Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Priests defy Vatican anti-gay stand, start gay advocacy group

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From the Washington Blade: Priests speak out against Vatican's anti-gay policies New group founded: Catholics Affirming Homosexual Leadership By ELIZABETH WEILL-GREENBERG | Nov 15, 9:45 PM Some Catholic priests who are tired of the Vatican's anti-gay rhetoric have joined together to start Catholics Affirming Homosexual Leadership, an organization founded to support gay clergy and parishioners. The CAHL Web site explains its purpose: "As members of the Catholic Church, we want to express our support for the countless gay religious men and women, deacons, priests and bishops who have ministered in the Church throughout the ages. We affirm those gay priests and seminarians who continue this tradition of faithful service." In recent months, rumors have circulated that the Vatican is planning to release a document banning gay men from the priesthood. The Italian newspaper, Il Giornale, reported that the secret document will be published on Nov. 29. The eight-page document is called "Instruction on the criteria for determining the vocation of candidates with homosexual tendencies who stand to be admitted to the priesthood and the sacred orders." The document states: "The Church may not admit to the priesthood those who practice homosexuality, present deeply-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support so-called 'gay culture.'" The Il Giornale article was translated for this publication by Northwestern University professor of Italian, Thomas Simpson. To counteract those types of unwelcoming policies and sentiments, Father Michael has joined with other Catholic priests to, as the CAHL Web site states, "affirm the value of our gay/lesbian clergy … in the face of apparent bigotry and growing intolerance." Father Michael agreed to be interviewed by this publication, but requested that his last name not be published at this time. Gay priests, who have been scapegoated for the church's sex abuse crisis, have felt that pain most acutely. The possible ban on gay men becoming priests "negates [their] contributions," Father Michael said. "It's hurtful for gays who work very hard to hear statements of that nature coming from their own institutions," he said. "We want to try to alleviate some of the hurt that's been caused." Advocating for social justice is not new to Father Michael. He has worked for affordable housing and workers' rights. Support for gays and lesbians in his church is a natural extension of his activism, he said. "It's consistent with what I do all the time," said the priest. While Father Michael said he understands that gay and lesbian Catholics may be tempted to leave the church, he hopes that organizations like his will help amplify a welcoming voice within Catholicism. "Our hope is that we continue to affirm gay and lesbian Catholics who struggle to stay a part of the church," Father Michael said. "We hope they hang in there." Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg can be reached at Original Source ====== Wow... this whole Vatican anti-gay document thing is really blowing up to be something big. Maybe this is the start of some type of "Catholic Revolution" in the US.