07Jan Shamed Cardinal urged to tell life story by President McAleese

CARDINAL Keith O’Brien has been urged to tell his life story to help gay people in all walks of life who have felt the need to pretend to be heterosexual.

The call came from former Irish President Mary McAleese, who said the Catholic Church had been in denial over homosexuality for decades and that it was “not so much the elephant in the room but a herd of elephants”.

Speaking during a lecture at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Mrs McAleese said: “I would have thought Cardinal Keith O’Brien, in telling the story of his life – if he was willing to do that – could have been of great assistance to gay people, not just in the Church but elsewhere, who felt over many, many years constrained to pretend to be heterosexual while at the same time acting a different life.”

Mrs McAleese said that, like so many closet homosexuals, Keith O’Brien hoped to divert attention from himself by raising his voice “in the most homophobic way”.

However this, she said, was a reflection of the Vatican’s attitude to gay people in general.

She said: “Things written by Benedict, for example, were completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding, and to the understanding of most Catholics nowadays in relation to homosexuality.

“Nowadays, it is not something that is perceived as something that is intrinsically disordered. Homosexual conduct is not seen as evil.”

Mrs McAleese drew a ­comparison with the Church’s attitude to Jews. It took almost two millennia formally to revise the “Christ-killer” slander which had been repeated down the decades.

She said: “I don’t like my Church’s attitude to gay people. I don’t like ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’. If you are the so-called sinner, who likes to be called that? We also know that within the priesthood a very large number of priests are gay.”

Mrs McAleese studied suicide among young Irish males, many of them gay Catholics who grew up being told their sexuality was “intrinsically disordered” and “evil”.

When she took this research to the new papal nuncio in Dublin she was surprised by his response.

She said she was asked: “What do you want me to do? Do you want us to turn our back on tradition?” Her answer was: “Yes, if it’s wrong.”

The views of Mrs McAleese were expressed before recent events surrounding Father Matthew Despard, a priest who broke ranks and spoke publicly about an alleged culture of ­homosexual bullying in the Church.

This culminated on Sunday when parishioners at John Ogilvie Roman Catholic Church in High Blantyre were handed letters from Bishop Joseph Toal denouncing Father Despard, their priest until he was supended by the Church.

Father Despard was condemned by Bishop Toal for questioning his authority and instructions. While some parishioners accepted the criticism of Father Despard, many were highly critical of the whole idea of a pulpit denunciation and felt the issues raised should not be brushed under the carpet.

All of this controversy flowed from the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien after he admitted behaving inappropriately towards young priests in his charge.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said the intervention by Bishop Toal was intended to urge everyone to work together to heal past wounds. The church made no specific comment Mrs McAleese’s intervention.

 

42 Responses

  1. Shaun the Sheep

    Mrs McAleese might be accused of committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by attributing to mere men what is truly the truth of God Himself: that homosexual acts are very grave sins, offenses against God, man, and nature. We need to pray for Mrs McAleese and anyone who is influenced by her own confusion and sadness.

  2. Mary O Vallely

    I would hope that Keith O’Brien will, in time, tell his story but I do think it is too early, that he needs time to reflect, to pray and to heal. Despite the obvious hurt and harm he caused I feel very sorry for him. How many more are/were in his position and were never caught simply because of our ignorance and immaturity in discussing this elephant in the sacristy.
    I was talking recently with a woman, a very devout daily mass goer, a woman of my own age, who told me, almost in a conspiratorial whisper, that she knew ‘some gays’ and that they were actually ‘really nice people.’ It stopped me in my tracks as the implication was that ‘gays’ were almost another species altogether and not totally human! How many more decent mass goers think like that? We all need to grow up and accept the fact that there are many gay priests and that there is no sense of shame in being open about one’s natural sexuality.
    Good on Mary McAleese to bring this subject out into the public domain. The sooner we all get to grips with the realisation that God created us, female and male, homosexual and heterosexual, and that we are each made in His image, equally loved by Him, the sooner we can perhaps learn to do what He asked us to do, love one another.

  3. john

    There is always going to be an ideal for marriage centered on God that includes man and woman. Men and women were created in the image of God who is both male and female and thus the best expression of this divinity is in the complementary marriage of one man and woman. The best chance for happiness is in this relationship and the best place to rear children. All other alternatives ultimately lead to a life of misery and frustration. Surely the priesthood or religious life is not the place for gay people as it seems to be a contradiction to profess religion and at the same time act differently by living a lie.

  4. Shaun the Sheep

    Mary, you’re saying God created people homosexual or heterosexual, but even the most sympathetic science doesn’t support that claim. As we look to the Genesis account, God created male and female and intended them to populate the earth. Homosexual acts play no part in the creative plan of God and where such acts occur, they are the result of some disorder. For example, in animals, such behaviour is typically the result of stress or of dominance behaviour. In humans, no less, they are indicative of some problem. We do not, I repeat, do not serve people by denying them the healing truth of the human person revealed in JESUS CHRIST. If people are encouraged to pursue a homosexual lifestyle (and that IS a choice – to pursue these attractions by seeking to realise them in homosexual acts), then we condemn them to a lifetime of sadness and of missing the point about life, which is not about the self or of trying to fix oneself in the broken arms of another person as broken as we are (and that goes for everyone), but about JESUS and about how HE alone can fulfil us and heal us, in His own time, and meanwhile we carry our cross, whatever it is.

  5. Angelina

    Shaun the sheep has it exactly right. Also it seems evident that people who have homosexual urges are in no different a situation than single unmarried Catholics-they are called to celibacy. That is the truth of the matter, however unpopular the truth may prove to be.

  6. Brendan Butler

    The problem with our catholic basis of morality is natural law. It’s all so neat and tidy: physics and chemistry have laws and so has human behaviour which is called the law of nature. It’s an iron law which is interpreted and enunciated by the magisterium . The natural law dictates that men and women form sexual relationships which inevitably leads to the conclusion that all other relationships are unnatural. Gay relationships are therefore unnatural or in theological terms sinful.
    However, when we present the Church as a family what mother or father would exclude their gay son or daughter from the family meal. God is love and when any relationship is based on love then God is present in such a relationship whether it is gay or straight. It is an affront against God to assert that any loving relationship is unnatural and sinful. Most probably the meals of Jesus had gay people among his invitees . Maybe some of his disciples were gay as then as now they bore the stigma of exclusion.

  7. Joe O'Leary

    NCR online had to shut down its comment boxes recently because of an invasion by homophobic trolls. This experience suggests that the ACP would greatly improve the authority and value of their comboxes if they insisted that people would use their real names.

  8. Pew View

    That Mary McAleese can make such statements and get away without being challenged in our Media says so much about the level of both public debate and bias in Ireland.
    To Mary I would say:

    I know of no homophobic comments by Keith O Brien. He publicly opposed Same Sex Marriage. So did Pope Francis. Is the Pope also homophobic for that ?

    So ‘ sin’ is rightly defined not by Scripture or the Church but by something she calls the ‘modern’ or ‘scientific’ view ? That would make abortion, anonymous surrogacy, suicide by choice all okay. She is using ‘ science’ to bolster her argument in the way that she and others use or rather mis-use the word ‘rights’. ‘ Science’ as she uses the term reflects the attitudes not the findings of current social thinkers.

    The ‘Christ killers’ jibe against the Jews on the part of Christians is a bit of an old chestnut at this point in time. We know that Jews have suffered most in the last two centuries at the hands of Nazis (who were as anti-Christian as anti-Jew) and that is was Christians and Catholics including the Vatican in its good offices who most came to their aid both publicly and privately. How many ‘ righteous Gentiles’ are found amongst the ranks of confessing Catholics and Christians?

    Not nice being dubbed a ‘ sinner’ ? Oh Mary you need to get yourself away from the Church as fast as your legs will take you ! To be in any Christian congregation is to acknowledge yourself as a sinner. The Pope when asked in the now famous interview who Gorge Bergoglio was answered. ” ..I am a sinner.”
    It is the fashion in the world Mary McAleese belongs to to affirm every behavior if it can be defended as personal freedom so long as it does not transgress the unwritten ‘scripture’ of political correctness. Thus she and other public square opiners have truckloads to say about the alleged oppression of homosexuals but nothing about the carnage of abortion, the persecution of Christians in muslim regimes, the suppression of conscience amongst medical personnel in hospitals around the world.

    It is astonishing that in her study of gay people and suicide she has overlooked the fact that there are more suicides amongst gay people in Scandinavia where liberal attitudes prevail than in Muslim countries.

  9. Matthew O'Hora

    I am always amused to hear what Mary McAleese says! She seems to see herself as some sort of Expert on Church matters and some see her as a Martyr for the things she says!! Also, there are a certain group of individuals (always the same ones) who are only to willing to back her up! For as long as we have these people making their anti Church views public we will have no renewal in the Church in Ireland! In my opinion they have a cheek to tell Cardinal Keith O’Brien what he should be doing!! Pray for him!

  10. Jim Killeen

    I was disappointed to read the accounts of Mary McAleese’s lecture. If the published accounts are accurate the lecture is of a qualty far below that of which Mrs McAleese is capable. I did not see any rigourous theological critique of the church’s teaching, merely a statement that she ‘does not like’ it. Similarly I would like to know the basis for her statement as quoted that ‘We also know that within the priesthood a very large number of priests are gay.” Who are the we that know it, and on what basis.

    Very poor show from a woman who is capable of far better than that.

  11. Shaun the Sheep

    Brendan, the Holy Scriptures rebuke you: 1 Cor. 6:

    ”Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes* nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

    Note ‘used to be’ – they had left sin behind! Homosexual acts are a defilement of love and to suggest that God is present in them and blesses them is blasphemy.

    Joe, we’ve been over this before. NCR shut down the comments for couple reasons, one of which is they couldn’t deal with the intellectual comments from Catholics. I can’t use my real name as I am discerning vocations and so would you exclude my contribution just because I can’t use my real name, and even if I did use a ‘real name’ you could not be sure it was my real name! I’m being more sincere in using a handle like Shaun the Sheep cos then you know I am not being insincere or in any way deceitful! Would you suggest that the Scripture I just quoted is ‘homophobic’, whatever that is?

  12. Shaun the Sheep

    Indeed Jim. It is a very shallow contribution with no intellectual rigour or understanding of Catholic Tradition. In my view, Mary McAleese is bang out of order. She has no business shining the light of suspicion on all the priests of Ireland as she has just done, who are under a lot of pressure as it is. It could be described as corporate calumny. It’s totally out of order. At the risk of sounding like Pope Francis, if a priest is doing his very best to follow JESUS, is striving to live a holy and chaste life, and striving to promote the teachings of the Church and not his own opinion, then nobody should be poking around like Mary McAleese is or casting aspersions. Of course, this is just my opinion, but I might well be onto something.

  13. Con Devree

    Brendan Butler (7)
    “when any relationship is based on love then God is present in such a relationship.”

    Any relationship??

  14. Willie Herlihy

    Shaun the Sheep @4
    The Catholic Church has always had a fondness for literal interpretations of Scripture, as poor old Galileo found out to his cost, when he was almost burned at the stake, for stating a scientific fact i.e. the earth went around the sun and not the other way around. Because of the following passage in scripture.
    Joshua 10:13
    AND THE SUN STOOD STILL, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.

    The same logic applies to the The Book of Genesis, it must not be interpreted literally.
    God has given Man a brain and the intelligence to discover, THAT BOTH THE WORLD AND MAN EVOLVED, OVER MILLIONS OF YEARS.

    God is love; if that is so? I fail to understand, how you can have black and white answers, to fundamental questions about human sexual orientation.

  15. Joe O'Leary

    Since this thread has sunk to the bottom already, it is hardly worth correcting misprisions about the use of scripture that are based on a lack of reflection. I Corinthians 6:9 is a conventional vice list that Paul rattles off to make a general point. It may not even refer to “homosexuals” in any general sense but to specific categories of debauchees known to its audience. But even if the text is understood to condemn people on the basis of a physical practice (as “catamites” or “sodomites”, to use the horrid old jargon), adult Christians today are no more bound to take this as infallible unalterable law than they are to bound to take literally the statements made on the same authority and with even greater emphasis that all Cretans are liars and rogues, that slaves should obey their masters, that women should be silent in church, that Jews are the spawn of Satan. Someone who appealed to the divine authority of such texts would rightly be seen as a misogynist, Cretan-hater, anti-Semite, etc.
    .
    To apply I Co. 6:9 to gay folk in general or to a loving gay couple would be monstrously homophobic.
    .
    pew view dismisses the analogy with the anti-Jewish rhetoric that poisoned western civilization and that was produced and fomented by the church, giving as his basis for dismissal the argument that things were far worse for Jews under the anti-Christian regimes of Hitler and Stalin. Yet if popes had not shut up Jews in ghettos, made them wear a distinctive sign exposing them to segregation, discrimination and the risk of physical violence, and spoken of them contemptuously as carnal, blind, and punished by God with perpetual slavery, the final paroxysm of Hitler would not have happened. That is why the Church now eats humble pie, altering its doctrine in Nostra Aetate par. 4, and apologizing to the Jews over and over again, and rightly. A similar apology is due to the millions of gay men and women robbed of happiness and somethings of their life by the mistaken anti-gay policies of the church throughout the centuries.

  16. Joe O'Leary

    “homosexual acts are a defilement of love and to suggest that God is present in them is blasphemy” or, alternatively, “homosexual acts are an expression of love and to suggest that God is present in them is quite in accord with the essential principles of the New Testament”

  17. Pew View

    I do not know where Jim Kileen gets his conviction that Mary McAleese is capable of better, more rigorous theological critque? Where would i find it ?

  18. Mary O Vallely

    Oh but some of you are very harsh altogether! To those quoting Scripture to justify such hard hearted views on the many people who do not conform to the norm of heterosexuality, it would do you good to heed the wise words of Fr Richard Rohr. He advises us to try to interpret Scripture the way that Jesus did.
    “Jesus consistently ignored or even denied exclusionary, punitive and triumphalistic texts in his own Jewish Bible in favour of texts that emphasise inclusion, mercy and justice for the oppressed.”
    Shaun the sheep @12, it is good that you are ‘discerning vocations’. I pray that the Holy Spirit guides you along the right path for you. As I may well be 3 times your age, allow me to give you one piece of advice. Cultivate tenderness above all. Listen to others but listen also to that voice in your own heart. You have courage and passion as is obvious in your willingness to engage on this forum. I wish you well on your journey to a peaceful answer to your vocation.
    Noel Healy @6, you may well sincerely believe that priests in the ACP, and therefore all of their supporters, are “servants of Satan.” Well, God love you if you feel like that but God also loves me and each and every single one of us and I hope and pray that the spirit of compassion, tenderness and tolerance seeps into your heart and allows you to listen attentively to those with whom you struggle. Still, it is good to be honest with each other and some day, le cuidiú Dé, we will reach a greater understanding of each other.

  19. Sean (Derry)

    Willie @ 15, you (and Galileo) might be interested in a documentary movie, “The Principle” due for release in Spring.
    Here is a link to a trailer:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8cBvMCucTg

  20. Eddie Finnegan

    As one of “the poor dupes ground down under the (Roman Caaatholic) system” [‘Paisley: Genesis to Revelation, Face to Face with Eamonn Mallie’-BBC/NI Monday 13 Jan], I am greatly relieved that Ian still loves me. Would that Noel Healy, Shaun the Sheep, Pew View and Matthew O’Hora could even rise to the ledge of Ian’s small window of open-mindedness in some regards.
    That there are many gay priests and always have been is without doubt. Common Sense asks why wouldn’t there be? As Brendan@7 says, there must have been gay people at his various meal tables. Chances are, surely, there would have been one or two gay men among the 12, the 72, and certainly many among the (?)120 on whom the Holy Spirit descended. I’d be amazed and incredulous if someone were to tell me that there were no gay priests among the 54 ordained from my Maynooth class in 1968, or among the professors who taught us, or amog the bishops who presided over us. Brendan didn’t go on to ask: if Jesus had lived longer, or in a different culture, might He Himself have come out? Well, why not? And why should that affect our Faith?
    [Oh dear, I’m afraid my old friend Ian has just fallen out of love with me! Good while it lasted. I must indeed be the AntiChrist.]

  21. Bob Hayes

    Brendan (no. 7) ‘It is an affront against God to assert that any loving relationship is unnatural and sinful.’

    Do you really believe ANY loving relationship? Are you saying that adulterous relationships, polygamous relationships, secret affairs and consenting incestuous relationships are not sinful so long as the relationships are ‘loving’?

  22. Pew View

    I do not think it reflects confidence in one’s position when one starts to call time on a debate, take umbrage, berate the general decency of opponents, shift ground ( as in demanding disclosure of identity), things that are irrelevant to the issue under discussion.
    Joe, I should not need to tell you that St Paul has three condemnations of homosexuality. Placed together they iron out any ambiguity that might arise if we had to rely on one alone. Jesus in his tough uncompromising teaching on marriage leaves no place for sexual activity of whatever kind outside the marriage commitment ( marriage between a man and a woman, husband and wife ). To suggest that Jesus is soft, yielding and non judgmental is a nothing but PC revisionism. You cannot understand Jesus or Paul without embracing the mystery of the Cross, of self-denial, re-birth and grace. According to what I read in this thread St Paul ( and surely Pope Francis too in his robust condemnation of SSM while Cardinal in Argentina) are ” homophobic trolls”. To refuse to accept that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexual behavior, to hold that marriage and family are exclusively the privilege and responsibility of one man and one woman, to hold that a homosexual lifestyle is at the very least problematic if for no other reason than the extremely small social demographic involved is not to be homophobic or even unsympathetic, is not to exclude anyone ‘from the table’. To so characterize those of us who argue on this side of the argument is simply untrue. It is also unjust.

  23. Paddy Ferry

    I think this must be the most distasteful discourse we have ever had on this site. I have found it disturbing. Thank God for the enlightened contributions from Mary OV, Brendan, Joe, Willie and Eddie. I certainly agree with Joe that the homophobes who hide behind their cowardly cloak of anonymity should not be given space on this site to vent their hateful, offensive bile. Indeed, I think the same should apply to those who do disclose their identity. I am also shocked that Irish people would try to rubbish Mary McAleese. (Cardinal Law and Mary Ann Glendon would be well pleased.) During her fourteen years as President she was one reason why I, as an Irish person living abroad, could walk with my head held high. She has, also, always been a devout, well-informed, adult Catholic, it should be said.

    Jim Killeen asks “who are the we that know it, and on what basis?” Well, I presume among “the we that know it” are those of us who have been reading what Fr. Donald Cozzens has been researching and writing about this subject for the last decade at least. His book “The Changing Face of the Priesthood” should be read by anyone who is genuinely interested in this topic.

    Fr. Kieran, an English priest who contributes to this site, told us that the writings of Donald Cozzens is prescribed reading in his seminary.

    Fr. Cozzens, when Professor of Pastoral Theology and President-Rector of St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Cleveland, Ohio, became interested in the changing face of the priesthood one Fall — in the early 1990s, I think — when he observed the young first-years arriving at seminary and realised that most of them were young, gay men. He began his research by consulting his fellow rectors in seminaries in the US. Some years later he did further study of this subject but , this time, included the priesthood in Europe as well in his research. Donald Cozzens is a much respected scholar and his research methods would undoubtedly be properly, scientifically based and few would seriously question his findings. I am sure Mary McAleese is the kind of Catholic who would be familiar with the work of Fr. Cozzens.

  24. Pew View

    Regarding the Jews Joe, you must know they were persecuted from time immemorial. You can hardly lay this at the feet of Popes and the RC Church? Neither I presume will you suggest that the Muslim/Jewish animosity was fomented by the RC Church.

  25. Gene Carr

    When critics of particular Church doctrines and traditions start to talk about Galileo, it means they have already lost the argument.

  26. Fr. Kieren

    Hi Paddy (24),
    Cozzen’s books were recommended in the seminary I attended – over 10 years ago – the books contain nothing really remarkable (although it raised many eyebrows when first published), and as I remember his writings do not only cover the subject of homosexuality.

    I think Cozzen was highlighting that priests in the 21st century must develop as mature human beings, spiritually, emotionally and physically and of course I agree.

    However, although it is perhaps true to claim some priests are homosexual, that does not mean that the majority of us are.

  27. Darlene Starrs

    Just a quick thought…..Gayness for a priest is perhaps more acceptable than femaleness? I wonder if we would have to research the notion of whether Jesus chose any gay men among the twelve? I’m sure the magisterium will remain adamant, the 12, were neither female nor gay…but, clearly…there are gay priests…clearly then…there should be female priests? I probably haven’t added anything valuable to the discussion on this thread…but, I was struck by the idiocy.

  28. Fr. Kieren

    Hi Darlene,
    I’m not sure how to interpret your contribution. I think this thread is important, because although I disagree with the suggestion of Mary McAleese, I do feel that as the Church we should reflect deeply on the pastoral care offered to those of a homosexual inclination, this is in no way condoning activity that is sinful, but the language that is often employed is hurtful to many. My personal belief reflecting upon the gospel for tomorrow is that the Church should strive to gather all those called the beloved children of God, and enable them to become fully the person God sees and loves.
    The books written by Cozzens stem from a variety of concerns, seminary formation, human maturity and development, the abuse scandal/crisis, and perhaps the Vatican instruction that homosexuals should not be accepted in seminaries. All important issues in themselves that should be addressed, without jumping to the issue of women priests.

  29. Willie Herlihy

    Gene Carr @27
    Gene states and I quote “when critics of particular Church doctrines and traditions start to talk about Galileo, it means they have already lost the argument.”

    I was not criticising Church doctrine and traditions, merely using Galileo as an example of the Catholic Churches fondness, for literal interpretations of scripture.
    I was talking about Shaun the Sheep @4 where he stated as follows “As we look to the Genesis account, God created male and female and intended them to populate the earth”
    I said the following in reply to Shaun :
    The same logic applies to the The Book of Genesis; it must not be interpreted literally.
    God has given Man a brain and the intelligence to discover, THAT BOTH THE WORLD AND MAN EVOLVED, OVER MILLIONS OF YEARS.

    I will say this regarding human sexual orientation, if the church has been proved wrong about Galileo, is it not within the bounds of possibility, that they may be proved wrong about homosexuality, after all DNA was only finally discovered in 1953.

  30. Shaun

    The Vatican document referred to by Fr Kieran is quite nuanced. I think it makes the distinction between those who are homosexual (engaged in the lifestyle) and those persons who may have what I would call same-sex attractions. If this person is able to get to a place of happy resolution, healing, and wholeness (explained elsewhere by others), they could enter the seminary. But if they are attached to these attractions and/or desire to act them out, then they should not be admitted. That is my understanding. For the benefit of the readers, I include a link to the full text: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccatheduc/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_20051104_istruzione_en.html
    [Btw, I am dropping the ‘the sheep’ from my name. I have been clipped. I hope nobody minds!]

  31. Brendan Butler

    St Paul speaks about the essential qualities of love in 1 Corinthians 13. So when I find these qualities present in any human relationship surely it is right to state that the God as revealed to us by Jesus Christ is present there in the dynamic of this relationship. (Obviously love is not to be confused with lust as would be present in the procurement of sex for money etc.)

  32. Sean O'Conaill

    I do not know exactly what sciences bear on the question of the normality or otherwise of homosexuality but I would very much like to know more about that. There has been a vast change in the human understanding of sexuality since the 18th century Enlightenment, and as far as I am aware our episcopal magisterium has never reviewed all of that in a systematic and balanced way. Its failure to do so looks increasingly more like funk and obscurantism than wisdom.
    .
    At its worst Christian theology has seen sexuality as a source of inevitable death rather than life, and led would-be saints to throw themselves regularly into briar clumps and cesspits. That extreme has made it impossible to believe in a God who would on the one hand make us deeply sexual and on the other consign us to hell fire for our slightest sexual indulgence. At its worst the Enlightenment has invited us to see in sexuality our only fulfilment, and to indulge every sexual whim – with disastrous consequences for the stability of relationships and the security of children.
    .
    Somewhere in between, surely, there is a balanced, disciplined and happy medium – to do with the capacity of disciplined sexual union not only to allow us participate in the divine purpose of creation, but to heal our deepest emotional wounds. If our bishops are to help humanity to find that balance, and are to be persuasive on the issue of homosexuality, how can they fail to review critically what science can hypothetically reveal – drawing on the wisdom of the many good Christians knowledgeable and practised in these fields?
    .
    I will be praying for such an outcome. What I will not be doing is obsessing about the minutiae of the intimate sexual behaviour of those whose sexual orientation is different from my own, and fulminating about that. Neither the Gospels nor St Paul give encouragement to such an illness, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit would positively exclude it, calling our minds instead to kindness, self-restraint, peace and love. Those who question whether gay clergy could be prayerful are not convincing evidence that prayer works for themselves.

  33. carole young

    As the mother of a gay child i have felt utterly sickened by the language of hate and violence of many people on this thread. Clearly, they do not know Jesus.

  34. Fr. Kieren

    Shaun (32), I agree with your interpretation. I am concerned with some posters referring to demonic possession regarding priests who may be homosexual in orientation. Many good friends of mine have left active ministry (not the priesthood which is an impossibility) to get married, to follow the proposed argument they too are possessed which of course is a nonsense. Priests are human beings we too are weak and sinful, we do not refer to married individuals who break their promises of fidelity as being possessed nor should we refer the same to priests who may be homosexual by inclination. I am not justifying what I believe is sinful activity but come on can we have a grown up discussion!

  35. Fr. Kieren

    Shaun,
    I should also say, good luck on your discernment, I am not sure if you are in the UK or in Ireland, but as I said to a cousin of mine who was discerning his vocation at Maynooth for a time, if He is calling you it is well worth it, never easy, but worth it. I will pray for you. God Bless.

  36. Gene Carr

    Willie at 32; The point I was making is that perceptions of the Galileo case are much misunderstood. Galileo was not taken to task because he believed that the earth revolved around the sun. All educated men at the time including the inquisitors who examined him believed in that too, as did most medieval thinkers. The only “literalists” at the time who rejected the Copernican Theory were Luther and Calvin.

  37. Shaun

    Thanks Fr. Kieren.

  38. Joe O'Leary

    The Vatican instruction has indeed been read as meaning that gay seminarians are acceptable if they live their sexuality in a mature way, etc., but this reception is of course a far cry from what Cardinal Grocholewski meant by his distinction between deep-seated and superficial homosexual “tendencies”. If one brought the same generous hermeneutic to Paul’s three allegedly clearcut condemnations of gay sex a lot of problems would disappear!

  39. Kevin

    Which is why all young LGBT Catholics keep away from the Catholic Church and should keep away from it.

    I’d never advise any I know to go within a foot of its doors. I might be get damned to some other hell for that – so be it. Maybe commit the sin unpardonable by suggesting the Holy Spirit would have these kids develop and grow in real self respect, self confidence – love of self, and perhaps image the love of their Creator to those who love to hate their ‘sin’.

    Their welfare is at stake. Their very lives when so many are driven to despair and suicide through the very clearly expressed incapacity of some here to compassion, empathise with fellow human beings.

    Why don’t you just cut with the judging – go and actually meet some real gay people. They might teach you something.

    Maybe you could educate them too on your ignorance.

    Wonderful learning curve.

    Poison is poison however neatly packaged.

    I don’t think the cardinal should be forced to speak if he is not ready – able to do so. He has to deal with his ‘internalised homophobia’ – something not only learned from Church. Though it could also be something he may never be able to do either if some of the comments from fellow human beings in this place are to be believed.

    Beam up the hell outta here, Scottie !!! :)

  40. Jo O'Sullivan

    I used to get great sustenance from reading the articles and responses that appeared on this website. I felt that here was a place where I could share my honest feelings about trying to be a seeker and follower of Christ as a Catholic Christian. I’m afraid I no longer feel that way. Many of the responses to articles that have appeared recently have been of a kind that make me very reluctant to share. While I accept and respect that people have differing views, too many of the responses I have read have had a self-righteous, superior and/or dismissive tone towards those who see things differently.
    I had made a decision lately to share on the ACI website, in an attempt to help get the kind of discussion going there that I used to find on the ACP website. After all, I’m not a Catholic priest and now that we HAVE a website for ALL, why not “chat” there. But I think it was a good decision to stop commenting on the ACP site as I feel I’d be in for a lambasting there now if I tried to say anything!
    (As an aside, in my own head I’d love to consider the ACI to stand for All Christians in Ireland)

  41. Catherine

    Thank you, Mary O @ 19 – faithful and graceful reminders to us all about this discussion.

  42. Patrick Conway

    Shaun, good luck with your discernment. Hope you achieve some clarity. Your style suggests (to me) you’re living in the US. May I recommend that in your conversations with those who are accompanying you, you be honest in saying what it is you believe on the matter you have written about here and similar matters, and that you leave the rest to God.


Scroll Up