by Frank Schnittger
Thu Jan 16th, 2014 at 08:39:00 AM EST
Why do religious gay bashers claim they are only preaching the Gospels when in fact they generally quote St. Paul rather than Jesus in support of their homophobia and misogyny?
McAleese and church stance on gays - Letters | The Irish Times - Thu, Jan 16, 2014
Sir, – Fr Patrick McCafferty (January 15th) states, “The church unequivocally proclaims the message of the Gospel ” and goes on to quote twice from Romans in support of his argument concerning homosexuality and church teaching. As he is no doubt aware, Romans is not, in fact, a gospel. Why is it that the opponents of gay rights generally quote St Paul rather than Jesus? Could it be because Jesus never actually condemned homosexuality, and indeed healed the centurion’s sick pais (male servant/lover)? – Yours, etc, FRANK SCHNITTGER
Former President Mary McAlease has stirred a bit of a hornets nest with her comments on the Catholic Church and homosexuality:
Ex-president McAleese criticises church's stance on gay people
Former president Mary McAleese, who has urged a Scottish cardinal forced to stand down last year to admit publicly that he is gay, has said "a very large number" of Catholic priests are homosexuals.
The Catholic Church has been in denial over homosexuality for decades, particularly since many priests are gay, she said. "It isn't so much the elephant in the room but a herd of elephants.
"I don't like my church's attitude to gay people. I don't like `love the sinner, hate the sin'. If you are the so-called sinner, who likes to be called that? We also know that within the priesthood a very large number of priests are gay.";
She also criticised words attributed to the previous Pope on this subject as being contradictory. "Things written by [Pope] Benedict, for example, were completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding, and to the understanding of most Catholics nowadays in relation to homosexuality.
"Nowadays, it is not something that is perceived as something that is intrinsically disordered. Homosexual conduct is not seen as evil," said Mrs McAleese.
Her remarks were made in Edinburgh to the Glasgow-based Herald newspaper last month, but only published yesterday. She made them before she spoke last month to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
The former president, who has become increasingly outspoken about the church's attitude to gays, compared the church's stand to the "Christ killer" charge levelled against Jews for 2,000 years.
"I would have thought Cardinal Keith O'Brien, in telling the story of his life - if he was willing to do that - could have been of great assistance to gay people, not just in the church but elsewhere, who felt over many, many years constrained to pretend to be heterosexual while ... acting a different life."
The Scottish cardinal had to resign last year as an archbishop when it emerged that he had had a homosexual relationship with a young priest.
Her remarks are significant because she was always seen as something of a staunch Catholic who actually represented the Catholic Church as a member of the Catholic Church Episcopal Delegation to the New Ireland Forum in 1984, and a member of the Catholic Church delegation to the Northern Ireland Commission on Contentious Parades in 1996. She went on to study Canon Law in Rome after she stepped down and remains popular with all (or almost all) sections of Irish public opinion.
Priests, activists welcome McAleese's criticism of Church stance on gay people
Former president Mary McAleese's criticism of the Catholic Church's stance on gay people have been welcomed by the Association of Catholic Priests and a gay advocacy group.
Fr Tony Flannery of the association said he was "very happy" with the former president's remarks. She was bringing the issue out "into the open" as "it really does need to be discussed in the Church," he told Newstalk radio today.
In an interview published in the Glasgow-based Herald newspaper yesterday Mrs McAleese said the Catholic Church has been in denial over homosexuality for decades, particularly since many priests are gay.
Fr Flannery said it was "useful" that she stated this in public. The "percentage of priests who are of homosexual orientation has undoubtedly increased" in the last decade, he said. "Some of my best friends in the priesthood are homosexual," he said.
The Church's's teaching on homosexuality was "in serious need of reform", he said. "When a certain approach to moral issue is clearly out of tune with the catholic faithful I think it has to be rethought. In a good few areas of Catholic Sexual morality I think we are in that area now, he said.
He hoped there might be more "openness and freedom" under Pope Francis. Church doctrine had developed in "all sorts of ways" throughout the centuries because of the "developing understanding about humanity", he said.
However, as is to be expected, there has been the usual backlash from members of the conservative catholic pressure group, the Iona Institute. Breda O'Brien had this to say (in her role as columnist for the Irish Times):
Why I was so disappointed by Mary McAleese's comments on gay priests
That's why I was so disappointed in Mary McAleese's comments as reported in the Glasgow Herald. McAleese is an erudite, intelligent woman and a committed Catholic. It is hard to believe that she really thinks the church's teaching on sexuality, and in particular, on gay sex, stems from the fact that there are allegedly so many gay churchmen frantically trying to repress their sexuality. As someone with a qualification in canon law, she must know the church teaches that sexuality is ordered towards a certain goal, that of loving and mutual support that binds men and women together so they can best care for their children.
She might profoundly disagree with that teaching, as is her right, but why does she believe the alleged fact that so many priests are gay constitutes a "herd of elephants" in the room? I am not aware of any research that indicates real numbers, but even if 95 per cent of priests were gay, does that mean they are all repressed, stifling their sexuality, and self-hating homophobes as a result?
I know gay priests who manage to like themselves as much as anyone likes themselves, who radiate a hard-won and quiet contentment and who also accept and live out the church's teaching on gay sex.
So? No one is forcing those who wish to remain celibate to do otherwise. Not surprisingly her (strangely argued) article elicited 743 comment when most Irish Times articles evoke few or no comments. Apparently homophobia is not the sole preserve of the Catholic Church and so it is unfair to single it out for criticism. "We are all sinners", she goes on to argue, as if that means LGBT people are treated no differently from anyone else by the Catholic Church.
The one thing Christ does condemn in the Gospels is hypocrisy and denial. Perhaps the Gospel verses Fr. Patrick McCafferty might have quoted are Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged, and Let Him Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone (Mathew 7:1, and John 8:7)...