Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Father, Forgive Him

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Father, Forgive Him

Article excerpt

For most of the past 30 years, as the gay rights movement has progressed and as Catholicism has undergone profound shifts, a gay Catholic has found herself with a growing conflict but not entirely a contradiction. The church never taught that gay people were somehow evil, and it told us in 1975 that the homosexual condition was not in itself sinful. A distinction was drawn between being gay and having sex that couldn't make a baby. "Hate the sin, love the sinner' was the guiding mantra. It was something with which one might in conscience disagree. But it wasn't in itself an expression of homophobia. Heterosexuals weren't allowed to have sex without intending to make babies either.

For many of us in the church, this meant that sex as part of a committed gay relationship was no more sinful than a straight married couple using contraception--which is to say that many gay Catholics were in no worse a place than most straight Catholics. Most of us learned to tune out the church hierarchy on sexual matters and to live as moral a life as we could. Once it became clear that the hierarchy was also complicit in mass child rape, its moral authority on sexual matters became even more threadbare.

But that has now changed. The Vatican under Benedict XVI has declared that even celibate gay men are unfit for the priesthood, unworthy to serve God. It has declared that gayness itself is immoral, a psychological disorder that renders even celibate homosexuals moral lepers. Do not be fooled by the spin. The only exception the Vatican makes is for those who may have had temporary same-sex desires in adolescence but have overcome them. Translation: heterosexuals who had passing same-sex urges as teenagers. Gays as such need no longer apply.

Remember that astonishing picture of Father Mychal Judge, the openly gay priest for New York City's firefighters, carried dead out of the World Trade Center--an emblem of service and holiness and courage? …

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