Made In God's Image

A homosexual priest speaks out

I knew that I was called to priesthood before I knew that I was gay. The lure of sacramental mystery that resonated with my young soul, the ready acceptance I found in my home parish community, and the care and attention shown me by priests of all ages and temperaments convinced me at an early age that my life would be spent in service as a priest. The excitement, complexity, and beauty of my sexuality were a later discovery, coming at a time when body, mind, and soul were ready to explore and understand one of God’s most profound gifts. Yes, I knew that I was called to priesthood before I knew that I was gay. That is why the recent pronouncements from Rome and elsewhere that homosexuals are not fit for priesthood give me pause and cause me to wonder, "How could that be?"

Though disheartened and angered by the growing number of voices judging me unfit, I am not surprised. It has been my experience that even the most loving people fall prey to intolerance when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. Once when I tried to talk with my mother about my ministry to gay and lesbian students at a local college, her only response was, "I hate those people." And during a time of personal challenge when I "came out" to a pastor I loved like a father, he told me, "Funny, you don’t look like one of them."

No, I am not surprised. I think I have been expecting this to happen for some time. Still, hearing the words that...

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