The Way Forward

This brave, celibate and well-loved gay priest has dealt with the emotional issue of gay priesthood not with anger, but with honesty. Honesty matters - especially in the priesthood, which is why the policy of keeping celibate gay priests in the closet is so destructive to the integrity of the Church. When I see such a figure, I feel enormous hope and solace, and I also feel some self-criticism. Most of the time, I've been painfully honest, calm and reasoned as a gay writer in a fraught time. But I've also succumbed to anger occasionally. The anger doesn't persuade anyone; and it doesn't do me much good either. I have prayed to overcome it. It springs, I guess, from being so profoundly rejected by a Church I love and a faith I cherish. But that faith also teaches us to resist that anger and to translate it into constructive argument. There's a spectrum here - from the righteous rage of Act-Up to the calm honesty of Father Morrison. But we now have a role model in the Church. What a difference more would make. It's time for gay priests to confront the new policies by simply telling the truth - an assertion that would in itself, I think, help them remain celibate. Secrecy and shame perpetuate pathology. Honesty and self-respect bring you maturity and the strength to do what God may ask of you. To gay priests, the late John Paul II had a message that, while he never intended it for them as such, rings ever more true:

"Be not afraid!  Of what should be not be afraid? ... We should not fear the truth about ourselves."

And that truth will set us free.