Posted by Censor Librorum on Nov 22, 2009 | Categories: Accountability, Lesbians & Gays

“For generations,” proclaims, ” in Catholic churches across the country, LGBT youth are told they should be ashamed of who they are and that they should lead loveless lives as social and religious abominations.     The emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse inflicted on them by Catholic priests and our church hierarchy is in reality as damaging as the physical or sexual child abuse anyone would quickly condemn.   Yet to this abuse, few raise their voices and say “ENOUGH!”

“It is shameful that in many Catholic churches, this abuse is being supported by men, who are gay themselves, leading   closeted lives of self-persecution and quiet desperation.”

“Even more shameful, is that many of these priests, while remaining silent, actually lead duplicitous lives rich with romantic and sexual relationships — both homosexual and heterosexual.”

“This hypocrisy must end.” hypocrites intends to “out” Catholic clergy members in the Washington Archdiocese that are leading secret gay lives, or, straight priests having affairs with parishioners, that are anti-gay civil rights or silent on the issue.   More on the organization and it’s campaign here.

The organization takes its inspiration from the success of sexual abuse survivors in Boston, who banded together and went public with their stories of rape and sodomy by priests that were moved around by complicit bishops. They went public because the institutional church did not respond to their requests for individual   justice, and to do something about the problem of sexually predatory priests.   Instead, the church wanted to protect the clergy involved, protect the church, by sweeping the problem under the rug and attempting to shame or cajole the people who came forward into silence.

Terry Nelson, owner of the blog Abbey-Roads, has a different take on the behavior of homosexual clergy:

“The fact is, many same sex attracted men have struggled to live according to the teachings of the Church, and as all of us who admit to being sinners,  many fall – and rise again.   Priests are not perfect, to preach the truth about homosexuality is not hypocrisy – even if a priest fails to live up to his vows from time to time.   If he repents and strives to live accordingly, in time he will be victorious.   On the other hand, perhaps there are ‘bad’ priests living duplicitous lives, and exposure could perhaps bring them to repentance?   I don’t know.”

I believe Mr. Nelson is correct that many Catholic priests see their lives this way – a struggle and a rising and falling.   But the church is failing them in one important regard: because they need to live closeted lives, and pretend they’re straight or sexless, there is no where they can go to get affirmation and support as celibate gay Roman Catholic priests. They need to hide.   This situation can breed a compartmentalized life and justifications for aberrant behavior.

(Ex) Fr. Tom, who blogs on The Gospel According to Hate, had this illuminating personal memory of a visit to the annual U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gathering in Washington:

“Every year without fail, gay Catholic men stood silently outside the bishops’ hotel, holding candles and keeping a twenty-four-hour vigil in protest of the church’s hypocritical, psychologically outdated, and pastorally damning teachings concerning the LGBT community.”

“Passing the protesters, I wasn’t the only seminarian averting my eyes, afraid that if I looked a gay in the eye that he would know, that the truth of his glare would strip away my clerical shield, and that I would be proclaimed a “known” homosexual.”

“Each of the four years that I attended, the damn bus took forever to pull away, and I sat there, from behind the safety of the reflecting bus windows, looking at the courageously grieved gay protestors.”

“No one on the bus spoke of them.   We just stared, silently accepting their judgment, our hearts heavy with shame.   Then we were whisked back to the safety of the seminary, the homoerotic dormitory, and the corresponding compartments of our collective clerical closet.”


I commend the founder of, D.C. attorney Phil Attey, for his courage in taking on this fight and backlash.   Even if he doesn’t publish one name, just the threat of exposure is going to put a big crimp in the swinging lifestyle of some gay cardinals, bishops and priests.

But I also caution him not to out gay clergy that go about their work in a quiet way.   Gay Catholic priests cannot come out to their bishops and expect to be a pastor for very long.   They have to be closeted–they have no choice.

However, as pastor, they have credibility with Catholics in the pew – the people the bishops are most concerned about. If the pastor doesn’t condemn gay people, if they stress dignity and respect for all, then gradually this teaching is going to seep down.

I would also not equivocally out gay bishops.   Some of them may do what they can behind the scenes to change or mitigate things.

However, what I would do is put gay cardinals and bishops who are actively anti same-sex marriage and civil rights on notice they are not going to protect themselves, or further their careers in the church at the expense of gay people.   They need to pick another issue, or, they are going to find themselves feeling the pain of what they advocate.


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