Welcome, Fr. O’Byrne

Posted by Censor Librorum on Mar 14, 2008 | Categories: Lesbians & Gays, Politics

Last week I got an email from Fortunate Families asking us to contact the New York State Catholic Conference  and express  our unhappiness over one of the NYSCC’s main  lobby day priorities – “Oppose the Legalization of Same-Sex Unions.”

This week saw Lt. Governor David Paterson ascend to the governership of New York. He will complete the term of Gov. Elliot Spitzer, who resigned on March 12  when his patronage of high class call girls came to light.  

Paterson’s chief of staff, and Albany’s new head gatekeeper, is a former Jesuit priest who presided at John F. Kennedy Jr.’s wedding, and wrote a never-published book about sex in the Catholic church.amd_charlesobyrne1.JPG

Charles O’Byrne made headlines in September  2002 with this Playboy magazine article – “Sex & Sexuality: One Man’s Story About Religious Life and What Seminaries Really Teach About Sex.”

In the Playboy piece, O’Bryne wrote that while a Jesuit “I became aware there was sex all around me–including relationships between Jesuits. One of my best friends, a virgin at 30, was surprised when his superior encouraged him to respond to the sexual overtures of an older Jesuit. When another friend fell in love with a woman, the seminary superiors supported his relationship..”

O’Byrne specifically cited the issue of gay priests, saying the American Catholic church may not be able to stay within the Vatican fold if Roman continues to maintain certain blatant contradictions. He cited the church’s insistence that homosexuality is an “intrinsic evil” while at the same time the church has a significant number of priests who are gay. Asked to estimate the percentage of American priests who are homosexual, O’Byrne, 43, said, “In my peer group, I can easily say 70 percent, comfortably, no question about it.”

O’Byrne is now on leave of absence. He is still a priest, but he cannot administer sacraments or say Mass.

After leaving the Jesuits in 2004, he worked for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. Then-Senate Minority Leader Paterson to instill more discipline in his staff.

Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said O’Byrne’s past “certainly won’t impede us from working with the governor.”

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