QUAERITUR: “openly gay EMHC, an ex-priest”

From a reader:

I come from a mid-sized parish with at least 10 EMHCs every Sunday, which just seems like way too much. I’ve also noticed that they give blessings, with the laying on of hands and everything, to catechumens, non-Catholics, etc. I’m a catechumen myself and obviously not an expert, but this seems wrong – maybe even invalidating the blessing?

We also have at least one openly gay EMHC, an ex-priest at that.
Should he be serving the Eucharist at all? Who should I contact about these issues?


Three issues here.

First, are that many EMHC’s really necessary?

On this point, though I don’t know the situation on the ground there in the parish (e.g. numbers of communicants, the age and physical condition of the priest, the availability of deacons, etc.) I can’t say too much. However, even if there really isn’t a need for lay distributors, the concept of active participation and the distinction of roles of clerics and lay people is now so screwed up in some places that you might as well shout your concerns into the knothole of a tree for all the good it will do. Raise the issue and you will be told that this is the “right” of the “baptized”, blah blah blah. So, you’ll have to shrug that off for now.

Second, can EMHCs give blessings?

NO. I direct your attention to this entry HERE. That should answer your questions. As a catechumen this will be great catechesis for you.

If EMHCs are doing this at that parish, you could address your question to the parish priest or to the local bishop.  However, again, people are so muddle-headed about blessings and the difference of clerical and lay roles, you might receive silence and the 1000 yard stare.

Third, “openly gay EMHC, an ex-priest”!

Grrr. No. This isn’t to be happening.

This is a more serious problem.  It is also something you have to be sure about before doing anything.

Perhaps a direct question to the parish priest could serve you well in this situation.  “Is Sempronius, the EMHC, a priest who left active ministry?”  If yes, “How does that square with Redemptionis Sacramentum 168?”

In the document from the Congregation for Divine Worship called Redemptionis Sacramentum we read:

4. Those Who Have Left the Clerical State

[168.] “A cleric who loses the clerical state in accordance with the law . . . is prohibited from exercising the power of order”. It is therefore not licit for him to celebrate the sacraments under any pretext whatsoever save in the exceptional case set forth by law, nor is it licit for Christ’s faithful to have recourse to him for the celebration, since there is no reason which would permit this according to canon 1335. Moreover, these men should neither give the homily nor ever undertake any office or duty in the celebration of the sacred Liturgy, lest confusion arise among Christ’s faithful and the truth be obscured.

If it is true that an ex-priest is acting as a EMHC, you could bring the matter to the attention of the local bishop with a copy of the letter to the Congregation for Divine Worship, which issued the document Redemptionis Sacramentum.

However, you would need, first, to be RIGHT, namely, know correctly that he is an ex-priest (a priest not in active ministry for one reason or another).  Then you would have to demonstrated that he actually does what you say he does, namely, that he serves as an EMHC.  Perhaps a parish bulletin would have a list of EMHCs for a Sunday.  Perhaps there would be a photo.  Perhaps there would be some other people who would affirm that this is going on.  Perhaps the pastor of the parish would defend the activity of the man in question in writing.

In any event, it could be useful to make sure you have FACTS and not just be guessing.

Reason #60382 for Summorum Pontificum.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Rev. Paul L. Vasquez says:

    “Ex-priest” encompasses quite a bit.

    My recollection is that even a priest not removed by the law (c.1335 occurs in Book VI: Sanctions, in the Chapter concerning Penalites and other punishments) but who appealed for an indult and had it granted is also prohibited, but on that I would have to yield to someone who has seen the wording of the typical indult.

  2. colospgs says:

    Father Z, I’m sure you read these emails before you post them on the site here, but, really? People still have these issues? [I suppose you are suggesting by this that it isn’t necessary to pay attention to Redemptionis Sacramentum.] Are you sure that this isn’t some kind of “spam” or something to distract you from your mission here? [“My mission”?] I mean, really, are there still a bunch of “ex-priest, homosexual, Eucharistic ministers” out there? [Read again what you wrote and then read my top entry. Who said “a bunch”? This questioner had a legitimate question. Also, I know one parish where there were two priests out of active ministry functioning in liturgical roles against the Church’s law. It happens.] Or is this some one taking up your valuable time, in order to distract you from your true mission? [“My true mission”?] But if there are still really this kind of situation out there, how did they “stumble” across your blog? Suspicious, I’d say. [How ’bout this. You post on your blog what you want to post and I’ll post on my blog what I want to post. Okay?]

  3. Supertradmum says:


    I am not sure I understand your concern for Father Z. Of course, these things are happening and the faithful lay person must act on such. We had a situation in a parish many years ago of an openly gay organist, living with his partner, hired and working in our church which was locally famous for its liturgical music. He was asked by the pastor to step down after some of the laity talked to the pastor about the situation. He was also working with a children’s choir. It was helpful that the man was public about his status and he did, graciously step down, all involved citing “irreconcilable differences”. As a lay woman who has come across many situations, I have wanted to learn how to deal with these correctly. As a student at Notre Dame, I had to share with the priest in charge of a certain hugely attended liturgy that the professor who had been selected to do the readings at the solemn high Mass was divorced and not annulled, and remarried. The priest did not know and was grateful for the information. That priest is now Bishop Jenky of the Peoria Diocese. The man did not read after that. I was very young and did the best I could without the fantastic advice of Father Z. Father Z has many missions and helping us deal with the proper respect for Christ in the Liturgy is one of them.

  4. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I would be curious to see if “Ecclesia de mysterio” has been heavily cited by more recent documents on liturgical matters/abuses..

  5. robtbrown says:


    It would be naive to assume there are not still anomalous situations. How about an EMHC who openly brags about his vasectomy? Or one with as a bumper sticker supporting pro-abortion candidates?

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  6. frjim4321 says:

    I would imagine that members of the Catholic Faithful who have continued to be active despite being marginalized by some of the more self-righteous have simply found communities that are more welcoming and less judgmental. [Take it up with the Congregation.]

  7. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    Fr. Z,

    With all due respect, I believe your answer to this reader is mis-leading. Her question was regarding an openly gay EMHC who happened to be an ex-priest. I do not understand why this gentleman could not be an EMHC if he was not an ex-priest. I would assume he was a Catholic in good standing (including chaste) like any other unmarried parishioner who volunteered to be an EMHC. In other words, it should not matter if he was gay. Please clarify this point. [It is not necessary even to get into the issue of the man’s sexual proclivities. If he is a priest out of active ministry he may not serve in liturgical roles.]

  8. capebretoner says:

    @frjim4321: It seems to me that many faithful members of the Church are being marginalized by those who, rather than express the truth of our Faith in charity and love, prefer to be more “welcoming and less judgemental”; (which, from my experience, normally means ignoring something that should not be ignored). Just my humble opinion though.

  9. jhayes says:

    Robtbrown says: “How about an EMHC…with a bumper sticker supporting pro-abortion candidates?”

    Depends on what the bumper sticker says. If it says “Support abortion, vote for X” that’s one thing; if it just says “vote for X,” it shouldn’t raise any question about being an EMHC.

    Please see #34 and #35 of the USCCB policy statement “Forming Consciences for Faithful Ciizenship”


  10. Ef-lover says:

    Trad Catholic Girl says:
    27 December 2011 at 10:38 am
    Fr. Z,

    With all due respect, I believe your answer to this reader is mis-leading. Her question was regarding an openly gay EMHC who happened to be an ex-priest. I do not understand why this gentleman could not be an EMHC if he was not an ex-priest. I would assume he was a Catholic in good standing (including chaste) like any other unmarried parishioner who volunteered to be an EMHC. In other words, it should not matter if he was gay. Please clarify this point

    —-I would think the operative word in the question was this ex-priest is “openly” gay meaning he is in a “relationship” with another man –but if one can not prove the “openly” gay part , he can be removed by canon law for being an ex-priest who is to have no function in the liturgy

  11. Speculae says:

    There are a few issues here that are of concern. The first is of course the fact that this man is an ex-priest, as stated within Redemptionis Sacramentum, he should not be involved in any liturgical activity that may confuse the faithful as to his standing with regard to his priesthood.

    The second is that he is an EMHC…and I just can’t abide them.

    But the third is a concern for a wholly different reason. As to being “openly gay”… do you mean that he has simply said that he is a homosexual, or do you mean that he is actively homosexual. I get the impression from the comments here that the very fact of his being a homosexual is a problem in itself. If the Church is to reach out to active homosexuals we have to accept that that is what they are and support them in living a chaste life…this honesty is vital if we are to have authentic relationships with each other as members of the Body of Christ. We can’t teach that homosexuals must give up their sexual lives and then demand also that they pretend to be something that they are not once they come into the Church. We cannot claim that we offer the Truth and then once people accept it ask them to live a lie.

    If by “openly gay” it is meant that he is having sexual relations with someone (or more), then of course there is a problem and he must not be allowed to function as an EMHC.

    All such problems/concerns/confusions could of course be overcome by simply doing away with EMCHs.

  12. frjim4321 says:

    jhayes is correct. The EM in question may well be thinking it is better to endorse a candidate under whom fewer abortions are likely to take place now and in the future rather than to endorse a candidate who spouts anti-choice lip service to socially conservative voters but whose policies will guarantee high abortion numbers.

  13. Kevin says:

    Of course people struggling with homosexual desires are welcome in the Catholic Church. We are all sinners in some way. Similarly, someone who attempts to resist these desires – just as every single one of us without exception must bear his or her own cross – is welcome to participate in the liturgy in any way that is appropriate to their personal circumstances.

    However, if someone has decided to embrace his homosexual desires and does not at least try to resist them (e.g. it is not resistance if one forms a semi-permanent and public sexual partnership with a person of the same sex, as “openly gay” often implies), then he must have the humility to assume an appropriate role in church (i.e. by sitting in the congregation and praying that his heart may be turned more fully towards God and given the strength to reject his sinful habits).

    Assuming he is an “open”, or rather unrepentant, homosexual in a state of mortal sin (something which the original query received by Fr. Z does not seem to clarify), it is not appropriate for him to take a prominent position in the liturgy, because doing so implies to the rest of the Faithful – some of whom may be suffering grievous torments from similar sinful thoughts and desires of their own – that the “open” and unrepentant homosexual behaviour is acceptable to or condoned by God and His Church. “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Mt. 18:6)

    All too often people go to Church with a set of personally or culturally dictated conditions: “I believe in everything, except the following…” A person should want to be changed by the Church, not to change the Church.

  14. DavidJ says:

    While you cannot expect Lectors, EMHCs, and even clerics to be perfect, those involved in any kind of public ministry, especially in the Liturgy, should not be publicly-manifest sinners or in a position to cause scandal by their actions. Serving as that kind of minister is in no way a right and it should not be treated as one.

  15. jhayes says:

    The instruction regarding all kinds of extraordinary ministers says this. It doesn’t make any distinction between gay and straight people

    Should it become necessary to provide for “supplementary” assistance in any of the cases mentioned above, the competent Authority is bound to select lay faithful of sound doctrine and exemplary moral life. Catholics who do not live worthy lives or who do not enjoy good reputations or whose family situations do not conform to the teaching of the Church may not be admitted to the exercise of such functions. In addition, those chosen should possess that level of formation necessary for the discharge of the responsibilities entrusted to them.


    I think it’s important to avoid assuming that a gay person is less likely to meet these standards than anyone else.

  16. colospgs says:

    OK. I didn’t mean any offense. I’m sorry.

  17. haribo says:

    Presumably, if the EMHC in questions self-identifies as “gay,” then it should be easy enough to discern whether he also lives a “gay” lifestyle and would be disqualified for not leading an “exemplary moral life.”

  18. I object to the misuse, the misappropriation of “gay” for unnatural attraction or action.

  19. david andrew says:

    Carey Landry, call your office.

  20. jhayes says:

    Haribo, I have heard a public lecture at a Jesuit college where the visiting speaker introduced himself as ” Hi, I’m ___ ____, an unpartnered gay priest.” It didn’t make me doubt that he was leading an exemplary moral life. Would that qualify as being “openly gay”?

    If a woman EMHC introduced someone as her “boyfriend” would you try to “discern” if they were cohabiting, having occasional sex or in a totally chaste relationship? Would you do differently in the case of a male EMHC who said openly that he was gay?

    We are all sinners. It’s tempting to see the sins we are not ourselves tempted to commit as being worse than the ones we do commit.

  21. Centristian says:

    I’ve come across alot of EMHC’s who are “openly gay”, that is to say, they are truly “gay”: open, out loud, and proud of their sexual orientation, and living the lifestyle. They do not merely “suffer from same-sex attraction,” but are, indeed, “gay”. And I have yet to meet a church organist who is not “gay”.

    I’m not worried about the organists, to be honest. Everyone expects it and nobody’s scandalized by a gay musician. Where would the Church be without homosexual artists and musicians, after all? Let’s face it, they usually have better taste than the rest of us. I don’t know why, but they almost invariably do. Should they reject their talents and their flamboyancy? Well…no. There’s nothing sinful about being colorful and creative. One would certainly hope, however, that they have rejected or would reject same-sex sexual intimacy and every aspect of cultural depravity; that they would live chastely as faithful Christians responding to God’s call to personal celibacy. One would hope the latter for priests and religious, the single, heterosexual bachelors and divorcees, too, incidentally.

    As far as EMHCs go, however, the matter is more grave than it is with respect to church musicians, I think. Persons gay or straight or anything in bewteen who are living an immoral lifestyle shouldn’t be on the altar, and certainly shouldn’t be distributing the Holy Eucharist. In fact I often wonder why such persons volunteer for church ministry to begin with. It doesn’t seem to make alot of sense to me that persons who reject and ridicule the teachings of the Church should desire to publicly serve it. An enduring mystery.

    Alas, there is no vetting process to ensure that only good Catholics who are living their faith are appointed. If you want to be an EMHC, you get to be an EMHC, period. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, of course, but that’s the way it is. Gay. Divorced. Uncatechized. Heretical. Sociopathic. No questions asked. The problem isn’t gay people distributing Communion at Mass, the problem is lay people distributing Communion at Mass.

    A man or woman who suffers from same-sex attraction but who rejects it and faithfully embraces Catholicism as a lifestyle is as qualified as any other layman to serve in the Church, even as an EMHC. But are laymen qualified to distribute Communion at Mass at all? I say they typically are not (and that their presence at the altar is inappropriate in any event).

    Lay ministers of the Eucharist ought to at least have to submit to some vetting and serious training if they are going to be entrusted with such a sacred task. But should a layman subject himself to a serious preparation and training for the task and pass with flying colors, as it were, then, as I see it, it should make no difference whether he is heterosexual or homosexual. If a properly trained, catechized, moral heterosexual layman who is a faithful Catholic may distribute Holy Communion, then a properly trained, catechized, moral homosexual layman who is a faithful Catholic should also be able to.

    “Moreover, these men should neither give the homily nor ever undertake any office or duty in the celebration of the sacred Liturgy, lest confusion arise among Christ’s faithful and the truth be obscured.”

    But does that include offices and duties that the laity are empowered to execute? Because it seems to me that no more confusion would arise from the sight of a former priest acting as a lector or as an EMHC than would the sight of a layman. I can imagine that a laicized priest shouldn’t act as a celebrant or as a deacon or as a subdeacon or as an archpriest or as a homilist, for example, but as a lector or an EMHC? I’m not sure where the confusion would come from if a laicized priest acted as a layman.

  22. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    Haribo, you said, “if the EMHC in questions self-identifies as “gay,” then it should be easy enough to discern whether he also lives a “gay” lifestyle and would be disqualified for not leading an “exemplary moral life.”” By using the word “discern”, I believe you mean “judge” -only God knows our hearts and souls.

    As J. Hayes eloquently stated above, do not assume that a gay person is not of sound doctrine and does not lead an exemplary moral life.

    Fr. Z, I believe the term “gay” is more respectful than “homosexual.” [Wrong.]

  23. Supertradmum says:


    Sociopathic EMHCs? I am laughing out loud. Characteristics….failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest such as throwing chalices on the floor or hitting those who come up for Communion if they do not receive the Blood of Christ; two, deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure which means they lie that they are Catholics and are actually Lutherans in disguise; three, impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead as indicated by rushing up to the altar without being on the EMHC list of the day; four irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults usually involving the liturgy committee or the traddies who switch to the side where the priest is distributing Communion; six, reckless disregard for safety of self or others by pushing the chalice into one’s face; seven, consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations such as never putting anything in the collection box because their ministries are so important they do not need to tithe; eight, lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another usually seen in the cases where the EMHC refuses to give Communion on the tongue or glares when someone skips the Cup. This last characteristic is also seen in liturgy meetings when the new EMCH list comes out and there are fierce arguments over feast days and the fact that now only the priest can purify the Chalice.

  24. Seraphic Spouse says:

    Whoa. Must say something about church organists. I know many church organists, including my married, father-of-two brother, who are not gay. Come on. Sure, there are lots of musicians who experience same sex attractions, but not all musicians, including church musicians, experience same sex attractions.

  25. PomeroyonthePalouse says:

    Centristian said

    I’ve come across alot of EMHC’s who are “openly gay”, that is to say, they are truly “gay”: open, out loud, and proud of their sexual orientation, and living the lifestyle. They do not merely “suffer from same-sex attraction,” but are, indeed, “gay”. And I have yet to meet a church organist who is not “gay”.

    Boy Centristian, you must be leading a rather sheltered life. Next time you’re in this part of the world, I’ll introduce you to 3 or 4 non-homosexual church organists. I’m sure there are more, but that’s all the male organists I know. Plus my 18-year old daughter and a number of her female friends.

  26. Centristian says:


    I have lived the very opposite of a sheltered life, I’m not at all proud to report. Also, I have not declared that there is no church organist in the whole world who is heterosexual. Of course there are straight musicians, even straight church musicians. I have merely reported my own experience and declare that I, personally, have yet to meet a church organist in my own diocese who was openly heterosexual (and I have met quite a few of them).

    Supertradmum: ROTFLM(you know what)O!

  27. Supertradmum says:


    Glad you have a sense of humor…which I think is a sign of the Elect.

  28. Tom T says:

    jhayes, I am so glad you brought up the booklet from the left leaning Democratic supporting USCCB called “Forming Consciences For Faithful Citizenship.” It is part of the some of the problems we are discussing here. In the sixties when some theologians and college professors advised the Kennedys how they could, “with a clear concious” convince people to vote for Democrates who were pro-choice because they would promote the social change to elevate woman to a status that would pre-empt them from seeking an abortion, the USCCB and other bishops bought into this mindset which is why you have a document that, in my view, exemplifies the total lack of decisive leadership and bishops who are more politicians than they are Catholic Church leaders. This promotion of social change and immigration issues and cherry picking and twisting excerpts from Caritas In Veritate is exactly why Notre Dame and Belmont College and other major Catholic institutions are suing HHS for regulations that require them to issue abortion pills and contraceptives and why the state of New Hampshire Pro Life people are suing the Obama administration who, by the way some bishops supported with a wink of an eye, because they ignored state law and gave millions of dollars to planned parenthood. The bumper stickers that support politicians that are pro-choice is an example of feel good liberal pro-social change and making life better for illegal immigrants while ignoring the three million abortions done every year
    in this country which should be the pillar that supports all the other concerns. Lack of leadership is why we have so many unorthodox downright abusive Novus Ordo Masses that may vary from one parish to the next with no uniform norms of celebration of Mass where by the way they,the bishops completely ignored the Vatican directive reducing Holy Communion under both forms to three time a year. If you read post Conciliar Documents of Vatican II, EMHC`s were not meant to be used except in very rare circumstances. To use anything that comes out of the USCCB is not in my view always the best guidance and if you want some quotes, I`ll be happy to post letters that were in direct opposition to directives from the Vatican. Pax

  29. Centristian says: I’m not worried about the organists, to be honest. Everyone expects it and nobody’s scandalized by a gay musician.

    Let’s stop and think about this for a second. If people cease to be scandalized by something that is intrinsically scandalous, isn’t that in fact a very bad symptom? Is it good to live in a world where the unthinkable quickly morphs into the commonplace?

    Where would the Church be without homosexual artists and musicians, after all?

    I dispute that the Church’s great artists and musicians were homosexuals, however much the homosexual lobby tries to co-opt them; and even if they were, it was not homosexuality that made them great.

  30. haribo says:

    jhayes and Trad Catholic Girl,

    Please read carefully what I said. There was no “assumption” in my post. I believe jhayes’ visiting priest was definitely out of line for “coming out” to his audience. And yes, I do think publicizing one’s homosexual tendencies ought to raise a red flag. Why? As the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith writes in a 1992 statement concerning the non-discrimination of homosexual persons:

    “14. The “sexual orientation” of a person is not comparable to race, sex, age, etc. also for another reason than that given above which warrants attention. An individual’s sexual orientation is generally not known to others unless he publicly identifies himself as having this orientation or unless some overt behavior manifests it. As a rule, the majority of homosexually oriented persons who seek to lead chaste lives do not publicize their sexual orientation. Hence the problem of discrimination in terms of employment, housing, etc., does not usually arise.

    Homosexual persons who assert their homosexuality tend to be precisely those who judge homosexual behavior or lifestyle to be “either completely harmless, if not an entirely good thing” (cf. No. 3), and hence worthy of public approval. It is from this quarter that one is more likely to find those who seek to “manipulate the church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws” (cf. No. 5), those who use the tactic of protesting that “any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people … are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination” (cf. No. 9).”

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  32. jhayes says:


    “Recently, legislation has been proposed in various places which would make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal. In some cities, municipal authorities have made public housing, otherwise reserved for families, available to homosexual (and unmarried heterosexual) couples. Such initiatives, even where they seem more directed toward support of basic civil rights than condonement of homosexual activity or a homosexual lifestyle, may in fact have a negative impact on the family and society. Such things as the adoption of children, the employment of teachers, the housing needs of genuine families, landlords’ legitimate concerns in screening potential tenants, for example, are often implicated.”

    It is essentially a set of talking points to use in lobbying against state and federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual preference. The whole first half is a quote from a 1986 letter to Bishops which, in turn, quotes a 1975 Declaration.

    I think it is important to recognize he distinction between documents which are published to respond to an immediate political or societal issue and documents which are issued to define eternal truths. This distinction is a core issue in the dispute between the SSPX and the Vatican right now with the SSPX holding our “Mirari Vos” of 1832 in opposition VII’s “Dignitatis Humanae.”

    The 2005 “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders” is probably a better point to start the discussion, although different bishops apply it differently.

  33. AnAmericanMother says:

    You may have a kind of “lavender mafia” thing going on where you are. Unfortunately because of references and recommendations, and the cliquey nature of the “out and proud” community, you tend to get clusters of buddies all recommending each other (and covering for each other, which is most definitely not a good thing). I’ve seen this before in the dance community (my mom has been a professional dancer since 1948).
    I know half a dozen organists and music directors. All but one are most definitely heterosexual, and the last is not “out” but is struggling valiantly to be chaste. The last thing they need is everybody assuming that all organists are more or less open homosexuals (most particularly the latter. Talk about discouraging!)

  34. Centristian says:

    Miss Anita Moore, O.P.:

    I suppose I just don’t regard gay musicians as inherently scandalous, even when they are church musicians. Again, in my experience, that seems to be the norm. It’s what I expect and I think it’s what alot of people have come to expect. I don’t think many people are shocked by the phenomenon. But please read the rest of what I wrote; I didn’t stop with that quote. To say that I am not scandalized by gay musicians doesn’t mean that I would not be bothered by a notorious one. I would be more disturbed, however, by a notorious lay minister of Holy Communion, than by a notorious musician.

    As to your second concern, I didn’t actually remark at all about the “great” artists and musicians of the Church. Name any of them, however, and who could say for certain what their sexual orientation was? Who cares, though? Furthermore, I make no assertion that same-sex orientation makes great artists great. I merely say that it seems to me that many artists and musicians, even in the church, are homosexual. Now, as to why that is…I couldn’t even venture a guess.

    But if I look at a beautiful fresco in the dome of a basilica or listen to a magnificent anthem in church, I don’t concern myself with whether or not the artist or the organist was more apt to check out pretty girls or handsome guys as he walked down the street on his way to work. It may be that he maintained custody of the eyes and looked at neither, focusing instead on his God. The fact of the matter is that he created something magnificent and gave his work to the Church. Whatever else he does or did may be no worse than whatever else you or I do or have done.

  35. Joanne says:

    “It’s tempting to see the sins we are not ourselves tempted to commit as being worse than the ones we do commit.”

    Great point. Good post also by Kevin. So grateful for my reasonably close EF/OF parish, whose Eucharistic Ministers (the parish was previously OF only) were released from duty pretty much on the day of the new pastor’s arrival a few years ago. This doesn’t get to the root of the problem, I suppose, but I’m wondering if this letter writer is considering/able to go elsewhere.

  36. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    I just finished reading the comments under this post and have to say that I am both disgusted and alarmed by what I read. I have been reading this blog for some time and have never seen such prejudicial, hurtful, homophobic and potentially harmful comments. As a result, I do not plan to follow this blog after today.

  37. christiantngirl says:

    Dear Father Z,
    This is a powerful subject and we must all pray about it. As a now NALC Lutheran. We split off from the ELCA this past year due to the ELCA’s acceptance of openly gay Pastors, a new hymnal with changes in the liturgy where it mentions God and Jesus as now”the great creator”(feminist movement) and other issues. As you say, by your rules if the man is an ex-priest then he should not be giving communion as a lay person gay or not. I hope for you bloggers sake that she will go to the Pastor of her parish and address her concerns with him. I remember when I was in Jr. High our church accepted a new assistant pastor. It turned out later that he came out of the closet. He was out immediately. Yes, Jesus tolerated gays, prostitutes and the like and wanted them to repent. Not continue to be gay or prostitute and still be an apostle of his. It is not ok to be homosexual in that position weather you tell or not. God already knows what is in our hearts. As a Christian you have to take a person by their faith an honesty. If they are not baptized or do not believe in the blood and body of Christ they should not be approaching the communion rail or station in the first place. If this lay person is hiding something he should not be a lay person in the first place. Again he is not fooling God.

  38. Joanne says:

    Hi, Trad Catholic Girl: If you do come back to check the comments…like Fr Z, I too dislike the use of the word, “gay,” to describe homosexual men, but I understand where you’re coming from. Someone on this blog recently defended using the word, “homos,” to describe homosexual men. I’m guessing you’d agree with me that that mentality doesn’t seem very Christ-like.
    God bless –

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