Monday, October 17, 2005

A Man Stands Up

You know, I'm somewhat dreading the comments this will get, but this guy deserves praise for his courage. It's Syracuse, for the curious.
It wasn't until two years after his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest that the Rev. Fred Daley acknowledged he might be gay.

"I was coming down the stairs for morning Mass, and I felt this real deep ache and pain in the pit of my stomach," he said. "It was the first time I was recognizing an ache within that my activity and work and ministry was covering up, and avoiding something."

A light went on, he said.

"I began to become aware of my sexual feelings and desires," he said. He was 27.

Almost 30 years later - after a painful, prayerful and mostly lonely journey - he disclosed his sexual orientation to his Utica congregation in May 2004. As speculation grows that the Vatican is preparing a document that would bar gays from ordination, Daley says he's proud to be a celibate, gay priest.

He said news of the forthcoming Vatican document and visits to American seminaries worries many people - clergy and lay, gay and straight - that the Roman Catholic Church does not welcome gays in its pulpits or pews.

"The church is least faithful to Jesus when it is in the business of excluding," Daley said. "The church should be rejoicing that gay men are ready and willing to use their talents to energize the church. To deprive the church of these gifted men would be a terrible loss."
You know, I've gotten a lot of flack for saying that not every gay priest is a Ryan Erickson waiting to happen -- an exurban legend, and a bad one at that. (Even now, it seems, he's still the conservatives' dream priest. Ugh.) And I know that, by the time this is posted, there will already be five vexed-out e.mails in my box from people who really should have better things to do than scream at me. But, as I see it, it all comes down to the sheer fact that the overwhelming majority of the gay priests I've known have just been incredibly good priests and, in my experience, their orientation lived in chaste celibacy has been no impediment whatsoever to the sterling service they've provided to the People of God.

OK, so there was the one who tried to come onto me during a liturgy at which he was the celebrant -- he was one of those big bells, smells, fiddle-back and adoration types, hmm-hmm -- but, honestly, I thought nothing of it and it was actually good for a laugh. (And, guess what, it still is.)

Maybe I'm either too well accustomed to reality or my ecclesiastical travels have made me comfortable with clerical camp, but at the end of the day, priests are people, too. And I'll just shrug my shoulders and recognize that while Mount St. Blog's erupts with vengeance.

Also from Syracuse, we've even got a straight supporter playing backup -- welcome company for me
The Rev. Brian Lang, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Camillus, said he has received more than 120 e-mails and letters affirming the piece he wrote for his church's Sept. 18 bulletin.

"If they do bar gays, they are making a mistake," said Lang, who said he is heterosexual and celibate. "They are insulting a number of men who are in the priesthood who are in chaste and holy lives."

In his essay, Lang wrote that Vatican visits to American seminaries seem to be positive. But he questions the motivation and criticizes the comments of the organizer of the seminary visits, Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, who has said gays should neither apply to nor be accepted in the seminary.

O'Brien later qualified his point, saying he was speaking for himself and not the Vatican.

Lang said initial news accounts of the controversy may have been inaccurate, but he stands by his main points. He said the clergy abuse scandal unfairly links homosexuality and pedophilia, and the scandal's root causes are about church structure and power and transparency.

"I think my point of view is a fairly common perspective," Lang said. "People are saying, 'Hold on, let's look at the interior of the church and what are the real issues here?' "

Lang, 45, was ordained in 1998. He attended St. Mary Seminary, in Baltimore, a school he said had a reputation as "a pink palace," a reference to a gay subculture.
Hmm-hmm. If I had a dime for every time I heard an ecclesiastical institution referred to as a "pink palace"....



Blogger neblo said...

"Hi I'm Fr. Smith, and I don't understand you families out there. I respect families, of course, and I had my own parents to observe, but something went wrong and I never developed the same instincts 99% of you have; instead I developed inverted instincts of attraction to men, indifference to women or even feeling comradeship with women. I'll certainly do my best to hear your confessions and understand your struggles with family, chastity, and relationships, but honestly, I have no basis on which to relate. I have my own cross to bear in this regard, and I know that you don't really understand what I face either. So now we understand that there is this barrier between us, and that I am more comfortable in a gay culture than here in this parish. I hope this clarifies things and allows us to get along better. Those among you who have THE modern virtue of tolerance will surely go out of your way to make it seem you understand."

Rednecks like me would just leave the parish.

18/10/05 09:07  
Blogger neblo said...

Hey, Jimmy Mac, I am comfortable in the Catholic Church, with its aggregate historic teaching intact, not changed by modern political correctness. Gays as priests has been addressed numerous times, including by John XXIII, always declaring them unsuitable. That's why we have the Episcopal Church, with Bishop Vicky Robinson, for you to feel at home, since you suggested I can leave because I don't like what you're trying to turn my Church into.

18/10/05 12:16  
Blogger Rocco Palmo said...


Hot off the presses, from the newest ICEL translation of the Nicene Creed:

"He shall come to judge the living and the dead with Ben, and their fury shall have no end."

Good God, people.

21/10/05 12:19  

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