The “Gay” (I hate that word) Priest Problem

Why is there a picture of three beavers here?
Keep reading!

I’ll batten the hatches for another round of hate mail and “block parties” and alert the readership of a good piece at The Catholic Thing by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky.

He tackles the “gay” (I hate that word) priest problem.

Confronting the Gay Priest Problem

Recently, a priest who was prominent in the pastoral care of those with sex addictions received his fifteen minutes of fame when he revealed to his congregation at a Sunday Mass and to the National Catholic Reporter[aka National Sodomitic Reporter] that he was “gay.” According to news reports, his self-congratulation was met with thunderous applause. In a television interview, he proclaimed there is “nothing wrong with being gay.”

The game plan of a gay priest “coming out” was quite predictable and is politically effective. In revealing his homosexuality, the Midwestern priest was careful to assemble a string of ambiguous assertions that cannot be immediately assailed on grounds of orthodoxy, but when bundled together are morally subversive. Here is the template:

  • Claim that sexual transparency is a matter of personal integrity.
  • Remind the public that you are a Catholic priest in good standing.
  • Proudly proclaim that you are “gay.”
  • Cultivate the adulation of your congregation by claiming victim status and the freedom that comes from such an honest revelation.
  • As a pre-emptive strike against disciplinary actions by ecclesiastical authorities claim that your self-revelation is truly courageous.
  • Feign humility and presume you have become a necessary role model for others.
  • Remind us that you and all gays (and members of the alphabet soup of sexual perversion) are created in the image of God (implying our sinful neglect).
  • Commit to celibacy (i.e., not to marry), but carefully avoid the term “Christian chastity.

Each of these assertions, standing alone, would likely withstand ecclesiastical censure. But when woven together, the gay agenda promoting the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle within the Church comes into a clear focus.  [the “gay” agenda doesn’t end at “acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle”.  The next brass ring is the lowering of the age of consent.]


Faithful and orthodox Catholics are at a political disadvantage in our gay-friendly culture. We realize that same-sex inclinations – as with all seriously sinful inclinations – cause great suffering and, unrestrained, can become a true slavery that endangers others including adolescents and even young children. But our opposition to the gay agenda is often crudely characterized as hateful and unreasonable. So a brief sketch of natural law in Catholic sexual morality may be helpful.

Male and female sex organs differ and have a unique reproductive function. The body of every human being contains a self-sufficient digestive or respiratory system. But it only contains half of a reproductive system and must be paired with a half-system belonging to a person of the opposite sex in order to carry out its function. These are undeniable biological facts.

“To engage in sex” is a relational term that implies male and female complementarity. Only a male and a female truly “engage in sex.” In contrast, same-sex “relations” involve the exercise of one’s sexual power, but not according to its self-evident nature. Sodomy is not really relational “sex.” It is merely a masturbatory use of sexual powers. Similarly, there is no such thing as “sexual relations” with a “sex robot” (alas, an emerging technology).

When a priest claims to be “gay and proud,” he is revealing that he has assented to his same-sex attraction. Free and deliberate thoughts have moral implications, as Jesus asserted: “But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:28) The difference between internal assent and external action is only a matter of a sinful opportunity. [NB] An unabashed and proud “gay” priest has already committed sodomy in his heart[To the applause of the Fishwrap and certain Jesuits.]

So how might an ecclesiastical superior defend Church teaching if one of his priests (or religious) claims a special dignity by “coming out” as gay? The superior should invoke immutable Christian moral principles in dealing with a self-described gay priest:


With that cliff-hanger, I’ll send you to read the rest there.

I applaud Fr. Pokorsky for his clarity.  Fr. Z kudos.

I have known a few priests who were/are homosexuals.  A couple of them told me they were.  The rest were obvious or otherwise out.  With a couple exceptions, all of those whom I have known are now dead.   To be clear, I know a lot of priests.  I have known very few who were/are homosexuals.  I sincerely believe it is a myth that there are lot of homosexual priests.

I also strongly think that men with strong homosexual inclinations should stay out of seminary or leave the seminary before ordination.  I strongly believe that homosexual men who are now ordained must never reveal that they have this appetite or attraction.  I strongly believe that if they suffer as a result and remain chaste, they will win a glorious crown in heaven and their place among the saved will be very high indeed.  If their suffering is greater than others, then their graces too will be greater and the rewards will be as well.

“But Father! But Father!”, you Fishwrap rattlers are keening. “It is an incontrovertible FACT that God wants people to be homosexuals.  He makes them that way.  And if that’s so, then homosexuality is just as normal as all the other kinds of sexuality and identity that anything can imagine!  As a matter of fact, God didn’t really make human beings male and female.  God made at least … ummm…. 53 genders!  Facebook says so!  And Facebook knows more than YOU do.  You…. you… HATER!   YOU HATE GAYS!  And you HATE VATICAN II!”

I have such respect for “gays” (I hate that word) and Vatican II that I won’t lie about them.

I like Father’s reminder, above, of natural law.

Homosexual acts are clearly wrong. Our parts are intended by God to fit a certain way.  They are ordered to each other in a complimentary way.  God made us to live the human life in a properly ordered way, according to our human nature which He created.  We can choose not to live that way.  If we have inclinations not to live as God made us, that doesn’t mean that God made the aberrant inclination.   God makes all people.  People with disordered inclinations are, of course, people and, hence, God made them.   But God didn’t make them to be people with disorders.  God foresees and allows disorders, but that doesn’t make the disorders the norm.  All human beings are intended to live the human life in a properly ordered way.  Those who have some disorder have a harder time doing that.

We believe, however that overcoming that disorder, which will entail suffering, will bring them great merit and beautiful rewards in heaven, if not on earth.

Same-sex attraction is a disordered attraction.   God doesn’t make disordered attraction.  He foresees and permits disorders, according to His plan.  But it is not part of the normal ordering of living the human life.

All analogies limp a little, but let’s look at this another way.

If we study, say, 10000 beavers, we get a good picture of what beavers are made by God to do, what Beaver Life™ is.  Beavers are semi-aquatic. They gnaw down trees, make dams and lodges out of branches, logs, stones and mud. They work at night and slap the water with their tails when there is danger. They do not hibernate, so they stockpile food for the winter. They eat plants and bark and roll up lily pads like cigars to munch on. They mate for life, live in colonies, and they make little beavers during the winter.

That’s pretty much it. That’s what living the Beaver Life™ is. God makes all beavers and makes the Beaver Life™ which all rightly, beaverly, ordered beavers live.

However, say that among the 10000 beavers we have studied to determine what Beaver Life™ is, we find a beaver who, instead of gnawing trees and building dams, collects discarded aluminum cans out of which he constructs abstract art. Instead of stockpiling food before the winter, he lounges in the sun. Instead of rolling up lily pads before eating them, he eats frogs.  Instead of using his tail as a rudder and to signal danger, he swims backwards and ignores danger completely.

You would have to say that God made that beaver, but you wouldn’t say that that beaver was living Beaver Life™ properly. You would probably say that this beaver has a disorder of some kind. He’s doing the wrong things. Furthermore, if other beavers start to imitate the beaver with the disorder, there could be a problem for the survival of that colony.  You would hope that that beaver would correct his ways, stop giving a bad example to the other beavers, and cease to undermine Beaver Life™ which God intended for all beaverkind.

Frankly, a beaver like that wouldn’t last very long in the wild.  A beaver with that disordered inclination would probably win the Darwin Award, so to speak, and leave the gene pool.

Living Human Life™ as God intended is more complicated than living Beaver Life™ as God intended.  We aren’t governed by instincts as critters are.  We have reason and will, unlike brute beasts.  Still, natural law holds for us as it does for beavers.  Our natures are written into us by God.

Homosexual acts are wrong in themselves.  They are intrinsically disordered.  They are sinful in themselves.  They can never be right.  Never.   They are identified as intrinsically wrong by reason, observation of nature, and because of divine revelation.

The inclination to disordered acts is a disordered inclination.

Sodomy (homosexual acts) is rightly identified as one of the sins that “cries out to heaven” for vengeance, along with murder, oppression of the poor and defrauding a works of his just wages.   Dante places those who committed sinful homosexual acts… in the 7th circle of the Inferno, with the violent, with murderers, suicides, blasphemers and usurers.  It is a form of violence against another. And note that Dante treated the representative for sodomy, his friend Ser Brunetto Latini, with great dignity. Dante saw sins like this as tearing apart the bonds of society, so in the Inferno they are among the violent.  In Purgatorio 26 homosexuals are being purified alongside heterosexuals and are, thus, categorized according to the vices, rather than violence against nature.  But I digress.  Dante get’s me going.

Having an attraction to, an appetite for someone of the same-sex is disordered, contrary to the complimentarity which God wrote into our human nature as males and females.  God makes order, not disorder.  He foresees and permits that their be disorders and sins and even defects all through nature, and somehow they can serve to His greater glory.  But the disorders and the sins and the defects are not God’s will.

We will see how that all works out only in the general judgment after all things are submitted to the Father and God is all in all.

In sorting out questions about why some people have same-sex appetites, we have to understand something about God’s positive or ideal will and God’s permissive will.

God is perfect, infinitely good. God can only will that which is good, true, beautiful and holy.

So why is there evil in the world? Why are there disorders?

God willed that Adam and Eve remain holy. But because He willed that they have a free will, as He has a free will, He permitted them to fall. He did not will them to fall. He permits that sins be committed, he does not will them to be committed. Because of the nature of… well… nature, he permits that there be defects or weaknesses. He does not will them.

God doesn’t make people sin. He permits it. He foresees and uses it. But God the perfect Orderer cannot be the cause of disorder.

I suspect that in most cases, homosexual relationships that involve genital, etc., acts are really a twisting and warping of friendship.  But that might be a topic for a different entry.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. JMody says:

    But on a serious note, doesn’t canon law still proscribe ordination for those who are “gay”?

    [Not canon law, but particular legislation.]

  2. MaryofSharon says:

    Note that a fine response to this priest’s imprudent announcement was written by a fellow Milwaukee diocesan priest (and Courage chaplain):

    Then the diocese actually posted a link to the response on their homepage right alongside the bishop’s comments. So it seems, people have misconstrued to bishop to be more supportive than he actually is.

    [YES! Thanks for this. This is exactly what I wanted to find. And I think that that this statement reveals more accurately the mind of the Archbishop in the matter.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  3. Andrew says:

    Perversa est haec vestra cogitatio ut factorem putetis nescire quod fecit et Creatorem ignorare creaturam suam, quasi si lutum et opus dicat figulo et factori suo “non me fecisti” vel “non me bene fecisti nec intelligis facturam tuam”. (Hieronymus in Isaiam 29:16)

    (Your thinking is perverse whereby you think that the Creator doesn’t know his own creature, as if the a work made of clay was to say to its shaper and maker: “you didn’t make me” or “you didn’t make me well and you don’t understand your own work”.)

  4. tho says:

    How in good conscience could a ordained catholic priest announce, during his sermon at Sunday mass, that he has an unnatural vice of which he is very proud. [A vice is a bad habit. There is a different between an inclination to act and acting on that inclination habitually.] The brain dead pew sitters then thunderously applaud their approval for this disease prone unnatural vice. Being brain dead they are probably unaware that this unnatural vice is the primary way that the disease AIDS is spread.
    Saying that you are gay can only mean that you embrace that lifestyle, and all that it entails. [I hope that you are not suggesting that ever homosexual is automatically unchaste.]

  5. Pseudo D says:

    I had heard about that incident but hadn’t bothered to check who it was-it’s not that interesting of a revelation, except that I fear it will become more common in the future. It is a rather predictable way to gain affirmation in the current cultural situation.

    Remember Paul Shaughnessy’s article in Catholic World Report! Man that was intense. I can’t believe I think that was about 17 years ago when I was in college, around 2001.

    I agree that some of the figures given are ridiculously high-50% or whatever. I attended one of the seminaries that had a reputation for that stuff, but by my time it wasn’t out in the open. During that time, there was the 2005 statement from the Vatican on “deep seated tendencies” and so forth. I just read John Allen’s new book on Bishop Barron, which makes reference to Cardinal George’s interpretation, which I find quite solid. Looking back, there were guys who had other behavioral issues that I later found out were related to homosexuality. Sometimes it’s railing against various moral teachings, which is more obvious; sometimes it’s just [!] a Jesus Seminar style skepticism about the Bible, which undermines the Church, which undermines her moral teachings. But a lot of guys who took those positions had more going on personally than I realized at the time.

    I have come in contact with a lot of gay priests due to my own therapy for other issues. Note that homosexuality is no longer considered a psychological issue, but there are often other issues that go along with homosexuality. I think this blog has talked about the Opus Bono guys. I had the privilege to serve them for an extended period of time. Unsurprisingly, they are orthodox, even trads, but they serve all different kinds of priests and are encouraging to them. A lot of behavioral issues are related to the conflict that comes from homosexuality. A lot of times the anger that is expressed is hard to take, when it’s directed toward the truths of faith and natural law as if humans just imposed them arbitrarily, but we’re trying to encourage these brothers. Nobody made you become a Catholic priest! Of course some of them have become ministers of other denominations, but more often those married women. But I’ve seen the whole range of “gay” priests, from those who leave ministry, to those who struggle or come to greater integration participating in Courage. I’ve also seen the whole range of approaches to their public ministry, from marching in the streets to confiding with a small number. Once again, the broader secular culture as well as the divided ecclesiastical culture makes it very challenging to distance one’s identity from these attractions.

    Finally, I was deeply saddened last year to see the publication of “Building a Bridge”. I had nothing against Jim Martin. He was highly overrated-sort of like Joyce Rupp, everybody talks about Jim Martin. Or in a different way, Matt Kelly-he’s very good, but I don’t get him the way some people do, but thank God that they do. In the case of Fr. Martin, there’s a whole trajectory from Jesuit Off Broadway to The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything, and Jesus A Pilgrimage. Those books were never my thing, but not bad. When I saw Building a Bridge, I knew exactly what it would be, and not something good. When you go to Amazon, they say BUT IT SAYS NOTHING AGAINST THE CHURCH OR FOR GAY MARRIAGE OR HOMOSEXUAL ACTS. I know it doesn’t. The sad thing is that for the past one to two decades, EVERYTHING in our world is about homosexuality. In that context, you don’t have to say those things explicitly to get the point across. I should have seen it coming, because the day of the Obergefell decision, he said something vague about love and it clearly was not the response required of the Church and the priesthood. Then it was endorsed by ALL the most prominent Cardinals and Bishops that Pope Francis has put in place.

  6. Joy65 says:

    THANK YOU for this post. It has been discussed “to death” on many sites. Any of us Catholics that found this sad, sick and wrong get blasted for being homophobic, holier than though, judgmental and just plain uncharitable/unloving. I pray for this priest and any priest in this situation. But I also pray for his congregation or any subjected to this when they would have expected to hear a homily on the Scriptures read at Mass. I am a sinner just like every single human being on this planet. I do not find joy or satisfaction in speaking of this as a devout practicing Catholic but we MUST speak up when these kinds of things happen in our Catholic Churches. We must not waiver with the changes of society just to be patted on the back or to not be criticized. Again I pray for this priest. Actually I have a personal mission to pray in a special way each and every day for ALL Priests, Religious Brothers & Sisters, Deacons, Seminarians, our Pope, Bishops, Cardinals and all those discerning a vocation to and preparing for the Priesthood & religious life. We need good, holy, devout Priests TRUE to the Catholic Faith ready to serve with their very lives. As we all KNOW it should be less of them, more of HIM—ALWAYS! I pray for this for Our One Holy Catholic Church. Thank You Father!

  7. The Astronomer says:

    I’v read Randy Engel’s “The Rite of Sodomy Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church,” and the way the Lavender Mafia infested the American Church over the course of the 20th Century. I’ve come to firmly believe that this self-protective and self-perpetuating network of sodomites priests/bishops/cardinals represents the primary way Satan is trying to destroy Our Lord’s Church, the way he boasted in the famous vision of Pope Leo XIII where Satan approach the Throan of Christ and said:
    “I can destroy your Church.”

    The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”

    Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”

    Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?

    Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”

    Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”

  8. The Astronomer says:

    FWIW, the Engels books are excruciatingly well-researched and footnoted. She’s an excellent investigative journalist.

    The crisis of sodomite priests & a complicit, entrenched hierarchy has now evolved from a “hush-hush” attitude to full-blown “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it…” in outright public defiance of church norms, canon law and particular legislation. Often, like the Archdiocese of NY, homosexual priests flaunt their ‘orientation’ and appear in public with their…’partners.’ Bishops are shameless in their support of Fr. James Martin.

    Cardinal Bernardin….the gift that keeps on giving. St. Padre Pio and St. Peter Damian, Pray for Us.

    (P.S. Pardon the typo of the spelling of ‘Throne’ in my previous post.)

  9. Absit invidia says:

    Next on the gay agenda is the legalization of incest. If they can justify gay marriage using the *L*O*V*E* argument, then they can justify any kind of relationship. The voices in their head will make them say the words, “as long as they are adults and the *L*O*V*E* is consentual then – go for it!” We as a Church should have drawn a line in the sand years ago to stop this, but we were too busy trying to appear popular to the zeitgeist with our squishy “who am I to judge” mentality.

  10. PTK_70 says:

    Ad orientem worship points us – priests included! – to the Author of our nature. In facing the Giver, do we not learn to accept, and even be thankful for, our “given-ness”? I suspect the sad announcement described above was not made in the context of Mass celebrated ad orientem…..

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  13. frjim4321 says:

    My information (including from a professor of psychology at a major university) is that therapists working with priests begin with the assumption that they are gay, until it is demonstrated otherwise.

  14. grumpyoldCatholic says:

    A couple years ago I had the pleasure of going to breakfast with my priest and a visiting priest from Ireland. It was just the three of us. ( I was a server so I got invited ) The ” gay ” topic came up and the priest from Ireland stopped us… He said I am just a dumb Irishman so can someone explain the use of the word gay.. He wanted to know how someone living in such grievous sin could be happy

  15. hwriggles4 says:

    As a Catholic male I find myself uncomfortable when I find a priest who by his mannerisms, voice, and behavior that comes across as effeminate. Believe me, in the past 20 years, I have witnessed a few. Today, I do my best to attend and belong to a congregation where a priest comes across as a good male role model. I also find when a priest commands a “manly presence “, more men will step forward to volunteer within the parish. At many Novus Ordo parishes (No disrespect to the ladies, you women bring a lot of special gifts and are definitely needed in our parishes), but more than half the volunteers at the majority of Novus Ordo parishes are women.

    These parishes, in my opinion anyway, that have a strong manly priest help out young adults, teenagers, and younger boys since they have a positive male role model. More vocations come from this too. If I had a son, I would make sure we attended a parish where a priest commanded a strong manly presence – my current pastor and the parochial vicar at our parish are good examples.

  16. frjim4321 says:


    Not all gay men are effeminate and not all effeminate men are gay; not all male abusers are effeminate and not all effeminate men are a threat to children and teens.

    Was Rock Hudson effeminate? Was Tony Randall (a noted womanizer) masculine?

    I would offer a word of caution that stereotypes and over-generalizations may be not only unhelpful, but dangerous.

  17. TomG says:

    frjim4321: Happy to agree with you. Judgments such as you mention are unfair and certainly uncharitable. There is certain species of hyper-refinement in men, however, that may impel people toward those judgments. But it ain’t right.

  18. tho says:

    Your point is well taken, those who try to diminish it with rare examples do you and us a disservice.

  19. PTK_70 says:

    Before this falls off the front page, I just want to say that I love that photo of beavers being beavers.

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