CAMPOut:Fay's Rehoboth Journal
|by Fay Jacobs|
|Will They Really Cull the Flock?
I intended to write a fluffy column this time. Following weeks of flood coverage, with Anderson Cooper interviewing anybody wearing waders, I felt we needed a break.
But that was before I read about the Vatican's new edict on gay priests. While I know little about the Catholic hierarchy I do know something about gay people. And the former has just pissed off one of the latter.
To be specific, if the Church does this dreadful discriminatory thing, seminaries nationwide will soon post "For Rent" signs. Ban gay guys from giving compassionate assistance to congregations and who'll be left in the profession, Nascar Dads?
It would be like banning lesbians from the military for goodness sake. Oh, right, our government thinks it does that.
But this new Salem-style witch hunt is so wrong-headed, so totally bass ackwards, it's delusional. You mean the Vatican just found out that a portion of the flock is queer? Puleeze.
Barring gay seminarians will make gay priests who have been serving admirably feel appallingly betrayed. Why stick with a fraternity that would blackball you from pledging? It's the reverse of Groucho's famous line that he'd never belong to a club that would have somebody like him for a member.
Let's face it. Young people questioning their sexuality haven't had it easy. Rather than crumble under pressure to conform, lots of gay people escaped to the priesthood, the nunnery, the military (mostly for the girls) or, God love it, musical theatre (mostly for the boys).
By the time gay people figured out why they felt "different" they were already enmeshed in the clergy, the infantry or dinner theatre.
Presumably, the troops and troupes had a little more freedom to express their newly uncloseted orientation. Not so with the priesthood. A vow is a vow.
Or is it? I'll never forget Father Frank putting the moves on a friend of mine after officiating at her sister's wedding. The affair lasted several years. There are gay priests who lead double lives, too. The bottom line is that a vow of celibacy is tough for anybody. I'll bet the strays are equally straight and gay.
But what, pray tell, about pedophiles? Everybody but bigots knows that gay people and pedophiles are not synonymous; both hets and homos can suffer from the illness of pedophilia.
But in a shameful, scandalous history, the church has refused to recognize the rampant pedophilia in its ranks. In fact they colluded with the abusers by playing Sick Priest Hopscotchspiriting pedophiles out of towns before they could be tarred and feathered and then unleashing the beasts on other unsuspecting communities.
In this whole sorry mess, the priestly pedophiles have been shuttled around like astronauts, sheltered from criminal and civil prosecution. Want to travel? Be a pedophile priest.
But has the Vatican announced a rooting out of this problem? Nooo. They're protecting the damn pedophiles by scapegoating gay folks.
I'm mad and concerned. Exactly how will the authorities screen for homosexuals? A questionnaire?
"Did Stephen Sondheim write Company or Mama Mia? "Would you rather wear Prada or Keds?" "Who played Vickie Lester opposite James Mason in A Star is Born?"
And if they do ban homosexuals from the priesthood, when the dust settles the Church will be made up of a few compassionate and truly religious heterosexual men, a bunch of offended gay priests, and a trove of pedophiles taking refuge in the church because it's a great place to meet kidsor more likely, men whose Church-ordered repressed sexuality, homo or hetero, has caused them to behave very, very badly indeed.
Meanwhile, gays are barred from serving. The poster priest for this debate should be The Rev. Mychal F. Judge, the New York City Fire Department chaplain who died in the 9/11 rubble.
Judge was out to his friends as a celibate gay man, admitting his orientation but keeping his vows. This man gave his life to assist the New York firefighters trapped in the towers. According to the New York Times, this man had a 40-year career, ministering to firefighters, their grieving widows, AIDS patients, homeless people, Flight 800 victims' families, and countless others. He was, and still is, one of the most beloved Roman Catholic priests in New Yorkin fact, there is a movement to canonize him.
Under the Vatican's new rules, this man would not have been allowed to be ordained.
In this shocking burst of wrong-headed bigotry, the Church is blaming homosexuals for its own inability to call a pedophile a pedophile.
Someday, and I hope sooner than later, our country will wake up, follow the lead of more progressive nations and see that homosexual Americans, in the religious or secular life, want a "Gay Agenda" that looks suspiciously like the aspirations of The Constitution of the United States.
And, like previously racist politicians or vocal anti-Semites, the Catholic Church is going to be very embarrassed. Very.
Let my people come...to any calling they choose.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Fryinga Rehoboth Beach Memoir and can be reached at www.fayjacobs.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 14 October 14, 2005