Friday, October 21, 2005

It's Been 20 Hours and Earth Hasn't Yet Imploded

Well, here he is....
"I'm a Roman Catholic priest and I'm gay."

With that confession, 63-year-old Karl Clemens became the first priest in Canada to openly declare his homosexuality.

Clemens - a priest for 33 years who retired from the Kingston diocese seven years ago - now lives in Toronto, calling Church Street in the city's gay village his parish.

"I don't have a parish," Clemens told 360 Vision in a documentary that aired last night on VisionTV. "My parish is the street - the highways, the byways, the bars."

Clemens, who wears a priest's collar and says mass every day in his living room, said he is celibate.

"If I were any more celibate, I don't know that I'd be alive," Clemens said, recalling a joke he once told a bishop.

Did anyone see this unfold last night? Any impressions?



Blogger John Hearn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

21/10/05 14:37  
Blogger John Hearn said...

It seems to me that the only thing remarkable about this case is that he admitted he was gay without first being arrested.

21/10/05 14:39  
Blogger patrick said...

I was kind of hoping that the celibate gay priest was a crashingly boring priest in an unremarkable and mediocre parish. Too bad that he turned out to be a bohemian priest, which if one thinks about it, is the sort of priest most likely to publicly come out of the closet in an overly-theatrical way.

21/10/05 14:49  
Blogger Gotpraecht said...

I was kind of hoping that the celibate gay priest was a crashingly boring priest in an unremarkable and mediocre parish.

I completely agree. So much discussion of gay priests or people is based on the implicit or explicit premise of their exoticism.

21/10/05 15:10  
Blogger Regina said...

So, we have a priest living in the gay village with a male friend, but he's celibate, right?
It may be possible for a celibate man with same sex attraction to be a good priest. But such a man would not self-identify as "gay." I would suggest that celibate and gay are incompatible.
The world may not have imploded, but the Church in Canada pretty much has.

21/10/05 16:27  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

Regina ... what is your basis for determining that being gay and celibate are incompatible?

What is YOUR (mis)understanding of what it is to be gay?

21/10/05 16:36  
Blogger Jeff said...

Jimmy Mac:

A heterosexual priest shouldn't room with a single woman friend either. People will rightly suspect that it's at least an occasion of sin, even if it doesn't happen to be. It's STUPID.

So, I don't KNOW what this priest is doing. I haven't read the description. But if Regina's characterization is correct, that's plenty enough to say that either he's not chaste OR he's almost too stupid or careless to be allowed to do any job on earth, let alone be a priest.

A bishop in Canada just fired a priest for saying he wanted women's ordination. Let's hope this guy gets the can, too.

21/10/05 16:44  
Blogger Hector said...

Regina, I'm confused with what this statement means... "I would suggest that celibate and gay are incompatible."

21/10/05 17:43  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

Jeff: the man retired 7 years ago. So how is he going to be fired: have his biretta burned in public? Strip the buttons from his cassock?

Of course, he could lose his retirement income and benefits ... that would be a very GOOD Christian thing to do!

I hope that some hetero-SEX-youall priests have close women friends! Let the suspicious minds and wagging tongues go at it. It's the right and proper Catholic thing to do, you know .... suspect, gossip and vilify.

21/10/05 18:00  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Lie, hide and prevaricate about sinful lifestyles" is worse than "suspect, gossip and vilify." Causing people to "suspect, gossip, and vilify" used to be called, "causing scandal" when there was substance to the suspicion. And you got punished for it. You didn't get to do appalling things and then, when people noticed, shriek, "You old gossip, you!" All this "leave it in the dark" stuff has gone with the wind after we started finding out what was IN the dark, how very dark it WAS, and how little, even today, the people in power can be got to take it seriously.

AAAAAAnyway, this guy went on a RADIO SHOW, for God's sake. Nobody's been nosing around trying to find out his secrets. If priests announce they have girlfriends, they should be shown the door in a split second, of course. At least once upon a time, they had the good grace to own that they were "Spoiled Priest[s]."

So this is a RETIRED priest? I said I knew nothing about it. Leave him alone to moulder if he wants to; as long as his "friend" isn't fifteen. But don't let him offer the Sacraments until he REPENTS.

21/10/05 20:58  
Blogger Regina said...

I think celibate and gay are incompatible, because being "gay" suggests identifying with -- indeed, celebrating -- a certain lifestyle. That is something that goes beyond simply living with homosexual inclination. So a committment to celibacy is improbable for someone who self-identifies as gay.

21/10/05 23:08  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

Regina: close but not quite a winner of the cigar.

Being gay is to be comfortable with whom you are and learing to live with that fact. One does not have to adopt a certain "lifestyle" because there is no such thing as A gay lifestyle! We have lives, just as everyone else does, and just as diverse as yours is from your family and friends.

My partner and I have the responsibility of maintaining a house; do gardening; baby sit for the next door neighbors from time to time; pet sit for other friends: get involved in local politics; I serve on my parish council and finance committee; we do things with our friends; spend time with our families ... all quite mundane, traditional and (some would say) boring.

I know of others whose lives are quite antithetical to that. Lesbian friends of ours are very different in how they live out their lives. Other gay friends who have children lead lives of intensity interspersed with moments of stark terror, i.e., they are typical parents. And there are some folks we know who live life stupidly with rampant sex, drugs and whatever the current replacement for rock 'n roll is. We pray for them and hope that they survive to learn how to rid themselves of these self-destructive tendencies.

A priest who is gay does not have to "celebrate" any of these ways of living. His call is to live up to his promises at the time of ordination, including one of celibacy. I know many who are well-adjusted gay men, comfortable with whom they are, and who are also well-adjusted celibates.

22/10/05 00:25  
Blogger Jeff said...

Well, Jimmy Mac, when you do take time to talk, you make a lot of sense. I'm not saying I agree with you; but there are enough points of convergence to make me wish we could have a good, long chat without spitting fire, no matter what I said or you said.

Somehow, the breakdown comes pretty quickly in these conversations. Difficult as it may seem, my feeling is that there could be progress in these dicussion with some of us "fascist" types, if only YOU didn't stereotype US. If you only entertained the possibility that at least some of the things that disturb and worry us might have SOME basis in reality, rather than just being the rantings of viciousness.

Anyway, what I really want to say, whenever I hear you talking like that, with patience and substance, is, "Thank you. I'm edified."

22/10/05 04:11  
Blogger Regina said...

Okay, I'll grant you that being gay is to be comfortable with one's homosexuality, if you prefer. But then I'd have to say, that is somewhat incompatible with the Catholic priesthood. If you accept the Catholic teaching that homosexuality is "disordered" (which I suppose you do not, however, a priest should be in accord with Catholic teaching) then I would suggest that he ought not to be "comfortable" with living with that inclination.
Look, I know that a lot of these guys are good and decent people, but the fact that they are struggling with this issue is a big barrier with regard to their responsibilities as priests. And if they're not struggling... all the more so.

22/10/05 07:51  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

Regina. Disordered can mean many things. I happen to be left-handed and near-sighted ... both disorders. I have learned to live with and accommodate those 2 things. BTW, neither of them would prevent me or anyone else from being celibate. "Intrinsically disordered" does not mean that one is ipso facto a sinner. I happen to not put a lot of credence with the whole ID school of thought, but, for those who do, I recommend that you read retired Abp John Quinn's treatise on it. I think he wrote in America a few years back. I don't have the citation in front of me but a suppose a Google search would turn something up soon enough.

22/10/05 12:32  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

Jeff. Thanks for your good words. I have lived with "fascist" types for most of my life. Pardon me if I am not too willing to smile a lot when I and "my kind" are accused of everything wrong under the sun, including being the prime cause of pedophilia, the dissolution of Catholic marriage and the family, and attempts to subvert every small child into becoming gay/lesbian. That crap is constantly spewing from the mouths and mouthpieces of good Christian groups to the point that I won't sit back and patiently debate it anymore. To paraphrase a street slogan of not too many years ago: we're here; we're queer; and we are not going away. We are your sons, fathers, brothers, uncles, friends, enemies ... everyone. We will continue to demand that the world learns to live with us as we have had to learn to live with and in it.

But thanks for your willingness to at least reflect on some of what I said above.

22/10/05 12:37  
Blogger justplaincath said...

To Jeff & Jimmy Mac--

Reading Jeff's response to Jimmy Mac, especially the part about where Jeff said he'd like a "good long chat", left me feeling hopeful for awhile.

Until Jimmy Mac's response, which made me sad, because it seemed to say that dialogue was not possible.

We will never get any where until both sides sit down and talk. So I guess it's business as usual.

"You're right from your side
And I am right from mine
It's just one too many mornings
And a thousand miles behind."

24/10/05 08:17  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

JPC: you like it from my shoes for about 45 years and then tell me how patient and sweet you'll be about this.

The dialog has been going on since at least the late 1960s in this country. The constant talking is getting real old and stale. Just leave me and mine along and, rest assured, we have NO interest in your or your kids.

24/10/05 13:18  

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