Thursday, December 01, 2005

No gay priests, part 7: Out with it!

I've really beaten this one to death--this may be the last post on this topic, or not--but there is one more interesting question related to the whole gay clergy thing: Should priests come out?

Actually, a number have in the past few days, including a Chicago pastor--which is a hell of a thing to do when your bishop is Francis George. Other priests in Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Toronto have as well.

All I can say is thank God. For one thing, the people of God need to know that they have been faithfully, often extraordinarily, served by gay priests, not to mention gay, lesbian, and bisexual lay people like me. (If it isn't obvious that this is personal.) This issue needs a face, and I'm pretty sure once Catholics see the dedication of these men, they'll realize how wrong-headed this policy really is. It may cause some uncomfortable conversation, along with inordinate attention on whether the priest in question has ever had sex, but it's time for this whole thing to quit being an open secret.

What we need is an honest, authentic, grown-up conversation about what we want out of our ordained ministers. I'm willing to bet that high on the list will be integrity, authenticity, compassion--all hallmarks of true holiness. Absent by and large, I think, will be a checkbox on the sexual orientation of the pastor.


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