' replied Martin.'

Sr. Jeannine Gramick said similar things as Fr. Martin a few years back, claiming at least 50% of the clergy are gay.  (I think she might have said 80% and Michael Voris said 50%.)  Unfortunately, Martin and Gramick seem to agree on a lot of LGBTQ stuff which is filtered through New Ways Ministry.  I'm against it.  (I love saying that.)

Anyway - the 'several reasons' Fr. Martin cites ...
“Several reasons,” replied Martin. “One, their bishops or religious superiors ask them not to come out. Two, they fear reprisals from parishioners. Three, they fear it would be divisive. Four, they are private people. Five, they are not fully aware of their sexuality. And lastly, people have mistakenly conflated homosexuality and pedophilia, and so priests don't want to come out because they fear they'll be labeled a pedophile.” - Source
I can agree with that reasoning to some extent.  (Fr. Martin would know better than anyone - being a priest, confessor, and spiritual director.  Which is why he may be hitting a little to close to home for some of his critics.)  Not being fully aware of their sexuality seems like a problem to me - in the sense that it shouldn't be.  One would think that by the time a man is ordained, he would be aware of his sexuality.  So that strikes me as a little nuts.  I can understand it in terms of dealing with his sexuality, as in the case of Monsignor Charasmsa who said "his partner had helped him come to terms with his sexuality" which led to his leaving the priesthood.

On the other hand, the fear of being labeled a pedophile is not all that far out.  Neither is reprisal from parishioners - which would most likely take the form of mistrust.  No matter the credentials or how many degrees a priest may have, his credibility would be damaged if he suddenly came out.

That said, Fr. Martin misses perhaps the biggest reason priests who have homosexual inclination do not come out: They accept and believe Catholic teaching on sexuality - or at least say they do.  Specifically:
The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation.

Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual" or a "homosexual" and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life. - CDF

In fact, that may be the number one reason why priests do not come out, or publicly identify themselves as gay - they cling to that exact definition provided by the Church, one's "fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life."  He cannot be so callous to identify otherwise.  In a twisted way, it could become a convenient cover-up as well - for a more dishonest personality type.

However, these priests can and often do reveal their inclination to close friends, confreres, even penitents, but they will use the correct terminology saying, "I too have SSA."  They usually won't identify as gay, unless of course they are with sympathetic confreres, where they may be more comfortable, and can be themselves.  I remember reading about a priest who lived in community and a prospective candidate was put off by the 'campy humor' which created a sort of gay-atmosphere.  If you've ever lived in community or have gone through seminary - you would know what I mean by that.  Especially if 'former' gays are present.  (These days gay humor is more accepted, so it isn't a guarantee you are immersed in a gay enclave.)

I think there can be a sort of loosely connected network even with those who use the Church's terminology.  It's interesting how many individuals can be linked - at least on social media.  Even among the most traditional and thoroughly orthodox - it's a small world online.  Perhaps it is a form of support, but it makes me believe that the Gramick-Martin estimate of a large population of gay priests may not be as exaggerated as I once believed.  Gramick and Martin simply over look those who refuse to identify as gay, and to whom coming out would contradict their 'fundamental Identity'.

In researching this post I came across another post which included something from Michael Voris expressing his conviction that gay priests are bad for the Church - that post came after Michael revealed that he had homosexual experience - so I'm thinking he was compensating a bit, and maybe attempting to reinforce his orthodoxy after the shock absorbed by his followers, I may be wrong.  Another priest commented on CM in defense of priests who may have homosexual inclination, and in some strange way - it supports the Gramick-Martin theory that many priests are gay.
Yes, but as a priest I would want to broaden the discussion to include the way God's grace does work in the lives of those "gay" priests who seek to follow the celibate life and are prayerful and loyal to the Church's teachings. I am not one of them, but I know some, and they are exemplary priests. In other words, God works through them because they have chosen to follow His way and not the way of the world. Nor are these men few in number and we should not bracket them with others who will not or cannot remain faithful. You said before, "do not limit God". That applies even here. Whether they should have been ordained or not is another question. What is clear in their lives is that God is working through them and within them to bring them to holiness. - Fr. Abberton

Anyway, all I'm doing here is to expand on Fr. Martin's interview response as to why gay priests do not come out.  I don't know what Fr. Martin is doing, I don't agree with his approach - but at least he is being honest and dealing with contemporary realities.  He may indeed be more faithful than many of his critics who just might feel he's hitting a little too close to home.  Unfortunately, there are Catholics who hide their inconstancy behind Catholic teaching on their "fundamental Identity."

Thank God for the sacrament of penance.


  1. 50% gay? That seems high to me.

    I'm always somewhat concerned by 'celebrity' priests. It goes against the Little Way and I can't see any good coming of it.

    1. I've heard local priests say the same thing. I'd rather not know.

  2. Gee ... with everything else going on in the Church this subject keeps rearing its head. I do and don't understand it and yet there must be a reason for it, yes? It has to be dealt with whether I like it or not but with prayer, honesty and reason not emotional hogwash and finger pointing from both sides.

    My take has always been the same, if they are attracted to the same sex and have been a priest for years now yet they cling to Jesus and to what the Church has always taught and remain faithful in their vows and chaste, then I support them with my prayers, love and respect. If they are "hiding and acting out" under the guise that they are discreet, throw them out because in the end, they do more harm than good.

    Much prayers are needed since I am in no condition to judge nor condemn anyone.

    Terry, I had a priest friend (at my parish many years ago) who once told me that he "had a priest friend who had admitted to Cardinal Mahoney that he was gay and wanted to come out to his parish community since he was pastor there and everybody loved him." I was shocked ... anyway, he went on to tell me that, "Cardinal Mahoney absolutely forbid it telling him to keep his sexual orientation quiet since it would otherwise cause scandal."

    Your post reminded me of that story.

    1. I would agree with Mahoney on that one. The agitation for coming out is always political in my opinion, it's about cultural/moral change.

    2. I was grateful to Cardinal Mahoney when Fr. B shared that with me. Still am ... I will pray today when I visit Jesus in Church for all who are agitated with the Church.

      Thanks Terry.

  3. I don't think of priests as sexual beings. It would be as shocking to me to learn a priest has ssa as it would to learn his pajamas aren't black with a white tab.

    1. A couple of priests told me they don't wear anything to bed - that was worse.

    2. Wah??? No ... no ... ;)

    3. Terry! Don't they realize nobody needs that information? I'm standing by my assertion. Black pajamas. White tabs. Lightweight cotton for summer. Flannel for winter.

  4. If they're celibate, what does it matter what their sexual orientation is? Parishioners might view a declaration that they are gay as too much information (TMI). I can see a pastoral reason to make such a declaration--for example, if a person in the parish who had SSA was being persecuted. But these occasions would be rare.

    1. I understand self-revelation in the confessional or in spiritual direction - otherwise 'coming out' is TMI as you say. A celibate chaste priest is already an example of living according to Catholic teaching on sexuality - no matter what.


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