Skip to comments.Gay Catholics Struggle With Scandal
Posted on 05/06/2002 7:06:08 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
PHILADELPHIA- Mary Louise Cervone has been a practicing Roman Catholic all her life and, as a lesbian, has long hoped for acceptance from the church.
But finding a welcoming place has never been easy and now with the clergy sex abuse scandals raging in dioceses across the country, Cervone and other gay Catholics feel that homosexuals are being scapegoated by church leaders.
Most of the victims of priestly abuse are adolescent boys, leading some Catholics to conclude that there is a link between homosexuality and the abuse of minors.
Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua last week called homosexuality an "aberration, a moral evil" and said the archdiocese tries to screen out gay priests, suggesting that they were more likely to commit child abuse.
And 100 gay advocates protested outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Sunday after Monsignor Eugene Clark reportedly made similar comments April 21. The New York Archdiocese has said Clark was speaking for himself and not the archdiocese.
Clinicians say no credible data exists on the number of abusive priests who are homosexual and there is no evidence that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children.
Cervone, the president of Dignity/USA, a national gay Catholic activist organization, thinks homosexuals are being unfairly targeted.
"It's wrong," she said. "There's no data to support it. There's not even any data collected by the Catholic church. It's the arrogance of the church leaders, this feeble attempt to blame the whole crisis of clergy on the gay community."
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based gay Catholic advocacy group, said the organization has been getting calls from concerned gay priests and parishioners.
"It's a new phase of anger toward church leaders," DeBernardo said.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the recent statements do not reflect the usual church stance, which is that homosexual or heterosexual men can be priests if they are celibate.
She added that the church does not reject gay Catholics. What it teaches is that being homosexual isn't a sin, but being a sexually active gay is.
"I think the church tries to be open to all Catholics who are accepting of the church's teachings," Walsh said. "It's a difficult point for homosexual Catholics that the church condemns homosexual activity."
Both Dignity/USA, which has been banned from meeting in Philadelphia churches, and New Ways plan to speak on behalf of gay Catholic rights at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' general meeting in Dallas beginning June 13.
Over the years, such efforts have become more common as gays have fought for greater acceptance in the church.
"As gay people become more accepted in society, more Catholics are coming out," said Donal Godfrey, an Irish Jesuit priest who is working on a doctorate at the University of San Francisco.
"If you look at the life of Jesus, he was close to people who were marginalized. If we're meant to be following him, people who are marginalized should be comfortable in our churches."
The number of gay Catholics is hard to judge, but DeBernardo said he believes it is around 10 percent, roughly similar to some estimates of the general population.
Some wonder why homosexuals would stick with the church. Gay Catholics say their faith is a piece of their identity.
"It isn't an option for me," said Tom Streeper another member of Dignity in Philadelphia. "That's the way I was raised and it's part of who I am."
I could be wrong here, but how can one be GAY and a Practicing Catholic? Homosexuality is forbidden in the Catholic Church, isn't it?
Isn't this just another attempt by the lamestream media to "normalize" homosexuality?
It's kind of like McCain calling himself a practicing Republican.
Thats an oxymoron if Ive ever heard one. Are there pedophile Catholics too?
Sure. Anyone is free to debate this matter. The fact is, however, there is only one official RCC position which many of these 'gay' activists blatantly ignore in their 'coming out' or organizing of others; and that is that their lifestyle is in direct contradiction to the Catholic Church. Even the 'orientation' is considered as a problem and sickness requiring understanding and correction. Good post of yours.
"I think the church tries to be open to all Catholics who are accepting of the church's teachings," Walsh said. "It's a difficult point for homosexual Catholics that the church condemns homosexual activity." ... Some wonder why homosexuals would stick with the church. Gay Catholics say their faith is a piece of their identity. "It isn't an option for me," said Tom Streeper another member of Dignity in Philadelphia. "That's the way I was raised and it's part of who I am."Thanks for posting this article -- it points out just how deep the misunderstanding is concerning Catholicism and homosexuality.
Dignity/USA, which is described in the article as being "banned from meeting in Philadelphia churches," is an outlaw group of Catholics who are practicing homosexuals and who consider being "gay" a gift from God. Dignity has, in fact, been banned by the Vatican from meeting in any Catholic Church.
There is, however, a ministry to Catholics with same-sex attractions called Courage, which is endorsed by the Pontifical Council for the Family. They practice chastity (that is, they do not act out their sexual disorders). In fact, they don't even call themselves "gay."
The Church continues to teach that homosexual acts are always gravely sinful. Whether AP knows it or not, it is shilling for the banned group "Dignity" at the expense of "Courage." People like Tom Streeper, quoted above, are acting contrary to Church teaching when they encourage Catholics to submit, embrace and act out their homosexual temptations. They are merely cultural catholics, not practicing Catholics.
By living chastely.
Have we got Catholic FReepers down there who could attend and tape for us?
It was not uncommon to see older gay men with teenage boys. Gays are into 'Chicken Hawking' and everybody knows it.
In the meantime, the Catholic Church has been tightening up seminary student admissions with stringent admission policies and better background checks. Admissions tightening has been going on for many years.
Read report here:
IMHO, the Catholic Church should be able to deflect this sex scandal as the truth about homosexual conduct begins to come out. NAMBLA exists for a reason.
Perhaps taking a page from the heteros who rationalize their birth control, premarital sex and divorce yet take communion and consider themselves "practicing", homosexuals tend to rationalize things too.
That's the run of the mill sort, mind you.
Folks like Cervone like belong to that militant core of eco-femme lesbians and gays who seek to make open homosexuals "as common as candles" in the Catholic Church.
Perhaps taking a page from heterosexuals who believe that withholding their financial support of the Church will bring faith down to a matter of "The Economy, stupid," homosexuals believe that economics and secular political realities will force the Church to into accepting them.
As they put it ... "the reality will come first and the theology will follow".
Much like our legal system works today. But that's only to be expected. It's the same gramscian-marxist tactics being applied to destroy from within.
I could be wrong here, but how can one be GAY and a Practicing Catholic?Those Catholics in Curage who have same-sex attractions but who live chastely (i.e., are practicing Catholics) do not even call themselves "gay."
Trouble is, groups like Dignity USA and CFFC don't even want us to condemn the sin.
Dignity has, in fact, been banned by the Vatican from meeting in any Catholic Church.
Can someone reconcile these facts for me?
One of the consequences of the current scandal is that those parishes (at least in New York) which sponsor Courage meetings no longer advertise the meetings in their weekly bulletin, perhaps out of fear of mentioning the word "homosexuality" in the current atmosphere. IMO, this is yet another example of the hierarchy's protecting their reputation at the expense of those to whom they should be ministering.
If their faith was more than just a "piece" of their identity, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Titus 1:16 - "They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed" (NASB)
1st John 2:4-6 - "The one who says 'I have come to know Him', and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; (5) but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: (6) the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." (NASB)
Any professing Christian, regardless of sexual orientation, who isn't sufficiently challenged by these scriptures, please speak up.
Why hope for acceptance from a heiracry that has never promoted "tolerance" or any thought against it........she's as dumb as a rock if she thinks gays will be accepted.......Hell shes dumb as a stone if she thinks those who take cash every week for "god's" good will will ever accept anything but fear and hegemony to promote thier objectives.......more power.
Believing in god and living a good life have nothing to do with supporting an corrupt church.
Moreover forget Priestly celibacy. Who wants to see a host of effeminates as role models for young boys?
I'm not sure exactly why Courage is so low-key -- I suspect It has to do with its members desiring anonymity -- but I feel very strongly that it should be a part of the public debate as the Catholic alternative.
I am really sick of these stupid comments. It is far more truthful to say that the maginalized found it easier to be closer to Jesus than those who had much invested in the religion or politics of the time. They had less BS to overcome and did not think themselves so smart as to know it all. The crazy idea that some churches preach that Jesus loved the poor more than the rich or powerful is absolute rubbish.
Wishful thinking. It's more like 1.5 to 2%. They lie too!
You mean, as long as the sinner is loving somebody elses son.
But when your son is the victim (or the 2d or 3d or nth victim) this platitude takes on a whole new meeting. Why should the RCC love the victims any less than the sinner? Do the Bishops and Cardinals show compassion for the faithful by continually recycling these predators into unsuspecting parishes?
The problem has less to do with the sinner than with a church hierarchy that is more concerned with protecting their own while continuing to put other children in harms way.
One can love the sinner just well when he is in jail.
I'm sorry, what I really mean't to say was this:
Any professing Christian, regardless of the temptations they struggle with, who isn't sufficiently challenged by these scriptures, please speak up.
Bishops' meetings are closed to the public. I would doubt these gay groups are going to speak to the gathering, though they will certainly address the media hordes outside.
Furthermore, even the suggestion that Jesus Himself was poor and therefore related better to them (thereby applying the world's standards of success) is appalling. The King of the Universe who owns it all....poor...NOT.
gay= activist, sexually active, living in mortal sin.
Catholic Rights=see Code of Canon Law; PS: I don't know of any canon that justifies sodomy.
I wish these people would just leave the Church! They're beyond evangelization in their current state(they reject sound teaching). Excommunicate them and see if that draws them back!
They forget to add one more adjective...Cafeteria; as in practicing cafeteria Catholic.
"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
"Rich" doesn't just apply to material means.
Jesus loves all of us, infinitely. That's not the problem.
The core issue is how we respond to that Love.
Bishops' meetings are held in hotel ballrooms. I'm sure the security for this meeting will be the tightest ever.
I'm not aware that the bishops entertain lectures from grievance groups when they convene, either.
Then why is virtually every case that has come to light in the media a male who was molested?
Having wealth can be a hurdle to get over on the road to salvation. Those who have wealth very often feel superior to others and trust in their wealth to solve all human problems they may encounter. They think they don't 'need' God and reject the need for a savior. Think Ted Turner.
Jesus loves all of us, infinitely. That's not the problem.
Yes, I agree there.
Christ's love is inclusive of all, regardless of our position in life. He clearly showed that during His earthly ministry, making personal contact with prostitutes, tax collectors, many of the poor.
The core issue is how we respond to that Love.
I simply contend, as Jesus did, that having great wealth can be an obstacle to seeking salvation.
Christians have Christ and so, already have everything ('wealth') regardless of current finincial or social status as Christ has already overcome the world. The fact that some Christians may lose sight of this is sad but not unusual.