We all know there are gay priests and bishops in the Catholic Church. Many of us know many of those gay clerics. Rumors and statistical probability all suggest there have even been gay popes. In fact, from the safe distance of antiquity, we can even name about half a dozen very active gay popes. And, its no surprise. If the priesthood is to be a boys only club, it is bound to attract those boys who like to be around other boys. Add to the mix institutional power and fabulous vestments and you have a homosexual's dream come to life.
That the Church is filled with so many obvious gay men is not surprising. What is surprising is that this cheap gay romance novel continues to insult and condemn gay and lesbian persons.
Not all priests are gay, of course. Just like not all male hair burners are gay. Not all Broadway male dancers are gay. Not all male florists are gay. But the priesthood, like these other professions, do seem to attract a noticeably large amount of gays. The old joke about Talullah Bankhead stopping a priest at St. Patrick's during the processional of a midnight mass when she supposedly said, "Dahling, I love your dress but your purse is on fire!" is funny because it rings true!!! Father is often a sister (sissie for short), and it just seems absurd to deny it.
Do I care? As a gay clergy person myself, I certainly do not believe being gay should disqualify one from the priesthood (or any othe profession). Its the hypocrisy that I mind.
Next week, the U.S. Catholic Bishops will vote on a document that is meant to be more welcoming of gay people. The new policy will allow gay couples to have their children baptized. It will allow gay persons to come out to a priest and to attend Mass, but the Church will continue to maintain that homosexuality is disordered and it will continue to deny openly gay people positions of leadership. Healthy homosexuals who are self-actualized with self-esteem need not apply. Now there's a message!
The ecclesiastical version of Don't Ask Don't Tell is not a new policy. Hiding, lying, living on the religious down low has always been an option. The Church is not welcoming same-gender loving people. It is patronizing (and therefore demeaning)those who refuse to leave and making its many gay priests live a lie. This can hardly be the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. It certainly does not properly represent the rich spiritual traditions that exist within this flawed and oppressive political system. Rather, it seems like the worst of the Roman Empire continuing to thrive. Rome never fell; it just changed its name to Catholicism. Maybe its time for a new Reformation.