Breaking the silence

Gay Priest “Bart” continues his weekly series:

I ended my last post by asking: will our silence [forced as it so often is] be judged as complicity in the Church’s deceptive ways? It’s a question that has been troubling me for quite some time now, not only as a gay priest who is going through a coming-out process, but also in the wider sense, as a member of the Catholic Church. Even as I was grappling with this complex subject, I was informed of a recent documentary shown on BBC’s Channel Four. Entitled Father Ray Comes Out, it presents a very touching account of the coming-out of an Anglican vicar – Father Ray Andrews – to his congregation during a Sunday homily. For the benefit of my readers, I thought of embedding the story here (in 2 parts), before expanding on the subject in today’s post.


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Does Benedict Oppose Gay Priests?

Andrew Brown thinks so, based on the relevant passage in Seewald’s book. I hesitate to comment with any conviction until I have read the full passage myself, but the published extracts are disturbing and important. Up to now, there have been some signs of a more rational approach to homosexuality under this papacy, but some of these views strike me as just wackadoodle. Benedict is widely acclaimed as a great and subtle theologian, but he could do with some lessons in basic facts of gender and sexuality.

For example:

We could say, if we wanted to put it like this, that evolution has brought forth sexuality for the purpose of reproducing the species.

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Priests and Prostitutes

(Note: This site is a  selective mirror of posts from my main site. Comments here have been disabled.  To place a comment, or to read the full range of posts and features of the main site, go to  the  corresponding post at my main site.)

No, not a theme for a fancy dress party, but a real- life problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Episcopal Pornography: Seminary Screening for Gay Candidate Priests

The procedures being used to screen seminary candidates for emotional and sexual maturity are, if the New York Times is to be believed, obscene. I mean that literally.

When I first read the article, I was simply revolted. My earlier understanding was that the appalling instruction of 2005 restricting the recruitment of gay seminarians had been largely softened in the later instruction issued in 2008, as carefully and clearly described by James Alison. To find that recruitment interviews remain obsessed with sex, and particularly with same sex attraction, was yet another indictment of the institutional Church’s lamentable inability to come to terms with a fundamental part of what it is to be human.  Then I recalled something I read last week in Mark Jordan’s “The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism“.

The context was Jordan’s analysis of the Vatican’s rhetorical style in its pronouncements on homosexuality, a style which Jordan says is characterised by repetition, flattening, threatening and certainty, rather than reasoning.  This is what he says about the extraordinary repetitions in Vatican discourse :

There certainly seems to be room for some contemporary satire, if only we had another Pascal. For example, the obsessive repetitions and flattenings of the official documents might seem to indicate that they are themselves a form of sexual gratification. They describe sexual acts and organs in ways that typify pornography made for men. Read the rest of this entry »

In Memoriam: Fr Robert Carter, Priest and Gay Activist

“Since Jesus had table fellowship with social outcasts and sinners, those rejected by the religious establishment of his time, I consider myself to have been most fully a Jesuit, a ‘companion of Jesus,’ when I came out publicly as a gay man, one of the social rejects of my time. It was only by our coming out that society’s negative stereotypes would be overcome and we would gain social acceptance.”

-Fr Robert Carter

There is no contradiction between being Catholic and gay or lesbian. Indeed, just as Robert Carter says he was most fully a Jesuit when he cane out publicly, so for many of us, we are most fully Catholic when we too come out in Church.  (I say deliberately “for many of us”, as coming out is always a deeply personal decision, which may not always be feasible for all.)

Robert Carter, Priest and Gay Activist, Dies at 82

The Rev. Robert Carter, who in the early 1970s was one of the first Roman Catholic priests in the country to declare publicly that he was gay and who helped found the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, died on Feb. 22 in the Bronx. He was 82.

Robert Carter, right, with Dan McCarthy, left, Bernard Lynch and John McNeill at a gay pride march in the early 1980s


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