NOT TOO LATE

We are told that the Vatican document banning all gay seminarians, regardless of their conduct or quality, has yet to be published. Which means there is still a slim chance it will never be. Which means we have a window of opportunity for resistance. Which leads to the following thoughts …

HOW THEY GET AWAY WITH IT: How does Benedict manage to enforce discrimination that contradicts central tenets of Catholicism itself? Because the existence and nature of gay priests who are not pedophiles are suppressed by enforced silence. Money quote from a new piece in the Catholic newspaper, the Tablet: “Most gay priests, like myself, have been prevented from speaking about our own experiences, and sharing with our parishioners our rewarding lives as celibate men. Most have been formally silenced by bishops or religious superiors on the topic, so the Church can deny our existence. (That is the reason for my pseudonym: I would much prefer to write under my own name.) And many who have not been formally silenced fear reprisals from their bishops and some parishioners. As a result, the only public model of the ‘gay priest’ is the notorious paedophile. So what appears to be the Vatican’s stance is unsurprising. What moral theologians used to call ‘invincible ignorance’ only breeds prejudice, fear and hatred.”

HOW TO FIGHT BACK: There is a solution to this. It’s called courage. I am actually tired of hearing from all these gay priests who refuse to use their names and give blind quotes to the press. Memo to them: your silence is empowering Benedict and the forces of bigotry. You have a choice now: come out to your congregations, explain your lives, stand up for yourselves and the pope, or continue to be scapegoated, exiled, punished. Yes, your vows include obedience. But with this potential decree the Vatican has shown it is willing to break its own vow of precluding “unjust discrimination” against gays, and perpetuating “unfounded and demeaning” assumptions about their lives. If you cannot speak truth to unprincipled power, why are you priests in the first place? This is not just about celibate gay priests; it’s about an attempt to displace the blame for the abuse of children from the guilty to the innocent. It is so manifestly unjust that it cries out for resistance. Don’t quit; come out and fight; force the bishops to fire you in the daylight of the press and the people. If all gay priests did that, up to a third of the clergy could call the Vatican’s bluff. The time for hoping this will blow away or that somehow you can avoid facing it is over. And your time has come.

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