Bishop: Gay Priests “Wreaking Great Devastation” in Church and Cause of Sexual Abuse

Bishop Robert Morlino

Traditionalist Church leaders are again trying to blame sexual abuse by clergy on gay priests and religious men. One bishop has even suggested a ‘homosexual subculture” is “wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord.” But many Catholics have pushed back, rightfully acknowledging the positive role gay priests and religious have played in the Church while identifying real causes of abuse as crimes of power not sex. Today’s post reports on the bishops’ gay-negative statements while tomorrow’s post shares several analyses of this trend.

Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, offered some of the strongest attacks on gay priests in a letter published August 18th. National Catholic Reporter documented his words:

“‘It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord’. . .

[Morlino] pointed to a deeper crisis of acceptance and diminishment of sin, saying ‘we have refused to call a sin a sin,’ and urged the church to resist becoming a refuge for sin, including ‘deviant sexual — almost exclusively homosexual — acts by clerics.'”

“‘We are talking about acts and actions which are not only in violation of the sacred promises made by some, in short, sacrilege, but also are in violation of the natural moral law for all. To call it anything else would be deceitful and would only ignore the problem further,'” Morlino said.”

Morlino added that being gay makes one “unfit” for priesthood, and called on Catholics in the Madison diocese to report “unchaste behavior.”

Other U.S. bishops have made similar claims about homosexuality and the priesthood. Cardinal Raymond Burke, formerly of St. Louis and who was demoted by Pope Francis from a top Vatican position, said, according to Gay Star News:

“‘I believe that there needs to be an open recognition that we have a very grave problem of a homosexual culture in the Church, especially among the clergy and the hierarchy, that needs to be addressed honestly and efficaciously. . .I think it has been considerably aggravated by the anti-life culture in which we live, namely the contraceptive culture that separates the sexual act from the conjugal union.'”

In Denver, Archbishop Samuel Aquila affirmed Morlino’s letter and also published his own letter. He stated in it that Catholics “have listened more to the world than to Christ and the Church when it comes to human sexuality.” Separating sex from procreation makes it possible to “justify just about any sexual act,” he stated, including homosexuality, which he condemned per Catechism 2357. Aquila also tweeted a highly charged article by the LGBT-negative Monsignor Charles Pope that blamed “active homosexuality” for the abuse crisis.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield released a video, “Sexual Misconduct: Pruning and purification continues within the church,” reported NCR. In it, Paprocki stated, “Clergy as well as lay people have far too easily rationalized why and how the church’s moral teachings on sexuality and chastity do not apply to them, resulting in the scandalous situation in which we now find ourselves.”

Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville tweeted that “uncontrolled homosexuality” is a cause of abuse among several others.

Tomorrow, Bondings 2.0 will review a number of responses to bishops and others who claim homosexuality is somehow a cause of clergy sexual abuse. But one observation now is simply that Morlino and others show through their comments that they poorly informed on both sexuality and abuse and that they have seemingly rejected contemporary knowledge on these topics. People in their dioceses deserve better than junk science and prejudiced claims from shepherds who are supposed to teach and lead with pastoral concern.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, September 3, 2018

10 replies
  1. Thomas Ellison
    Thomas Ellison says:

    This is discouraging but I am not surprised. I expected scapegoating to arise and so it has.
    I haven’t been to Mass for several weeks and this is not helping. Occasionally, one can read articles about a schism and possible ‘break off’ within the Church. Some have called it the American Catholic Church…. a particularly hideous idea.

    • Kris
      Kris says:

      I recall reading, years ago, a prophecy, that the Catholic Church in the US would break away from Rome.

      The idea seemed much too outlandish at the time. Now I’m not as sure.

  2. Don E Siegal
    Don E Siegal says:

    “[A]nd others show through their comments that they [are] poorly informed on both sexuality and abuse and that they have seemingly rejected contemporary knowledge on these topics.”
    In our small mountain village, our homily addressed the priest sexual abuse scandal. Our priest noted the hierarchy was no more than 3% of the Church. He identified clericalism as the root cause of the scandal. The focus of the homily was that as humans we all have a duality of light and darkness. Not recognizing our darkness was another. There were assurances that Safe Environment is conscientiously in place in our Dioses of Fresno CA. Notably, there was no mention of gay priests as a cause of the problem. Our community is LGBT affirming, and I believe that the contributions of our LGBT members, although few in number, is part of the reason.

  3. Poolgirl2
    Poolgirl2 says:

    Seems very tidy at this time to wrap up sex and sexuality and blame LGBT, contraception, and abortion together in an evil web. This from MEN who are supposedly celibate and know very little about how to manage healthy sexual relationships in an unmarried state or a married one.

  4. George J.Morris
    George J.Morris says:

    Many of the abuse cases in the recent Pennsylvania report, as well as in the Archdiocese of NY, where I live (and work as a Safe Environment trainer) have involved a priest and a post-pubescent boy. This could be classified as homosexual predatory behavior, rather than pedophilia. However, these bishops are guilty of gross over-generalization, to say the least. By their “logic”, we’d be looking to purge Hollywood of heterosexual men.

  5. Friends
    Friends says:

    As always, wonderful and insightful comments from our readers. I’m sorry if some of our people may find the following observation offensive, but I feel it so strongly that I need to say it: look at the photograph of Wisconsin’s vehemently anti-gay Bishop Morlino at the top of this page, and judge for yourself whether this man seems worthy of the submissive obedience that he presumes to demand from you. I really don’t like to engage in “ad hominem” responses, but there is nothing in what he self-presents in this picture that would incline me to genuflect before his presumptive throne of ecclesiastical authority.

    • Steven Stencil
      Steven Stencil says:

      I believe you are so on point! The perception prevails that there are a number of newly outspoken bishops and cardinals dressed like queens in their elaborate (feminine) robes with satin & lace who are known among many to be homosexual themselves (however closeted) pointing the blame at other “queens” in the hope of taking the focus of themselves. Many of them entered the seminary at 13 or 14 and experienced the arrest of their psychosexual development in the mid- to late-teens and quite immature with sexuality integration; responding to God’s gift of human sexuality with perverse contempt, guilt, and shame. They have not shown human compassion or leadership for their brother priests to promote their healthy psychosexual development, and in many of the seminaries there are sexually immature men directing the lives of young men who will also become sexually immature….and the hellish cycle continues. The centuries-old structure of the Church has always dealt with this reality….except now it has become more exposed! The issue saturates the worldwide Roman Catholic Church and others. Imagine with the sexual scandal truly breaks loose in Latin America, Africa, and in the Pacific Islands, especially in the beloved Philippines!


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