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Why Is the Homophobic Catholic Church Filled With Closeted Gay Priests?

Posted by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 3:45 AM
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2 moms liked this





I approached a director at Channel 4 back in 2000 with a proposal for a documentary on homosexuality and the Roman Catholic church. I had a simple pitch. "I want to show why my church is so anti-gay."

"And why is your church so anti-gay?," came back the obvious question. "Because it is so gay," I replied.

A furrowed brow invited further exposition. I then spelt out the logic. We interviewed clerics and ex-seminarians in the UK, US and Rome and uncovered a huge irony: the very institution that teaches that the homosexual orientation is "intrinsically disordered" attracts gay candidates for the priesthood in numbers way in excess of what one would expect, based on numbers in society at large. One seminary rector based on his own experience told me the number was at least 50%.

Gay Catholics like me will appreciate another irony with the news ofCardinal Keith O'Brien's resignation: that the very man whose trenchant rhetoric on the subjects of gay adoption and marriage has been brought down by accusations of improper same-sex behaviour from no less than four men who crossed his path in the 1980s, either as a seminary rector or as archbishop of Edinburgh. His decision not to participate in the papal conclave is not to be taken as an admission of guilt and he contests the accusations made against him. Nevertheless, it does raise some general questions about a possible relationship between the tone of anti-gay rhetoric and the identities of those who engage in such high-octane language on same sex attraction.

For our programme, Queer and Catholic, we interviewed two men from the English College in Rome who had fallen in love while training for the priesthood. In seminary they had tried to have open and frank discussions about homosexuality but were told by staff and many fellow students alike that this was not the done thing.

In the TV interview, one of them reported on the fact that it was frequently the very men who were out and about in Rome engaging in casual sexual acquaintances in the Monte Capitolino, a nearby park, who were often the most vehemently homophobic in the seminars on sexual ethics.

Building on this, the lesbian writer on queer theology, Elizabeth Stuart, in a fascinating deconstruction of "liturgy queens", made the observation that in her experience it was more often than not the very closeted clergy who deployed an almost neurotic obsession with the size and length of the altar cloth and ecclesiastical protocol as "their own way of dealing with their demons". We have to be careful of a simplistic reductio ad absurdum here. Love of aesthetics in liturgy does not automatically prove anything about one's sexual orientation. But I think Stuart had a point.

Of course, "inverted homophobia" as it has come to be known, doesn't only occur inside the Church of Rome. Colorado evangelical preacher Ted Haggard, married and father of five children, spent years assuring that LGBT individuals would be getting their fair share of hellfire and brimstone before his (male) lover spilled the beans. Republican Senator Richard Curtis, an opponent of gay rights legislation, had the misfortune to be caught with a young man on camera inside an erotic video store. Then there was George Rekers, Baptist minister and leading light of the Family Research Council, who had sloped off on a not-so-secret European holiday with a younger man.

The knee-jerk reaction is to scream "hypocrite", but I take a more measured view. The coming to light of these tales is a positive development. "Methinks the lady doth protest" is a well worn cliche, but from here on in, those who seek to cover their own guilty tracks by the uncharitable nature of their words know that a watching public is getting wiser to some of the unfortunate mind games that have been played out over the decades.

In the future, when as a gay Catholic I hear a senior cleric describing my orientation in hostile and uncompromising language, I might just want to ask a poignant question: is this really about me, or is it more about you?


http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-homophobic-catholic-church-filled-closeted-gay-priests?paging=off

by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 3:45 AM
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SilverSterling
by MrsSilverusSnape on Feb. 27, 2013 at 6:31 AM
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I didn't read the whole article but my belief as to why.. such strict moral restrictions on sex and procreation. Archaic views and Values of a Male dominated faith with little to no wiggle room for woman depending on the branch of Catholicism you follow.

lga1965
by Ruby Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 6:54 AM
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 It makes sense to me that men who voluntarily become "celibate" , forgo marriage to women and become Priests aren't heterosexual. I can't imagine a straight man deciding to NEVER be with a woman. And....since we are all born with the capacity for sexual feelings,urges, you can pretty much bet that they have feelings and are attracted to the same sex when they enter the Priesthood. I don't believe that it is true that being celibate is a test of their faith. That's BS..

 

romalove
by Roma on Feb. 27, 2013 at 6:57 AM
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I think the celibacy requirement of the Church attracts men who are hiding from their sexuality and proclivities.  They think being compelled not to act on their impulses will make them not act on their impulses.  I think this is the root cause of the larger number of gay priests than one would expect based on population as well as the number of molestation issues.

littlelamb303
by Bronze Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 7:55 AM
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I worked for the catholic church for a long time and I met a lot of gay priests.   I do believe they become priests to hide it. I also saw a church that tried to cover up their "sins", which disgusted me.   I saw so many unethical things go on over the years in that church.. I do not practice the religion anymore because of it.

Traci_Momof2
by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:56 AM
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 I think you are pretty much spot on with this.  They are trying to run away from their true sexual feelings and therefore they believe a life of forced celibacy is the answer.


Quoting romalove:

I think the celibacy requirement of the Church attracts men who are hiding from their sexuality and proclivities.  They think being compelled not to act on their impulses will make them not act on their impulses.  I think this is the root cause of the larger number of gay priests than one would expect based on population as well as the number of molestation issues.


 

Euphoric
by Thumper kid spanks on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:57 AM

 bump

juju40
by Bronze Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:53 AM

enough with this shit..gees...you act like the Catholic church is the "only"one with this problem..its not.This happens in all religions

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:59 AM

I think it is because the very regulations go against what scripture teaches - that every man should have his own wife, except for the few who know they are called to celibacy.  The RCC demands that all priests and sisters be celibate forever. 

Very few are called to celibacy.  VERY few.  There are thousands of Catholic priests who became priests/nuns for every reason from a true legitimate calling to Mom and Dad wanted a priest/nun in the family to free access to lots of other men/boys (or women). 

They have created the situation with unbiblical rules.  This is why we have a Bible in the first place, to follow its principles. 

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM
1 mom liked this

 

True, but the RCC is a huge institution with top down rule, and the problem is systemic over the last century.  The popes/cardinals knew about the molestations and exercised authority to simply moved the criminals around to new crops of victims in parish after parish.  Not a situation that arises frequently in other organizations. 

Quoting juju40:

enough with this shit..gees...you act like the Catholic church is the "only"one with this problem..its not.This happens in all religions


 

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 12:03 PM

 I agree.  I is (used to be, anyway) a perfect hiding place with a veneer of respectability. 


Quoting Traci_Momof2:

 I think you are pretty much spot on with this.  They are trying to run away from their true sexual feelings and therefore they believe a life of forced celibacy is the answer.

 

Quoting romalove:

I think the celibacy requirement of the Church attracts men who are hiding from their sexuality and proclivities.  They think being compelled not to act on their impulses will make them not act on their impulses.  I think this is the root cause of the larger number of gay priests than one would expect based on population as well as the number of molestation issues.

 

 


 

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