Saturday, September 17, 2005

witch hunt

Back when I was in high school, there was a priest who was told by the bishop that he was not allowed to preach to Dignity, which was a gay and lesbian Catholic organization. The priest defied these orders, continued to preach to the group and then, eventually, came out as a gay man on the front page of a major newspaper in an effort to draw attention to the issue. He explained that, while he identified as a gay man, he had -- just as straight priests had -- taken a vow of celibacy and had been faithful to that vow.

I had great respect for this man, not only for the way he stood up for his principles in this situation, but how he did so in other situations and for the support and confidence that he gave to me. Almost twenty years later, I am able to recognize the role that he played in helping me to become who I am today.

I inevitably think of him (from what I understand, he is no longer a priest) when I hear of the Vatican's orders to hunt down homosexuality within the seminaries in the United States. Why just the U.S.? Well, as opposed to doing any real soul-searching, the Vatican has chosen to blame the childhood abuse scandal in the U.S. Catholic church on the presence of gay priests versus the presence of sick men who want to have sex with children because of their own inadequacies and need for power.

The victims deserve better, the church deserves better and Father Richard deserves better.

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