Gay priests are once again facing attacks and need the faithful’s support. Pope Francis’ recent comments in an interview have troubled the waters further about whether he really believes “Who am I to judge?” And many conservative voices unjustly scapegoat gay priests for the clergy sexual abuse scandal which has surged in a new way this year.
As Catholics, we know that for centuries gay men in the priesthood have faithfully, dutifully, and effectively served the People of God. We have experienced their pastoral sensitivity and insights, and we appreciate the perspective which they offer the Church community. Their many gifts have produced wonderful blessings in vibrant, inclusive faith communities, in theology, in pastoral care, and in a special empathy for people who are marginalized.
Vatican II’s “Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests” exhorts priests to “remember that in carrying out their task they are never alone but are supported by the almighty power of God. . .remember too that they have their brothers in the priesthood and indeed the world’s entire believers, as allies (Presbyterum Ordinis, 22).
Unjust criticism and further scapegoating instill shame and fear in the hearts of many gay priests and seminarians, and send harmful, negative messages to all LGBT people–those who are members of the Church, those who work for the Church, and even those who have no affiliation with the Church. We want these ministers to know that we stand with them in this dark hour. We want Church leaders to know that we reject false narratives about gay priests and we reject the ban on the ordination of gay men. Such falsehoods and such a ban goes against our deeply held Catholic principles of non-discrimination and the human dignity and equality of all.