Sunday, July 22, 2018

Fr. Martin steps in.

All of them witches.*

Many will disagree - or will they?

Again, I know what Fr. Martin is saying.  Yes gay men can embrace chastity and live celibately, and are not pedophiles and or ephebophiles or any other kind of abuser.  We know this.  I know this.  And, this would be why we never hear of normal people abusing others.

So anyway, why did the Cardinal get by with it?  Who promoted him and who didn't object to his promotion and fund-raising?  Who was invited to his beach house and joined him for cocktails and vacationed with him, and so on?  Of course they completely normal, well balanced, emotionally healthy and psychologically mature, deeply spiritual faithful members of the clergy.

From Fr. Martin's FB page:
Dear friends: Some comments on the connection between sex abuse and homosexuality in the Catholic priesthood, in the light of the Cardinal McCarrick case, and some recent ill-informed and outright homophobic commentaries.

Being gay (or, more broadly, being LGBT) does not make a person a pedophile, an ephebophile, or any other kind of sex abuser. How do we know this?

Answer: the example of millions of emotionally healthy and psychologically mature LGBT people who have never abused anyone--and never will abuse anyone.

Moreover, we have the example of many healthy, faithful and dedicated gay priests who live out their promises of celibacy and vows of chastity and are beloved by their parishioners. I know scores, maybe hundreds, of them. And many of you do as well.

Then why does it seem like such a high percentage of gay priests are abusers? Because healthy celibate gay priests are usually not permitted to be open about their sexuality. (There are several notable exceptions: Fred Daley in Syracuse and Gregory Greiten in Milwaukee.)

Why are most of these men not “out” yet? There are many reasons: Often their bishops or religious superiors will not give them permission; they are private people; or they are afraid (of stereotyping of the kind I’m discussing).

Thus, in the absence of any other examples, the only public examples of gay priests ends up being notorious abusers, like Cardinal McCarrick.

By analogy, imagine if the only stories permitted to be published about one ethnic or religious group were about the criminals in that group. Soon the public would, quite naturally, see them as always and everywhere criminal. (We know examples of this.)

A significant number of Catholic priests are gay—and chaste, in religious orders; and celibate in the priesthood. They lead lives of healthy service in the church. To paint them all as abusive or potentially abusive is a dangerous stereotype.

(Also, to say that gay men are incapable of living chastity or celibacy is to go against the Catechism, which requires celibate chastity for gay men.)

In short, to say that being gay means being an abuser is the worst kind of stereotyping and should be avoided. - Fr. James Martin, S.J.

Fr. Martin is right - stereotyping is really, really bad.

Once, sitting in a cafe in Rome, with a couple I met in Lourdes, a priest and his lover stopped to talk to us - he made fun of us for our traditional devotion and our reverence for the Holy Father, Paul VI.  As he was leaving he told us we would be surprised at what goes on  in the Church.  It's a very vague anecdote, but my friends and I knew what he was getting at.  We knew then what Fr. Martin and Sr. Gramick have been saying about 'gay clergy'.  They are everywhere.

I knew that when I tried to get a Courage chapter erected here in St. Paul/Minneapolis.  I knew it when Bishop Bullock told me he wasn't aware of any gay priests in this diocese, and when he told me that he'd look into the Courage thing. Not promoting Courage used to be a sort of telltale signal that the priest or bishop  was among those 'millions of emotionally healthy and psychologically mature LGBT people who have' no problems with their sexual orientation.  Just like straight people.

While it is true, those who make the news maybe an exception, or simply had a lapse in judgment, made a mistake, fell into sin, but are not necessarily sexual abusers - the ones who show up in the news are the only ones 'outed'.  The stuff they are outed for is usually perverted, but it's the exception to the rule?

Gay people don't normally engage in sexual misconduct?

So it is a rare exception in Washington, DC for men to cruise the restrooms?  I had a friend from religious life who told me how cool it was to get a BJ in a public restroom in front of other guys.  That type of behavior used to be considered shameful and remains illegal, but it's acceptable in the 'gay community'.  Truth be told, it's almost innocent compared to the stories Joe Sciambra has told.

So here is the deal.

The promotion of all things gay is against Catholic teaching - it isn't a benign condition.  I'm not recommending shaming or unjust discrimination against gay people, but the promotion of gay is good goes against Catholic teaching.  To suggest Cardinal McCarrick is just a sexual anomaly, despite the fact that he used his position of power to take advantage of young men and boys is hypocritical.  You people know that.  You know it.

The priest in the bondage gear and mask knows.  The naked runner priest knows.  The drunk priest in jail knows.  The priest in the park masturbating knows.  The priest who laughed at me in Rome knows.  Monsignor Meth knows.  All the priests I've ever written about on this blog knows.  You know.

McCarrick with a group - I posted it
because the young priest next to the Cardinal looks
rather uncomfortable.

The cover-up is institutional and widespread.  The shaming is done by all sides. 

Years ago I was in the baths and went into a guy's room ... he had a religious medal on.  I asked him about it.  Turns out he was a priest, a Norbertine, he was in town to give a retreat to cloistered nuns - I got off of him, pulling away in shock.  I asked him, "How can you do this - what about your mystical life?"  He laughed at me.  He was able to compartmentalize his behavior.  Just like the NY priest who slept with a novice sister he was directing, he'd still get up from being in bed with her, to keep his hour of adoration as Bishop Sheen always recommended for faithful priests.

That's so normal.

I used to say you are damned if you do, damned if you don't.  Catholics are so like that - but actually, they can't damn you - they can only shame you.  They shame you when you do, and shame you when you don't.  That's my experience.  Don't say gay - that's bad.  You can't live celibately and chastely with another man - that's bad.  You can't be gay and Catholic - that's really, really bad.

And yet, as Fr. Martin and others point out, there are scores, hundreds, many, many gay priests.  Evidently everyone else knows that too.  And that's okay?  Is everybody gay then?

I guess I've been doing it wrong all this time.

I don't know who I am, or what I'm gonna do 
Been so long I've been hopelessly confused...

I embrace the shame then.  I will rejoice in my outcast state.
Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, to consecrate the people by his own blood.Let us then go to him outside the camp, bearing the reproach that he bore. - Hebrews 13:13



  1. Maybe I am just dense (or not enough coffee yet this morning!) but I can't tell if you like or dislike Fr. M's take...or even if that matters one bit...but I DO know that whenever I am tempted to go down that dark enticing hole of focusing on others weaknesses, wounds and sins I have a quick solution that works for ME...I take our the examination of conscience and start using it....ON ME. PAX.

    1. I accept what Fr. Jim had to say. I'm just confused. I'm not focusing upon the sins of others - at least I don't think I am. I'm simply trying to make sense of it.

    2. I need to add this - or repeat it....

      The promotion of all things gay is against Catholic teaching - it isn't a benign condition - as Ratzinger, the CDF in their documents has made clear. I'm not recommending shaming or unjust discrimination against gay people, but the promotion of gay as good, or rather a benign condition, goes against Catholic teaching. To suggest Cardinal McCarrick is just a sexual anomaly, despite the fact that he used his position of power to take advantage of young men and boys is hypocritical. Within that lgbtq umbrella lurks men who prefer sex with young men and boys, and many of them are otherwise stable, responsible citizens - just like McCarrick. Christopher Isherwood frequently comes to mind when seeking to identify a 'secular' personality with those same appetites and preferences.

      I guess that's why I no longer know who I am, or what I'm gonna do - it's been so long I've been hopelessly confused...

    3. I am going to try and make more effort to keep my eyes on our Risen Lord. I know that if I fail to do so, I'm gonna become angry, anxious, bitter. I don't want to look at the sins of others because I will become self-righteous again. I don't want to live my faith that way again ... no!

      I'm not convinced by what Father Martin is saying. His words are soft on the ear, smooth on the palette, so I swallow it whole and forget what the Church has taught about homosexual behavior. I accept what the Church teaches regarding the issue and will pray for all who struggle with it.

      Maria has very good commentary that gives food for thought but you know what? I'm tired of reading about the cardinal and his perverted/corrupt behavior. I'm tired of trying to be convinced that lgbtq issues are normal. I tired of the non-action of the bishops or their giving the impression that they are dragged out of their comfortable cubicle in order to deal with all of this after too much "unpleasant publicity."

      And while I'm at it, the same goes for Papa Francis. The whole Chile affair, back tracking on it, then not and now this McCarrick affair.

      Too much for a mere, wanting-to-be earnestly, honest and charitable Christian who despite it all will not abandon her Lord nor his Church who saved her life many years ago.

      I'm praying ... still.

    4. Me too Yaya - still praying - just came back from late Mass and adoration.

    5. Uniting my prayers with yours dear Terry.

      God bless!

  2. lol, I don't know why but that gif at the end always cracks me up when I see it in your posts.

  3. Help me out because I can’t find it… Where does the church teach that the gay condition itself is not benign, if by that you mean sinful? As you well know a declaration by the CDF even with papal approval to publish does not make for binding Catholic teaching. We know that disordered does not mean sinful and we know that the desire itself is not sinful per official Catholic teaching. I’m not trying to be argumentative simply inquisitive… Always ready to learn something.

    1. My mistake then - I thought letters to bishops from the CDF/Magisterium signed by the Pope bore some obligation as well as reflected Catholic teaching on the subject at hand. I didn't know we as Catholics were not bound to it. Anyway, I should have clarified my statement when I picked up benign, Cardinal Ratisnger actually said the condition was presented as 'all to benign' a statement you are familiar with - I'll quote now:

      "In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
      Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not. - Letter to Bishops"

      It's difficult to copy and paste on my ipad and when I respond in comments it is difficult for me to give citations and create links.

      My apologies if I misspoke proposing the CDF documents as Catholic teaching, I am literally a dumb ass when it comes to that stuff.

      This is my problem which I should have known better to have shared. As I tried to explain in my email to you, I'm struggling with making sense of these things and religious people are no help.

      Keep me in your prayers please.

  4. You have prompted me to think about this deeply. It is a much avoided subject because who wants to be labeled homophobic? The proportion of men with SSA seems to be much higher in the priesthood than in, say, accountancy or the law. Are we to suppose that God prefers priests with SSA, men whose sexual orientation is described by the catechism as "objectively disordered," and is calling them in greater numbers than heterosexuals? That position would be difficult to defend.

    In June 2002, the Weekly Standard published an article by Mary Eberstadt, "The Elephant in the Sacristy," that has stayed with me for 16 years. One obstacle some heterosexual men who feel called to be priests must face is the pervasive gay culture in some seminaries. Why is a gay culture--or any culture based on sexuality rather prayer and service--tolerated in seminaries?

    There are many priests with SSA who live chaste lives, I'm sure, just as there are heterosexual priests who do not. It is perhaps easier for priests to engage in sexual activity because they can engage in it together without fearing that the other will say anything, whereas a straight priest wanting a fling is going to have to consider that a child might be produce and/or the woman might talk.

    For me the problem is not what category of person a priest is attracted to. Everyone is attracted to someone. What should matter is a priest's attitude toward sexuality. Is sexual activity something he is willing to give up as part of his vocation? A seminarian who wears skin-tight pants and struts like a bantam rooster with a "look at me" attitude (alas, I am speaking of a recent acquaintance) is much more troubling as a candidate for priesthood than one who may experience sexual attraction to men but is prayerful and a model of chastity.

    We need to make intelligent, thoughtful distinctions if we are to make any progress on this matter. Otherwise, we'll be stuck in the unproductive name-calling and circular reasoning of those who cannot make a distinction between Russian meddling in our elections (a certainty) and collusion between one political campaign and the Russians (still under investigation). Catholics should behave more intelligently than that.

    1. I'm sorry I returned to these discussions. Deacon is right, I need to examine my own conscience because something is clearly wrong with me.

  5. No, Terry...that’s NOT the reaon for my posts. Nothing more is wrong with you than is wrong with every single one of us and it is called original sin, and it makes its presence known in our lives and oh so many different ways… But it’s residual is there though conquered by the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1. Many thanks, That’s been explained to me before. So many times. Did you get my email?

  6. Terry, thanks for telling me that you sent an email. I do not check as often as I should. I will read it and get back to you.

  7. I don't think there are more gay priests than gays in the general population, it's just that the spotlight is always on them.

    I don't think gay or SSA men should be admitted to seminary under the "near occasion of sin" clause. Living with a group of men in seminary, spending time with altar boys once ordained, these are normal things for priests but more likely to lead to temptation for those active in the gay lifestyle or who have SSA.

    Yes, there's some kind of temptation for everyone but it seems foolish to place men in situations of temptation.

    For example, a gay man I know visited a monastery and was invited not to return because of his inappropriate behavior. I'm sure it was due to a bad breakup, with a guy who left him to discern a religious vocation.

    Because the religious guy had been engaged to a woman prior to that relationship, I've always thought he was confused, thinking his dissatisfaction with the previous relationship meant he was gay, never having considered what God wanted.

    1. I'm sorry, Nan, but the data is overwhelmingly against your statement "I don't think there are more gay priests than gays in the general population..." Just google the percentage of gay priests and then google the percentage of gay males in the general population. I could provide many, many links but I think it's better if you do your own research.


    2. That is my understanding as well Frank. Thanks.


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