Paul Wilson: World Ponders Gay Issues as Pack Preps for Pope Pick

857900E1-381F-49DF-918C-B1B22DAC7A75_w640_r1_s_cx8_cy15_cw92Talk about a gay, old time…

As we await the rise of smoke from the Sistine Chapel, a number of things don’t seem so black and white with the Catholic Church these days where homosexuality in the Priesthood is concerned…

Daily Dish publisher Andrew Sullivan made a comment yesterday on Chris Matthews‘ show about whether the Catholic Church’s view of same sex marriage would ever change and if that issue might affect which Cardinal would be elected Pope.

“There are so many gays electing the next Pope that who knows whether that would happen,” Sullivan said.

Did he really just say that?

Andrew’s theory is that the leadership of the church is gay.

“You mean the cardinals?” Matthews asked.

“Right,” Sullivan answered. “I think the most interesting thing about that poll (on same sex marriage) is that all Christian denominations favor this, except white evangelicals. That’s the Republican base. They cannot compromise on this, and that issue is going to kill them, as it’s killing the Church.”

For the past five years I’ve had two book ideas in the back of my head, homosexuality in the priesthood – more specifically, AIDS in the priesthood – being one of them. Because it suffers a death rate four times that of any profession or group.

When the Catechism states “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can be approved,” why is it the single biggest problem from the lowest to the highest levels of the Church?

The topic caught my attention again as the Pope resigned unexpectedly amid rumors for his abrupt exit attributed to an undercurrent of controversy and dissension within the “gay contingent of the Vatican.”

And on the heels of the Pope’s announcement, we saw the extremely popular Archbishop of Edinburgh, Cardinal-1resign over unwanted sexual advances. The Archbishop would have attended the Conclave and voted on the new Pope.

Which brings us back to Sullivan’s controversial comment…

Just after the Pope’s resignation, I spoke to Hearne about doing a multi part series on this topic and he thought it worth pursuing. So this is the first of what I expect to be several installments on the topic. It’s not going to be pro/anti gay or pro/anti Catholic.

I have large groups of both gay and Catholic friends that I love dearly, so that’s not going to be the focus of the series. I’ll to attempt to uncover the why? How it came to be the problem it is today.

There have been thousands of stories written on this topic but no one has ever addressed the question of how or why this has become the problem it has within the ranks.

savageWe had an example in our own city with Father Thom Savage – the President of Rockhurst – a well-known local celebrity and activist who lost his battle with AIDS in 1999. Father Thom was more-or-less openly gay, by most accounts, or so it seemed to some.

I have my suspicions, but at this point they are little more than that.

I’ll examine them in the upcoming stories. I’ll interview activists, Priests and hopefully one very famous one for insights into this issue. But back to my initial suppositions:

There are about 370,000 Priests and Bishops in the Church worldwide, according to CARA, a not-for-profit, Georgetown University affiliated research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church.

So is it just a basic issue of math and percentages?

I don’t think you can assign a percentage rule of thumb until you address the issue; might gays may be more attracted to the priesthood? If we just did the conventional math, that could lead one to believe there could be around 20,000 to 40,000 gays in the priesthood.

Second, as I’ve seen firsthand being a product of the 1960s and 1970’s, there was far less of a wide acceptance of homosexuality then. I was friends with a prominent Catholic family who had a son so clearly gay there was no mistaking it. And his mother and father’s continuous topic of conversation at any opportunity was, “Our SON was chosen by God to be a Priest.”

The term gay was never mentioned, it couldn’t have been very easily then.

Did that happen to a lot of young men whose families pigeonholed them into the priesthood to save face and not have to deal with a gay son?

Third, does the issue of celibacy have anything to do with it?

I’ve heard that offered as a reason, but if that was the case, why wouldn’t there also be a disproportionate number of heterosexual affairs?

Fourth, is there an undercurrent of secrecy that keep Gay Priests from getting tested for AIDS or venereal diseases?  And if so, might that veil of secrecy lend itself to even more high risk behavior?

fathercutiebookFinally, I’m not going to touch the child abuse issue.

I don’t see that as being related. Being gay doesn’t lend itself to pedophilia or predatory sexual behavior anymore than it would to heterosexuals. Those are two different issues and totally unrelated.

If any of you have anything you’d like to add, feel free to comment. If you know a Priest willing to talk to me, I’d be more than happy to have that opportunity.

Again, it’s not going to be a hit piece but I think it begs an answer as to why it’s become the issue it is.


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34 Responses to Paul Wilson: World Ponders Gay Issues as Pack Preps for Pope Pick

  1. smartman says:

    The book Goodbye Good Men by Michael Rose provides the most comprehensive and authoritative peek under the robe about the liberal homosexual takeover of the priesthood beginning back in the 50’s.

    Other than that I defer to DL Hughley who said, “I believe in God. I just don’t believe all these guys that say they work for him.”

  2. paulwilsonkc says:

    Thanks, Smarty; that book will become another victim of my Amazon One Click Disorder.

  3. Super Dave says:

    Interesting subject Paul and one I have a lot of questions about so waiting to see if maybe you will provide some answers for me in this series.

  4. laurie says:

    In some tribal cultures the gay people male or female would often be the “medicine man” working as the spiritual center for the tribe. Makes you wonder.

  5. KCMonarch says:

    “Being gay doesn’t lend itself to pedophiles or predatory sexual behavior…” TRUE

    Unless the individual is in a situation where his sexuality is “veiled in secrecy.” Then such person might pursue opportunity where it is most easily obtainable and controlled. The feelings are so vehemently repressed, the eventual outlet has often resulted in crimes against the most helpless victims. Children. Catholic children. Most often Catholic boys.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      KCM; I don’t even want to go there, but a good deal of the abuse cases have been post pubescent boys, making it a little different issue than strictly pedophilia, if we’re parsing words. It’s a really odd mix.

  6. Veronica Hornsby says:

    Oooooh! I am SO appreciative of your masterful writing style and interesting writing topics! It’s a great distraction from my laundry, my poor marmee’s goiter and arthritis and my boyfriend’s CONSTANT need for beer, having his back scratched and propensity for stupid, slapstick comedies that make me want to peel my eyeballs and live on tranquilers. God, my own life drives me crazy! Well, ANYWAY, you are some kinda wonderful with your writing skills. Thanks for adding to the conglomerate intelligence of writings everywhere. Actually, you’ve surpassed so many as you’ve come out if the closet as a local, funny man with smarts. I’m looking forward to your series. By the way, be careful not to make the Pope angry.. I hear he’s kinda like God or something!

  7. Mizzougrrl says:

    Paul, Great start to a tough subject. Looking forward to future installments!!!

  8. paulwilsonkc says:

    Thanks, Mizzzzouguuurrrl! I agree, it’s ugly and I’m afraid the answers, if found, could be uglier.

  9. Rainbow Man says:

    Newsflash to Non-Catholics….. We Catholics are quite aware that a very large percentage of our priests would not be heterosexual if they were not priests. I think Catholics are still trying to decide if it is a problem or not… and it is an awkward predicament. I would even go as far as saying that Catholics are sympathetic to the gay disposition on a huge scale. Catholics hold priests in high regard. We do love and respect our priests.

    If you are an ambitious man raised Catholic and you are gay, the Priesthood would be an extremely attractive career choice. You don’t have to get married to a woman, where procreation is strongly encouraged. You can have a sense of community and family with your flock while not behaving in a consumated hetero way. You are afforded most basic living provisions by the Church. This is a profession that is held in high honor… Clerics are revered. This is a very fulfilling career.

    Lets face it… A Catholic raised kid at 24, just after running through a slew of co-eds for five years in Lawrence, Manhattan, or Columbia is not waking up one day and saying…. “Hey… I want to be a priest. ”

    It is a different guy taking that call. And it is a mystery to all of us that were not called… and it is a very holy thing. Being a priest is a GIANT responsibility. Most of us are not performing last rites on the dying with their families standing around, counseling on many levels to many people, managing a parish, always being available, saying Mass every morning… it is an incredible amount of work.

    Rabbis are married. Maybe that would even out the proportions… I just do not know.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      So, Rainbow, there in lies MY question; the why behind it. Do you maybe think there is a disproportionate number of gays because of what you just said? Makes total sense to me. And if correct, you are serving in a role that states, “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can be approved”, and you have to back up that statement, how comfortable could you possibly be in your own skin as a gay priest?
      Its all a huge mystery to me and why I started researching it 6-8 years ago.

      Like I said, Im a gay Priest, but Im serving in a church that would call me intrinsically disordered?

  10. balbonis moleskine says:

    I went to a fairly prominent Jesuit University for my professional diploma after undergraduate school.

    Our Dean, a Priest, was a lisping homosexual with mild asperger’s who would wander around the small but manicured quad for hours on end with giant can headphones on (before Beats by Dre were cool) mumble-lisping to himself. It was a whispered secret he had been moved here in the 70s due to exposure of a consentual adult homosexual relationship.

    Nice guy but odd. Hilariously enough he was one of the best deans I had in my over-education. Most are openly hostile to students or have a veneer of PC to hide their lack of care. Because everybody knew his deal and he had no social graces he was always a straight shooter (no pun intended) and helpful.

    I had never been exposed to Catholic or Jesuit schooling before but it seemed like there were a lot of hidden-in-plain sight homosexuals who wore the cloth there. Not that they were touchin’ the chillins pedos but it was pretty clear that they loved the Good Book and the company of men.

    And I’m not some Catholic expert but I believe according to church rules they can be gay in their heart as long as they don’t break the rules regarding celibacy….

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      So, balbonis, my question again, why? Are there an inordinate number of gays in the Priesthood, or is it just how the math breaks down, regardless of profession? And if the numbers are dramatically higher, why?
      Tony Compolo, a prominent evangelical has the same position as you.

  11. Irishguy says:

    When you calculate the AIDS death rate among Roman Catholic priests and compare it to “any group,” be sure you do a better job that Judy Thomas did 12 or so years ago when she concluded that the AIDS death rate among priests was “four times higher than the general (U.S.) population.”

    Not only was she comparing a cohort of single, adult males to a cohort that included children, women and heterosexual males, she was also comparing a cohort at one point in time that had decreased in size (there were far fewer Catholic priests in 2000 than there was in, say, 1970), to a cohort (U.S. population) that was growing and continuing to grow.

    So in order to get even a somewhat relevant comparison, compare single, adult male priests to single, adult males in general, who will be both homosexual and heterosexual, just like priests are. And even in that case, take care because you are still comparing a decreasing population to an increasing one.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      I understand and agree, but at the same time, there isn’t going to be a perfect apples/apples comparison unless you do a strict comparison of gay Priests to other gay men. Even then I think the veil of secrecy will play in to the level of risk in behavior and the likely reluctance to seek regular testing/treatment.

      • Irishguy says:

        Exactly, which is why you should be careful before making statements such as this:

        “For the past five years I’ve had two book ideas in the back of my head, homosexuality in the priesthood – more specifically, AIDS in the priesthood – being one of them. Because it suffers a death rate four times that of any profession or group.”

  12. Robertoe says:

    A woman starts dating a doctor. Before too long, she becomes pregnant and they don’t know what to do. About nine months later, just about the time she is going to give birth, a priest goes into the hospital for a prostate gland infection. The doctor says to the woman,
    “I know what we’ll do. After I’ve operated on the priest, I’ll give the baby to him and tell him it was a miracle.”
    “Do you think it will work?” she asks.
    “It’s worth a try.” he says. So, the doctor delivers the baby and then operates on the priest.
    After the operation he goes in to the priest and says, “Father, you’re not going to believe this.”.
    “What?” asks the priest, “what happened?”.
    “You gave birth to a child!”.
    “But that’s impossible!” says the priest.
    “I just did the operation,” insists the doctor, “it’s a miracle! Here’s your baby.”
    About fifteen years go by, and the priest realises he must tell his son the truth. One day, he sits the boy down and says,
    “Son, I have something to tell you. I’m not your father.” The son says,
    “What do you mean, you’re not my father?” The priest replies,
    “I am your mother. The archbishop is your father.”.

  13. Irishguy says:

    “I was friends with a prominent Catholic family who had a son so clearly gay there was no mistaking it.”

    Wow, Paul.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Irish, Im interested in your “Wow, Paul” comment. As I stated earlier, that or this wasn’t meant anti gay or Catholic. If you have gay friends, Im sure you have some who are unmistakeably…gay. Thats all I meant by that.

    • Hot Carl says:

      What’s so “wow” about that? Some men are easily identifiable as gay and some are not at all.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        My point, exactly, HOT. I thought maybe I offended Irish by saying it was clear he was gay. I mean, its clear Im FAT.

      • Irishguy says:

        And how, pray tell, are they “easily identifiable” as gay? They don’t behave in a sufficiently “masculine” enough manner perhaps?

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          No, Irish, I’ve got gay friends more masculine than you and me combined; while I’m sure you meant this in a manner other than how I’m addressing it, and as I said earlier, I’m certain you have gay friends who are clearly….gay.

  14. Rainbow Man says:

    Paul.. You are right.. A gay priest must feel conflicted… as would any Catholic engaging in any non-marital activity… But it is the Church of redemption.. This is one complex issue and I look forward to your future takes….

  15. Libertarian says:

    I feel so popeless right now…..

    Good write, Paul. Looking forward to the next chapter.

  16. mike says:

    While I think not being able to get married and have a family has to be a major reason for this, we may never have definite answers. These gay priests are not likely to come out and talk willingly about their sexual orientation for obvious reasons.

  17. balbonis moleskine says:

    I am so happy they elected a Jesuit! And someone who is humble and can represent the Catholics outside of Europe.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Balbonious; as a non Catholic, I can see several positives. The Hispanic, Latino, South Americas are the fastest growing demo for the Church. Also, I could see a potential lesser tolerance for some of the most problematic issues facing the Church today. I give it two thumbs up.

  18. paulwilsonkc says:

    My name’s Pope Francis, but my friends call me Psycho. Any of you call me Pope Francis, and I’ll kill you. Any of you touch my stuff, I’ll kill ya. And any of you “homo’s” touch me, I’ll kill ya.
    -Pope Francis

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