Military chaplain reacts to whiny “gay” priests

I received this from a military chaplain of many years, including service in Iraq.  He reacted to the Hell’s Bible piece about priests who are “gay” (I hate that word) who whine about being “trapped” in the priesthood.  My piece HERE.

Here’s the chaplain:


In reading the NYT diatribe of the gay priest and his pain, and the responses of others to said article, it occurred to me that there is a parallel. Holy Orders is a sacrament of service to the Church. The military is a service to the nation. As my former Soldier-blogger wrote, we have to remember that we are all sapiens, human beings with respect, dignity, and basic human rights. In order to become a citizen, we do give up certain rights (one may use “social contract theory” if desired to elaborate on this). To be a Soldier, in service to the nation, one gives up additional rights, though. The same is true of the priesthood. It seems unfortunate that I read so frequently about the rights of priests, most often in reference to persecution by some in the episcopacy. Rights ALWAYS carry duties, though. There is no such thing as a right without a duty. This is a contributor to the idea of freedom as license, “freedom from,” rather than freedom to be whom God made us to be in relation to Him.

Additionally, service is a privilege; it is never a right. Yes, as one priest respondent to the NYT article alluded, any of us are free to leave – that is a right that you have. No one has a right, however, to enter into service expecting the terms of that service, which are known before entry, to change to suit our own whims and desires. This is one of many pinnacles of hubris.

In these dark days, let us all pray fervently. I’ve joined Fr. Heilman in the USGF Operation Reparation 54. May God have mercy on us all.

Si vis pacem para bellum!

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  1. rcg says:

    Hooah! Now I understand why they don’t let priests carry weapons in combat. The other side deserves a chance.

  2. Legisperitus says:

    The chaplain makes a good point about “no rights without duties.” It can even be said that our rights stem from our duties. We only have the right to the things we need to fulfill our duties. Only God is inherently the subject of rights, without corresponding duties.

  3. JustaSinner says:

    Served breifly as 56M, chaplains assistant. My chaplain was DEVOTE Southern Baptist and didn’t much care for Catholicism. However, he understood that he could not change my beliefs AND I was his armed guardian. I also could belt out most of the Protestant Top 10 songs a capella…
    We got along fine—and in fact talked of rights vs. responsibilities many times before Sunday Services.

  4. GregB says:

    You can apply this argument to the whole Church. When a person enters into the Church they commit themselves to the New Covenant ratified in Christ’s Blood. Our membership in the Church is one of covenant. We make baptismal promises, which are renewed and strengthened at confirmation. When a man and a woman marry their marriage is a covenant. The people in religious life also make promises and vows when they enter the religious state. I think you had an article stating that bishops take an oath of office. Covenants are more than mere contracts. In the Bible they are the way that bonds of kinship are created.
    Yet some people make these covenants and promises and continue to act as if they are free agents and are under no obligation to honor their vows and commitments. They are like Cain who lied to God’s face when he said that he didn’t know where Abel was. He compounds this by complaining about what was a very lenient punishment. He shows zero remorse or repentance. He is the very model of a selfish self-centered ingrate of a sinner.
    The primary issue is whether a person’s word is worth anything in the modern Church.

  5. Benedict Joseph says:

    “Trapped” in the priesthood. That lad appears to be trapped in self-deception and a lack of faith. I honestly can’t believe that anyone could utter such a thought. Undoubtedly the poor victim benefited from “psychological screening.”

  6. Imrahil says:

    Yes, as one priest respondent to the NYT article alluded, any of us are free to leave – that is a right that you have.

    The priest respondent was wrong. A priest is never able to leave priesthood, technically; and even concerning leaving priestly service, he is, while able, forbidden to do so, unless in an exceptional circumstance he gets the permission of the Holy Father to do so. And then, he is by default, not free to leave the celibacy which he, quite probably, once willed to put up with for the sake of becoming priest, but did not will for its own sake; unless he gets a second permission from the Holy Father.

    So, no, a priest is not free to leave priestly service.

    (“What is forbidden in morality is to be treated as physically impossible.”)

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    “Rights ALWAYS carry duties, though. There is no such thing as a right without a duty.”


    “Additionally, service is a privilege; it is never a right.”


    “No one has a right, however, to enter into service expecting the terms of that service, which are known before entry, to change to suit our own whims and desires. This is one of many pinnacles of hubris.”

    Exactly. And that is why James Mattis, an outstanding general, is no longer Secretary of Defense.

    In addition to insisting on several problematic policies (though several other problematic policies he modified), Mattis’ December resignation letter was also problematic. SecDef Mattis asked to stay in office until about March 1. However, in honor of his service, President Trump allowed him to stay until January 1 rather than terminate him the day he submitted that resignation letter.

    James Mattis accomplished several good things while Secretary of Defense, but this is a different world than when he first entered service four decades ago. If James Mattis writes a memoir, he would benefit by first reflecting on the points raised by this chaplain.

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless this chaplain, and thank you for your service in Iraq.

    Speaking of “hubris,” a decade or so ago Michael Isikoff of MSNBC and David Corn of The Nation magazine published a book about the Second Gulf War (or Iraq War) and the Bush Administration titled “Hubris.” Apparently, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC later hosted a documentary with the same name.

    The spin of this book is that the 2003 removal of the Saddam Hussein regime was a “faith-based” war by “neo-cons” and “hawks” who had a “strong core-belief” that “we know what we are doing.”

    Curiously, for writing a book titled “Hubris,” the authors present themselves as omniscient regarding Bush Administration officials and Middle East matters.

    Though, the authors of “Hubris” ignore or dismiss a wide range of events from 1991 to 2003. A partial list here: the First Gulf War ended in a cease-fire; the Saddam Regime’s non-compliance with the terms of the cease-fire; the Saddam Regime’s resistance to and active obstruction of UN inspections; Clinton Administration support for regime change; Saddam Regime support of terrorism; the repeated refusal of the Saddam Regime to provide a “full, final, and complete” disclosure of its WMD programs; Just War criteria were met; numerous Democrats voted for use of force; the Coalition of dozens of countries; and the Bush-Blair Ultimatum which provided Saddam a final opportunity to avoid war.

    Apparently, Isikoff and Corn should have consulted a dictionary before titling their book “Hubris.”

  9. Charivari Rob says:


    I read the NYT article last week and this a bit after original posting, and had some doubts. I needed to take time before commenting to mull it over and review the original NYT article to check my first read of it. Two points stand out.

    First… Our host and the chaplain seem to interpret or characterize the remarks of one of the priests (in the NYT article) about being trapped as being about “being trapped in the priesthood”. I’ve seen a few others with that angle, which really surprised me. My first quick read (which is about as much time as I ever give The Times) was different, and I wanted to do a slower re-read & think before speaking up. My second read ended up being the same as my first.

    The priest in the article wasn’t talking about being trapped in the priesthood. He was talking about being trapped in the closet. He has a cross to bear, and he is strongly constrained by the Church to keep it secret.

    Second (or 2a and 2b)

    2a: I firmly agree with the chaplain that there are certain things – service, office – that are a privilege and not a consumer right.

    2b: Some of the rest of the chaplain’s remarks move from incomplete to… dismaying.

    “Rights always carry duties”
    “There is no such thing as a right without a duty”

    Yes, we all have rights – and the obligation to respect and protect the rights of others.

    However, rights such as those the chaplain acknowledges – are intrinsic and unalienable – they are not conditional on duty or price being met.

    Think for a moment on “no such thing as a right without a duty”. We live in world where people & societies abort children. We live in a world where people & societies advocate euthanasia. Two extreme examples, to be sure, but not alarmist. The rights of those who cannot meet “duty”, who are seen as burden or inconvenience or drain – the unborn, the infirm – get trampled quite easily.

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