You did. Bernard is leagally married to his husband Billy – and freely introduces himself as such. Nor is he the only priest married to a man. See “Wedding Bells for Gay Priest“. We should also not ofrget the many who have let the formal priesthood, but in church law remain priests: once a priest, always a priest. Some of these have since married and continue to minister outside of the formal church structures. (I had a story on this a while back, but cannot find the link. Darn – my archives are getting far too full.)
Father John Joseph Reid and Father Lawrence Turner are Catholic priets that fell in love with each other and married in Massachusetts. They now preside over the New Devine Mercy Catholic Communities. The opening statement of their website is listed below.
“In imitation of Jesus Christ, we welcome all people to worship and celebrate God’s all-inclusive love with us. Whoever you are, where ever you are in your life, we thank you for choosing to be here with us today. Our Mission: To Extend God’s Kingdom of Justice, Truth, Love and Peace.”
For the Catholic Church, what is worse than a priest having a conviction for child sexual abuse? It would seem helping gay people come to terms with their own sexual identity and being able to die at peace with themselves, especially if they are gay and have AIDS. This would be a very sad story if it was made up, but it is factual, it is history. This book holds up a kind of a mirror to the church and I doubt if anyone will like what they see. But I do not detect any bitterness in it … this guy (Fr. Bernard Lynch) has grown bigger than the problems of the church and points a way forward. The gift of love is truly mysterious!
On 13 May 1988 Father Bernard Lynch was indicted on five charges of child abuse. On 21 April 1989 the prosecution case collapsed, as it became apparent that the evidence against him had been fabricated. Since 1977 Father Lynch had ministered to the Catholic gay community in New York, whose members were, and still are, forbidden to worship on Catholic Church property. The upsurge of AIDS in the 1980s prompted Father Lynch to found a Catholic AIDS ministry, but his work with AIDS sufferers incurred severe censure from Rome. Specifically, his attempts to explain homosexual relationships as acceptable and loving, sometimes even in the face of death, were at odds with the strict teaching of the Church, and provoked bitter conflict with New York’s Cardinal O’Connor, who ordered Father Lynch to end his ministry. Determined to continue his work, even if it meant doing so without official Church blessing, Father Lynch remained undiscouraged. “Being identified with the oppressed’, he has observed, `means that I am going to be oppressed”. A relentless persecution campaign was mounted in a bid to get him removed from his post at a boy’s school, and this led to hie false indictment. In this book, he tells his life story, bringing into focus his often controversial attitudes to gays, the Catholic Church, God, love and sexuality. Central to the book is a detailed reconstruction of the trial, a courtroom drama reminiscent of “The Bonfire of the Vanities”.
At a time when allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests fill the media, it is important to look at the saga of the author, who was unjustly accused of such a crime. A native of Ireland, the teenaged Lynch entered the seminary, where he had his first homosexual experience. Ordained, he was stationed as a missionary in Zambia, but became disenchanted. Eventually reassigned to New York City, he became aware of his own sexual orientation and became politicized as he joined Dignity, a Catholic support group, and founded the organization’s AIDS ministry. After several run-ins with the archdiocese, he was forced to resign his position at Mount St. Michael’s Academy. Three years later, as he continued his AIDS ministry, he was indicted on first degree sexual abuse charges brought by a former student. Lynch chose a non-jury trial argued before Burton Roberts, a judge known for his bluntness and impartiality. What unfolds in the court transcripts, which take nearly half of the book, is the riveting testimony, which branded Lynch’s accuser a pathological liar. Vindicated, Lynch clearly believes that right-wing Catholic groups and John Cardinal O’Connor were behind his indictment. Lynch, who now lives in London, has written a disturbing book about the justice system, and about an uncharitable church which is obsessed with sex.
Rev. James Lewis Stoll, who died on December 8th 1994, was a Unitarian Universalist minister who became the first ordained minister of any religion in the United States or Canada to come out as gay. He did so at the annual Continental Conference of Student Religious Liberals on September 5, 1969 in La Foret, Colorado. Later, he led the effort that convinced […]
CHARLES DE FOUCAULD (Brother Charles of Jesus) was born in Strasbourg, France on September 15th, 1858. Orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were raised by their grandfather in whose footsteps he followed by taking up a military career.He lost his faith as an adolescent.His taste for easy living was well known to all and yet he showed that he c […]
In Catholic spiritual tradition, there is an important and honoured place for the idea of "The Bride of Christ". At one level, we are taught to think of the Church as a whole as such a bride of Christ, and the wedding at Cana as a metaphor for the marriage of Christ to his bride, the Church. At another level, religious women think of themselves as […]
b. May 22, 1930 d. November 27, 1978Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to a significant public office when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He served eleven months before he was assassinated."The important thing is not that we can live on hope alone, but that life is not worth living without it. […]
In Catholic tradition, Longinus is the name given to the Roman centurion at the crucifixion who pierced Christ's side with his spear. Some writers, like Paul Halsall of the LGBT Catholic Handbook, also identify him with the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his "beloved boy", who was ill. It is this second person that I am interested in here. […]
There is an important distinction between "faith", which refers to belief and a relationship with the divine, and "religion", which refers primarily to the human structures which support it, with their rules, rituals, and clerical castes. They are obviously linked, interdependent, and ideally, support each other. There are grave dangers t […]
Sane and rational discussion of the Bible and same-sex relationships are bedevilled by difficulties with language, arising from problems with translations on the one hand, and vastly different cultural conditions which make it difficult sometimes to make sense of the applicability of the words, even where the literal meaning is clear. This is especially imp […]
The Ethiopian Eunuch is our most famous trancestor. However, there are many more scattered through the Bible, both visible and invisible. We shall meet many more later. -Lewis ReayThe Many Eunuchs Hidden in ScriptureThere are numerous trans themes and characters in Scripture. If these are not immediately familiar to us, this is because often, they are simply […]
One of the great paradox's of queer church history is that a period of extreme persecution of "sodomites" by the Inquisition, directly at their own hands or indirectly by secular authorities at their instigation, largely coincided with a remarkable series of popes who had sex with men, who protected family and friends who did so, or spent vast […]
James Alison is another important theologian for gay men, although he described himself not as a "gay theologian", but as a theologian who writes from a gay (male) perspective. He was formerly a Dominican priest, who like Fr John McNeill,, was forced out of the priesthood for daring to speak honestly, in his case about gay priests. He has since cre […]
Yes, really - in a manner of speaking. Browsing through the Catechism section on sexuality, which you will find under the sixth commandment, I was struck by two passages in particular:"Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity." (2333)and"Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological wor […]
At Religion Dispatches Magazine, Louis A. Ruprecht makes an important point: One of the more striking things about all of the ink that has been spilled over California’s now- infamous Proposition 8, and its long legal aftermath, is the almost reflexive assumption on all sides that marriage, somehow, is a norm, a desirable norm. And so the argument swiftly be […]
The five co-defendants sit close enough to shake hands in the Philadelphia courtroom, but they never once acknowledge one another. Father James Brennan, a 47-year-old priest accused of raping a 14-year-old boy, looks sad and stooped in a navy sweater, unshaven and sniffling. Edward Avery, a defrocked priest in his sixties, wears an unsettlingly pleasant expr […]
"A LEADING child protection expert has urged the Victorian government to hold a public inquiry into the handling of child-sex cases by a Catholic religious order after the Catholic Church suppressed a report it asked him to write. Sydney University law professor Patrick Parkinson wrote yesterday to the Victorian Attorney-General, Robert Clark, and Polic […]
The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has admitted that "a cabal" protecting clerical sex abusers may be operating at the highest levels in the Catholic Church. Dr Martin said: "There may be a cabal in Cloyne. They may have friends in other parts of the Irish Church. They may have friends in Irish society. There may be friends in the Vat […]