Showing posts with label Closet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Closet. Show all posts

Friday, June 22, 2012

On My Ten-Year Anniversary of Ordination to the Catholic Priesthood

On June 22, 2002, I was ordained a priest. 

Minutes before the ceremony, a squirrel met its demise at the intersection of a power line, junction box, and the cathedral’s roof.  The ensuing explosion left those in attendance in the dark.

Everything in the Catholic Church seemed dark in 2002.  Accounts of bishops concealing sexual abuse perpetrated by priests inundated the news.  Daily, revered clerics fell in shame.  Victims came forward, their long-suppressed pain and anger finally being given voice.  Those on the left blamed the pre-Vatican II, conservative and sex-suppressing seminary system that had formed the elder generations of priest-perpetrators; they blamed mandatory celibacy.  Those on the right made the post-Vatican-II progressives and their sex-embracing psychology their scapegoats; they blamed gay clergy.  Being both a victim and gay, I was angry, hurt, heartbroken, shamed, and frightened.  I'd wanted to run. 

But trusted others dissuaded me: "Don't make decisions in desolation." "The church and god have affirmed your vocation for eight years; you can't run from that now."  “Doubt is the vehicle to deeper faith and commitment.” "You don't need to come out of the closet; that's just pride tempting you." "It's not lying if those asking don't have a right to the information." "Your sexuality is a gift from god, in god's image, but if you act upon it’s 'disordered,' sinful." 

I dissuaded myself: "Jesus will work through my wounds, if I sacrifice everything."

During the ordination rite, an endless succession of priests passed on the priesthood by laying their hands upon my bowed head.  I knelt before them.  My kneecaps pressed through the thin cotton of my alb and ground against the hard floor.  After a few dozen hands had pressed upon my scalp, spasms began to shoot down my back.  I focused on the residual scent of incense in the air.  I breathed into the pain, the depression, for I deserved it.

Ruled by shame, I begged god for the strength to resist my "depraved" homosexual "urges."  Ruled by fear, I did nothing as the priest, who had assaulted me during confession and then sexuallyexploited me in college, placed his hands upon my head.   Ruled by redemptive suffering, I nailed my anger at him and all the corrupt priests and bishops to the cross.  There were no other options.  I accepted the only path prescribed to gay Catholic men: silent celibacy.

Thankfully, I no longer owe obedience to these clerics.  Ten years later, I am no longer a priest, no longer a Catholic.  The collective clerical closet in which I once lived is eight years abandoned. 

Others continue under that yoke.  I understand their plight, their fear.  It’s difficult to turn your back on the institution that “formed” you.  It’s terrifying to speak out against your superiors’ abuses.  It’s mindboggling to imagine a future beyond your career and community. It’s painful to witness cherished relationships end, as those, who cannot accept your truth, shun you. 

To those of you remaining, it is possible.  There is a life of health, peace, balance, joy, purpose, communion, love, and truth that exists beyond the Catholic church. 

Ten years after being ordained a priest, eight years after leaving the priesthood, and seven years after evicting the guilt imposed by my old religion, I can tell you that it does get better.  You can speak out about the abuse you endured.  You can build a new career.  You can make gather new friends and communities.  You can regain your mental health.  You can protest on the steps of your cathedrals.  You can find a creed or philosophy that brings you peace.  You can marry the man or woman that you love.  You can give of yourself to the world.

Not a day goes by that I regret leaving the priesthood and the church.  Ten years makes a difference indeed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Iowa Catholic Bishops Demand a Constitutional Convention to Ban Same-Sex Marriages

     Not to be outdone by Minnesota, the homophobic Catholic bishops and closeted priests of my home state have joined forces with conservative, Tea Party/Republicans in a new effort to strip same-sex couples of their civil marriage rights in that state.  They seek to impose Catholic and Conservative Christian law upon all citizens of the state.  But these churches are non-partisan, and therefore tax-exempt organizations.  Right.

     The Iowa Catholic Conference, the political and policy arm of the state’s four Catholic dioceses, announced Monday that it is urging Iowans to convene a constitutional convention in order to eventually ban same-sex marriage.
     “The ICC is encouraging Iowa Catholics to vote ‘yes’ on the decennial ballot question as a way to work with others for a marriage amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would affirm the traditional understanding that marriage is a union between a man and a woman,” said the group Call the Convention in a press release, later adding: “For far too long, the Iowa legislature has denied the people of Iowa their voice on issues such as traditional marriage, spending limits, tax reform, term limits, and Second Amendment rights.”
     A push to call a convention this year has some high-profile Republican supporters, including Chuck Laudner, a former executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa and chief of staff for 5th District U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron; Robert Haus, a veteran Republican strategist who helped orchestrate the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll in Ames; Brent Hoffman, a former member of Sioux City’s city council; Patti Brown, a partner in the Iowa Policy Institute; and Craig Robinson, a conservative blogger and former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa. 
     Since when is "the right to bear arms" part of Catholic social teachings?  Also, "tax reform"?  It sounds like the ICC has been infected with Tea-Party fever.  If it walks, talks, lobbies and campaigns like a Conservative Republican...   

     Will the "traditional understanding" of marriage that the ICC seeks to write into the Iowa constitution include the tradition of priests having affairs with married men and women in their parishes?  Because that is one tradition that definitely needs to be preserved.  
     Will non-Catholics wishing to be civilly divorced need to go through a Catholic annulment process?  Will women once again be exchanged as property in these "traditional" marriages?  Will wives be forced to remain silent as their husbands beat and rape them?  Will interracial couples be denied civil marriage?  Will African-Americans be denied civil marriage?  Why pick on just the gays?  Why not go after every change that has ever taken place in the "traditional" institution of marriage?  If I'm being extreme in my argument, I'm only applying the "slippery slope" standard that Catholic moral theology uses to argue against any sort of progressive change in civil law.  

     The ICC is disseminating this "educational flyer" throughout Iowa.  The flyer prescribes how Catholics are to "form" their consciences.  It is full of the self-contradictory doublespeak that pervades Catholic moral theology.  The flyer defines how "forming" one's conscience involves learning Catholic teachings, praying about one's choices, forming one's own moral convictions, and then having the courage to act on one's convictions.  Then the flyer goes on to list a series of fourteen questions, that must be answered affirmatively, in order to be consistent with the Catholic Church's position.  This is the mind-screw of Catholic moral theology: form your conscience, but then you must do, believe, and vote as we tell you to.

     What happens if you don't?

     I formed my conscience, as the church prescribed.  I got a Masters of Divinity at a Catholic seminary.  In my "well-formed conscience," I came to different conclusions.  I was ordered to obey my Iowa archbishop.  I followed my conscience.  I left the priesthood and the church.  But now, it's not enough for the church to let Catholics who disagree to just leave.  The church is going after civil laws in order to force all people, even those who disagree with Catholic teachings "in good conscience" and those who are not Catholics, to live according to tenants that a bunch of white, supposedly celibate and most likely gay clerics in the Vatican deem the only way to live.  Anything else in their eyes is "evil."  

     Iowa Catholics, who disagree need to speak up now and very loudly.  

     And for all you closeted priests, who remain, especially those of you who continue to "act out" on your "homosexual urges," you can live in truth.  There is life on the other side of the fear that keeps you in your shame.  There is love.  There is life beyond your hypocrisy.

     Postscript: Zero of the fourteen positions on the ICC flyer called for stronger laws to protect children from sexual predators or for tougher punishments on child abusers/rapists and the organizations that have protected these criminals in the past.  

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vianney Renewal Center (Club Ped) Exposed, Fr. Mustache Missing

     When priests in the Midwest are accused of sexually abusing children or sexually exploiting adults under their care, one of the places they are sent is Vianney Renewal Center, near St. Louis, Missouri, which is run by the Servants of the Paraclete.

     This center has been the recent target of a news investigation by KSDK, after a previous employee spoke about the center's pedophile residents, many of whom avoided prison by going to Vianney.  These priest-perpetrators are allowed  to wander unsupervised, to hang out in a jacuzzi, and to view the pornography of their choosing.

     After I came forward to my archbishop with sexual abuse allegations, my perpetrator, Fr. Mustache, was quietly sent for a psychological assessment at a place for priests who'd failed in their celibate commitments.  The place was in St. Louis.  

     I know that Fr. Mustache admitted to the archbishop that my accusation was true, but how this was worded, I don't know.  He may have played the perpetrator-tested "the kid seduced me card."  When I inquired about what he'd said, the archbishop barked that it was none of my business.  He had professional boundaries to maintain, of course, in order to protect Fr. Mustache, who'd violated all of my personal boundaries, repeatedly.  

     Fr. Mustache's admission came during the first few days of February 2004.  He was allowed to return to his campus ministry position until mid-March, before he was sent to St. Louis for his assessment.  During those months, he had access to the college boys that I'd seen him grooming just as he had me.   After Spring break, he returned to ministry without anyone knowing he'd been whisked off to St. Louis.  I don't know what the mysterious place in St. Louis concluded in Fr. Mustache's assessment.  I was told by the archbishop's go-between that it was none of my business.

     The last time I saw Fr. Mustache was in May 2004 at the annual archdiocesan summer gathering of priests.  Trapped between two priests in the middle of a pew during evening prayer,  I fought off a panic attack when I saw him leading the gathered clerics in music at the front of the chapel.  At the dinner that followed, Fr. Mustache received a standing ovation from his brother priests when the archbishop thanked him for his campus ministry leadership and promoted him to a position having something to do with being the head of Catholic identity in the schools.  The only priests not standing were those in my priest support group, who knew the truth of what had been covered up.

     This morning, I looked up the phone number of one of my old support group friends on the archdiocesan webpage, where I discovered that Fr. Mustache is no longer in his campus ministry position.  He's currently receiving mail c/o of a religious order in St. Louis, MO.  I don't know where he is or what he's doing there.

     I'm fairly certain that I wasn't his only victim. 

    If you are also a victim of Fr. Mustache, please, feel free contact me at  You are not alone.

Here are the KSDK reports on the Vianney Renewal Center 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Closeted Crist & Out Ashburn on Homo-Mehlman & Same Sex Marriage Bans

     In the wake of former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman's coming out party, other gay Republican politicians are making their voices heard.  Of course, there's quite a disparity between those in and out of the closet.  (Those of you who watch the fair and balanced news rhetoric on FOX wouldn't know anything about this story.)

     Outgoing California State Senator Roy Ashburn, who came out only after getting caught with a boy-toy in a government-owned vehicle after getting wasted at a gay bar (MWM. GOP. DWI. LGBT. OMG.), said the following to On Top Magazine in response Mehlman's post-anti-gay-Republican-career coming out party:
     “I'm pleased for him,” Ashburn said, “because knowing what I've been through in trying to keep a secret for so many years and in trying to hide my secret, doing things that were hurtful to gay people, coming to the realization that you can actually admit who you truly are, and to stop the hiding and the actions around that which are hurtful … I mean that's a big breakthrough and I'm happy for him.”
     Then Roy took it one step further:
     “I would argue that the Republican party, because of the principles underlying Republicanism, really is the party that should be championing equal rights for gay people, for all people." 
     Roy, I'm not holding my breathalyser.  There are still more self-hating closeted Republican politicians in office and positions of power far greater than outgoing state senator that are doing far greater harm than which you and a handful of other openly gay Republicans could ever atone.

Image from Wonkette
     For example, take Florida Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Crist.  Here's what this well-groomed governor had to say to Ed Henry on CNN's State of the Union:
ED HENRY, HOST: You have previously said in your gubernatorial campaign, you supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Now that you're trying to occupy the political center, are you still in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage?
CRIST: I feel the same way, yes, because I feel that marriage is a sacred institution, if you will. But I do believe in tolerance. I'm a live and let live kind of guy, and while I feel that way about marriage, I think if partners want to have the opportunity to live together, I don't have a problem with that...
HENRY: But governor, doesn't it sounds like you having it both ways [Jesus Crist!] by saying live and let live, but I also support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. If it's live and let live, why would you ban same-sex marriage?
CRIST: Well, everything is in a matter of degree, Ed, and when it becomes to the institution of marriage, I believe that it is between a man and a woman, it's just how I feel.
     Sorry, Charlie, but our constitution isn't based upon feelings.  Courts rule on findings of fact and conclusions of law, not on how one group feels the rest of the country feels or should feel.

     Perhaps, Charlie the Crist, needs to brush up on his civics, by reading the federal court's decision that California Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.  In it, he would find the eighty findings of fact and additional conclusions of law that form the spine of the court's ruling, not feelings.

     On the other hand, David Blankenhorn and Kenneth Miller, the only two witness produced by the Yes on 8 proponents, gave testimony that did not hold up in court.  The Yes on 8 proponents did such a miserable job that the court found "the opinions of Blankenhorn to be unreliable and entitled to essentially no weight in court" and Miller's to be "entitled to little weight."

     Those of us fighting for marriage equality are thankful that the federal court's decision was not based upon an opinion-poll-election and political commercials overflowing with false witness, but was instead based upon the facts and testimony of the plaintiff's seventeen witnesses.

     Basing rules and laws on opinions and feelings might work in church, but they don't hold up in a court of law.

     Charlie Crist is a disgrace to the gay community.  It's time he follows Mehlman and Ashburn's lead by forsaking his homophobic, bigoted feelings.  Come out, for Crist's sake!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Republican Sen. Roy Ashburn Talks Gay, on Life in and out of the Closet

     The Los Angeles Times has a telling interview with Senator Roy Ashburn, in which the conservative Republican discusses what it was like living a hypocritical life in the closet and how thankful he is that he was exposed and can now live honestly as a gay man.  

     Here are a few excerpts from the Times interview that reveal the fear and societal pressure that forces so many LGBT persons to hide the truth of their being:
     At some point, you must have realized a public career was incompatible with being open about your sexual preferences.
     Something happened that I guess caused me to realize that. When I was in sixth grade, the police had a raid in the sand dunes [near San Luis Obispo] and a bunch of gay men were arrested, probably charged with indecent activity. That sticks in my mind — the publicity and the shame around it. One of my teachers was one of the people. The talk among the kids, the talk among the adults, the talk in the community, the press — at that time the choice was pretty clear: If you were gay and open, it was a life of shame, ridicule, innuendo about molesting and perversion. It was a dark life. Given that choice of whether you come out or whether you're in secret, I mean, there really wasn't a choice.
     You worked for members of Congress, then were elected to public office yourself from Kern County. Were your sexual preferences in the back of your mind, or did you just go about your business?
     The answer is both yes and no. I was married and had children. And I had a career and a passion. I also had a huge secret. But given my circumstances and my responsibilities, it wasn't an overwhelming issue for me. The desires were always there, but my focus was primarily on — well, pretty selfishly — on me and my career and my family.
     A lot of people, gay or straight, are probably wondering why you voted even against issues like insurance coverage for same-sex partners.
     The best I can do is to say that I was hiding. I was so in terror I could not allow any attention to come my way. So any measure that had to do with the subject of sexual orientation was an automatic "no" vote. I was paralyzed by this fear, and so I voted without even looking at the content. The purpose of government is to protect the rights of people under the law, regardless of our skin color, national origin, our height, our weight, our sexual orientation. This is a nation predicated on the belief that there is no discrimination on those characteristics, and so my vote denied people equal treatment, and I'm truly sorry for that.
     Thankfully, Roy, you've come a long way.  It takes many of us years to get over the trauma and violence conditioning of childhood that forced us to live shamefully in the closet.  I'm happy to hear you've finally escaped.  

     Apology accepted.  Now go out there and use whatever clout you have left to support and pass legislation that will undo the damage of the anti-gay laws that your shame, fear, and self-serving closet once fueled.  

     As for the anti-gay laws that have been passed around this nation, I can only wonder how many votes were passed in favor of discrimination by men and women, who didn't even read the laws for fear that they might be seen as homosexual or weak in their Christian faith.  How many California citizens voted in favor of Proposition 8, stripping marriage rights from homosexual couples, because they were ashamed of themselves or because a closeted cleric, fueled by his own self-hatred and preservation, ordered they vote against the gays?

     To vote blindly against a piece of civil rights legislation  in a nation where all are supposedly created equal has to be one of the biggest hypocrisies a politician or citizen can commit.  Thank you, Roy Ashburn, for being the first politician that I know of to admit the sickness at the center of having a system of government where people are allowed to vote on whether minorities have equal civil rights.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

George Alan Rekers, Top Anti-Gay & Christian Activist, Goes Down in Gay "Escort" Scandal

    George Alan Rekers, Baptist minister, who is an anti-gay "scholar," NARTH board member, and founding member of the hate group, the Family Research Council, was caught in Miami returning from a ten day trip to Europe with a gay call-boy.  Welcome to the world of Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, and Roy Ashburn, good Christian George.

     (NARTH=National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.  So, maybe Rekers was just "researching" his online rental.)

     The pictures on the profile show a shirtless young man with delicate features, guileless eyes, and sun-kissed, hairless skin. The profile touts his "smooth, sweet, tight ass" and "perfectly built 8 inch cock (uncut)" and explains he is "sensual," "wild," and "up for anything" — as long you ask first. And as long as you pay.
     On April 13, the "rent boy" (whom we'll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.
     That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America's most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera.
     Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)
     Yet Rekers wouldn't deny he met his slender, blond escort at confirmed it.
     Rekers has been one of the leading ex-gay therapy voices of the past three decades.  He works closely with James Dobson, who is known for his homophobia and Gospel According to Hate.  Rekers has been outspoken in opposition to gay rights and with such vehemence that now has been explained.  

     Rekers is a disjointed, closeted, and shame-filled gay himself.  It gets very difficult condemning yourself continuously throughout the decades.  Sadly, this kind of shame produces compartmentalization, denial, and loathing that leads to very dangerous and sometimes criminal behavior. (See the Catholic Church for examples.)

     The Miami News Times dug deeper and found what could possibly be a criminal scandal buried in the Rekers debacle:
     As a favor to Rekers, Lucien recently removed any wanton sexual descriptors from his Rentboy profile. Though he does admit Rekers "likes younger guys to hang out with," Lucien is protective of his erstwhile client. He describes Rekers primarily as a family man — one whose passion for oppressing homosexuals is dwarfed by his desire to help children. "You don't understand how much this guy honestly cares about taking care of kids," he says.
     Indeed, much of Rekers's activism over the past three decades — beginning with his 1983 book, Shaping Your Child's Sexual Identity — has been devoted to improving children's lives by educating them, protecting them from their own budding sexualities, and keeping them safe from gay adoptions — as he did by testifying as an expert witness in favor of gay adoption bans in both Arkansas and Florida.
     Well, it's a good thing Rekers isn't gay himself. Lucien tells us that Rekers frequently takes in foster children and that four years ago he adopted a 16-year-old boy. We found the boy, who is now Lucien's age, on Facebook. He declined to be interviewed.
     The priests, scout masters, and doctors who sexually abuse are always the ones who groom their communities to believe that they have such passion for helping kids.  Who knows what Rekers' does in his closets, but all the hints are there.
Image Credits:

Rekers by Towleroad

Rekers and Lucien by New York Daily News

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mormon Traditional Marriage: One Gay Man Plus One Straight Woman Equals Big Love

     Gay Mormon writer, Ty Mansfield, who wrote In Quiet Desperation is getting married to a woman.  This is how Mormon, Catholics, and fundamentalist Christian in the United States want to save their "traditional marriage" values.  What hypocrisy!

     Published in October of 2004, this anti-gay message explains that for a gay Mormon, suicide is more honorable and justified than engaging in a homosexual act. Mansfield’s co-authors are the parents of Stuart Matis who, at the age of 32, committed suicide because of an inability to reconcile his Mormon upbringing and his own homosexuality. They also continue to support LDS leaders, who perpetuate discrimination against the LGBT community.

     As a practicing family therapist and doctoral student in Marriage and Family Therapy at Texas Tech University, Ty and his beliefs perpetuate a false hope that sexual orientation can be changed and that by way of Mormon doctrine homosexual lifestyles should be rejected and treated as an abhorrent practice. Through inaccurate and false counsel about homosexuality, in the past, gay men were advised to marry women claiming the temptation would subside [just like the Big Love storyline this past season]. And while LDS leaders have stated they no longer perpetuate said advice, as Carol Lynn Pearson explains, “Enough women have been sacrificed on that altar.”
     Mansfield and his fiancée Danielle Palmer have announced their wedding date as May 22nd 2010 in the Salt Lake City LDS temple.
     To read about Danielle and Ty's story, and how back in her college days as a self-proclaimed "Men's Chorus groupie," she watched Ty sing in the flamboyant BYU choral ensemble, but didn't fall in love with him until the god of Facebook reconnected them, click here

     And this is supposed to restore the sanctity of marriage?  Parents like those of Matis are the ones who are destroying children and families.

     I wonder who his best man is.

How straight are these gals?

Previously on Big Love:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What if All the Gay Catholic Priests Came out of the Closet?

     When I was a priest, I fantasized about composing a manifesto and emailing it to every priest in the world.  Together, all of us gay priests would come out of the closet from the pulpit on Transfiguration Sunday.  I knew the numbers were on our side.  All we had to do was overcome the paralyzing power of fear and shame.  If we did, then we would have the power of the truth on our sides, and there would be no more manipulation by the ecclesial powers that be, who controlled us with our shame.

     I composed the email, but I never pushed the send button.

     Scraping through the memories of my seminary and priesthood years, it's obvious that the vast majority of priests and wannabes were gay.  The percentage of gay priests is impossible to calculate because nearly all were/are in the closet. 
     When I left the priesthood I was clinically depressed.  I checked myself into a care facility for priests, nuns, and ministers who'd been broken by their churches.  The best six months of my life, in terms of my personal growth, followed.  At the Southdown Institute, gay clerics were encouraged to be out of the closet, and something we couldn't foresee occurred.   For the first time in our lives, we started to develop and mature honestly, in the light.  Our gay adolescence bloomed, exhilarating, excruciating, and ex-foliating.
     Some would say that allowing seminarians and priests to be out of the closet is too dangerous, for they will have sex and fall in love.  But in the current system of sacred silence, priests already have sex.  They fall in love.  They also torture and harm themselves and others because they are developmentally stunted from being the closetSome also abuse, even the most venerated.

     Even if we could prove that all these things would continue were priests out of the closet and even if priests still did these things, at least they would be living honest lives and witnessing to the truth of their experience rather than cowering in the clerical closet, shamefully vulnerable to the clerics in power who know of their gay secret.

     Nearly all of the gay clerics with whom I did my six months of intensive group therapy returned to ministry, and they were healthier, more honest, and, for the first time in their lives, free of shame.  They were no longer suicidal, clinically depressed, and/or eating, drinking, sexing, or snorting their ways into silent submission. They were whole and at peace. 

     Isn't bringing peace what Christians preach their gospel is supposed to do?  Then why does the church continue to force its leaders into a closet of deceit and shame?

     As long as the church preaches a closet of shame and fear to LGBT persons, those faithful will never find the truth that is supposed to set them free.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Roman Catholic, Republican turned Democrat, Married Father of Two, and Navy Man Eric Massa Goes Down on Glenn Beck and Larry King

     Republican turned Democrat, former congressman Eric Massa is campaigning hard to stay ahead of Roy Ashburn, Sarah Palin, and the Vatican prostitution scandal in recent hypocrisy news.  Massa would be in the lead, but unlike full-blooded Republicans Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Roy Ashburn, and Larry Craig who are embroiled in their own sex scandals, Massa has resigned.  Still, that hasn't kept Massa from leaving a wake of contradictions on the cable news circuit.

   The Roman Catholic, Naval Academy graduate, and married father of two has been living in the disjointed and compartmentalized closet for so long that he can't tell the difference between the multiple realities he's created for himself.  He speaks from one world with Larry King and from another with (Catholic turned MormonGlenn Beck, and Massa is delusional enough to believe that the public won't figure it out.

     The Washington Post reports:
     Massa went on television Tuesday night for the first time since the allegations surfaced, but his comments in two cable television interviews contradicted earlier statements, serving only to raise more questions. 
     The freshman Democrat told Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck that "not only did I grope [a staffer], I tickled him until he couldn't breathe," then said hours later on CNN's "Larry King Live" that "it is not true" that he groped anyone on his staff.
     He told Beck that he resigned from the House because he made the mistake of "getting too familiar with my staff" members, but he told King that he left primarily for health reasons. Massa, 50, has survived non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but he said he is afraid that he is facing his "third major cancer-recurrence scare."
     On Sunday, Massa said he was set up by powerful Democrats such as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) as part of an effort to remove opponents of health-care reform legislation. He backed away from that claim Tuesday, telling Beck, "I wasn't forced out. I forced myself out."
     "The notion that somehow the White House had anything to do with the series of events . . . is silly and ridiculous," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Tuesday, while Pelosi said in an interview with PBS's Charlie Rose that Massa is "a very sick person. He has been diagnosed with cancer." She added, "Perhaps his judgment is impaired because of the ethical issues that have arisen."
     Massa told a radio reporter last weekend that he did not know about the ethics investigation until he read about it in an online news story and that Hoyer never contacted him about the allegations. He repeated those points Tuesday night.
     But his staff earlier said Massa had been contacted by committee investigators.
     How does a man, who is the product of such venerable institutions as the Roman Catholic church, the Annapolis Naval Academy, and traditional marriage learn to lie like this?  Closet.  Closet.  Closet.

     The only thing missing from his resume is that he was once in seminary studying to be a priest.  Now that would complete the package.

     When will people finally wake up and see that legislating and shaming gays into the closet leads to neither enlightenment nor salvation?  Cancer-stricken Eric Massa embodies this sad, sad system in which we Americans live.

    Postscript:  For clips, commentary, and more detail on Massa's Glenn Beck meltdown, check out The Daily Beast.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Gay Strikes Back: the Catholic Communion Wars

Which of these men is gay?

     What is a priest to do when a known-homosexual approaches the altar for communion? 

     According to Father Luc Buyens of Reusel, Netherlands, you deny the honest-gay communion and mark his forehead with a cross instead.  (I must have missed that lecture in my Holy Eucharist and Mass practicum class in seminary.)  And what is a holy father to do if there are many gays in the congregation?  You won't, well actually you probably will, believe this one.

     NRC reports that during the pre-Lenten Carnival festivities in the southern Catholic towns of the Netherlands it's the local custom to elect a "prince," whose dutuies include "waving at crowds, ritual tomfoolery and doling out free beer, but also participating in the traditional mass on the Saturday that precedes Carnival, this year on February 13."

     Well, this year something went very wrong for Reusel's Catholic church.  Gijs Vermeulen, an out-of-the-closet gay bartender was elected prince and communion-chaos ensued. 

     NRC continues:
     According to Catholic teaching, people who live in sin are excluded from holy communion. It is public knowledge in Reusel that Vermeulen lives together with his boyfriend. Therefore, father Luc Buyens of the local church told the prince before the ceremony he would receive “a cross on his forehead but no communion wafer.”

     The incident has caused uproar. Gaykrant, a Dutch gay magazine, called upon its readers to go to Reusel and visit last Sunday’s mass. Confronted with a deluge of homosexuals, father Buyens called upon the bishop of Den Bosch for guidance, before deciding to send his entire flock, regulars and new arrivals alike, home without granting them the communion.

     Now, an even larger crowd looks set to descend on the Cathedral of St. John, an historic monument that has long been home to the bishop of Den Bosch.
     Receiving communion is the lifeblood of the Catholic spiritual experience, but rather than feed his flock, Father Buyens withheld communion from the entire congregation!   I bet he didn't abstain.  It wouldn't have been a real Mass if the preist didn't take communion.  I'm guessing he ate his fill at the elevated altar, while his starving flock watched in a throwback to the Middle Ages.

     Catholic lesson of the day:  It's better to deny an entire congregation communion, rather than risk putting Jesus in the mouth of a few honest gays.  But, it's okay to give closeted gays as much body of Christ as their tongue can handle.  This is the Catholic "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," or better put, "We'll ask in the confessional, tell us the truth, so we can prescribe you with an appropriate penace that will prove to Father that you are subbordinate and eager to make up for you sins." 

     The hypocrisy here lies once again in the oh-so-gayness of the Catholic clergy and ecclesial hierarchy.  Are Father Buyens and Bishop Antoon Hurkmans of Den Bosch gay?  I don't know.  Flip a coin for each of them and find out. estimates that 50% of priests and seminarians are gay.  From my experience as both seminarian and priest, I'd say that's a decent but somewhat low-balled estimate. 

     While I was a seminarian and priest (still in the closet), the vast majority of priests and seminarians I encountered were out-of-the-closet but only in the internal forum, meaning within the protective confines of confession, spiritual direction, counseling, and their inner priestly circle.  Since leaving the preisthood, I've met and spoken honestly with ex-priests.  I've learned out about numerous still-practicing priests who are still closeted.  The seminary network is a small world, and at a gathering of friends in West Hollywood, I'm always amazed at the people I meet who went to seminary and are friends with priests that served in my small hometown in Iowa.  It's a small, small (gay) world in the Catholic clergy, which is why the closeted guys have so much to lose by the gay rights movement

     The truth was best stated by a closeted seminarian friend of mine who remains a priest today: "We're gay until proven straight." 

     Father Donald Cozzens wrote that several studies have concluded that about 50% of priests and seminarians are gay.
     David France of Newsweek, referring to St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, CA, wrote: "Depending on whom you ask, gay and bisexual men make up anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent of the student body at the college and graduate levels."

     Rt. Rev. Helmut Hefner, rector of St. Johns Seminary "accepts that his gay enrollment may be as high as 50 percent."

     Gay journalist Rex Wockner commented: "When I was in the Catholic seminary in my early 20s (St. Meinrad College, St. Meinrad, Ind., 1982-1983; University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Ill., 1983-1984), at least 50 percent of the students were gay....At St. Mary of the Lake, the straight students felt like a minority and felt excluded from some aspects of campus life to such an extent that the administration staged a seminar at which we discussed the problem of the straight students feeling left out of things..."

     Author and sociologist James G. Wolfe estimated that 55.1% of seminarians were gay.
     It's difficult to estimate any accurate numbers dealing with closeted people, who have so much to lose by coming out.  I only know my own experience, and among the priests that I knew in my diocese I'd guess at least 50-60% were gay, and among the people with whom I was in seminary, I estimate between 80-85% were gay or bisexual. 

     These are the men who would deny homosexual Catholics communion.  Hypocrites!

     Let us close with the words of Prince Gijs Vermeleun, which summarize the truth of not only current Cathlic praxis, but also the history of religion in general:
     “What annoys me as well is the lack of uniform policy. Other so-called sinners – not that I would call them that – do not have this problem. If the church were consistent, nobody could receive communion.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pope's Preemptive Strike in Great Britain

     Big surprise: Pope Ben is bashing LGBT persons again, this time in a preemptive on Great Britain's pending equality legislation, setting the stage for coming visit in September.  A visit, that according to the National Secular Society will cost British taxpayers approximately £20m ($31.88 U.S.), that includes the taxpayers whom Benny doesn't want to have equal civil rights under the law.  But don't worry because, "The pope urged the bishops to make their voices heard and to defend the faith, saying Christian teaching did not undermine or restrict the freedom of others." Of course it doesn't, you historically blind, delusional and hypocritical imbecile!

     In a speech in which he confirmed that he will be coming to Britain on a four-day visit in September, the Pope said: “Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet, as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.
     “In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.”
     There it is again: the precious natural law argument.  That is the natural law as seen through the Medieval, male-centered, and heterosexist, colored lenses of the one, holy, Roman, and closeted Catholic church. 

    Ruth Glenhill of the Times Online responds to Ben's argument that anti-discrimination laws encroach on the church's religious freedom to discriminate according to their belief system:
     The question the Pope seems to skate over is whether religious communities can legitimately choose for themselves their own constitutional arrangements. The Pope’s view is a misunderstanding of that principle. Religious toleration involves not passing laws that aid a religion or elevate one religion over others. Laws that subject religion to the same responsibilities on discrimination as civil society are not a violation of religious liberty because they do not penalise religion.
     The Government, in the Equality Bill, has never intended to remove from religious groups the right to apply religious criteria to religious jobs, such as those of priests. Harriet Harman’s intention is merely to clarify what is and is not a religious job, ensuring that the secular workers are not subject to unfair discrimination because of their sexuality or any other reason.
      Pope Ben and others, who argue that equal rights and anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT persons impede conservative church's religious liberties, are so self-righteous that they fail to consider the religious liberty of other individuals, who have no problem with LGBT persons. 

     The laws will not require Benny to ordain gay men, so he can still keep his clerical "Do Ask, Don't Tell (the Truth)" policy in place.  He and his bishops will be able to continue to manipulate their closeted gay clerics (and have periodic "celibate falls" with them) and will be able to continue to project their own shame by bashing the evil homosexuals and atheists who are responsible for the "destruction" of society.  No one is taking that "right" of his away.

     Pope Benedict XVI still has the right to continue to be a defecating sphincter, who thinks his own anal pronouncements do not offend.