- Published on Friday, 18 November 2011 07:08
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2155
Well maybe not 50% but probably a lot more than in the general population. Think about it. If you are gay and Catholic, then you need extra help to avoid gay sex. Priests are supposedly closer to God and must not have any kind of sex life so from a Catholic point of view, a career as a priest would be a natural. Other benefits are that 1) you'd have no pressure to marry someone to keep your mother (and others) happy and 2) you'd be surrounded by males - just what a gay wants! To be clear, I am not talking here about abusive priests - I am talking about ordinary moral gays. But I don't believe that all the bishops in the Church are stupid - so they must realise very many priests are gay. However, like they do with child abuse cases, they keep it quiet. Unfortunately for the bishops, occasionally someone lets the cat out of the bag - especially when they are getting old and have little to lose.
Ten years ago, bishops in Holland found out that Fr Peijnenburg (then 71) was living with his male [actually female - see note below] friend Threes van Dijck (then 75) and had been for 36 years. But, per policy, they kept it quiet. However, recently, Fr Peijnenburg wrote a leaflet criticising priestly celibacy. It seems he thought love was more important than his dogmatic religion. He must have been fairly explicit because it became clear to the bishops (="The Dutch Church") that he was going public or "coming out".
No surprise that they had to do something. As they said: ''We cannot allow him to do that which is forbidden to others.'' What they should have said was: ''We cannot appear to condone that which is forbidden to others.'' After all, appearance and perception is everything and priests cannot appear to have special privileges. So after letting sleeping dogs lie for 10 years, they decided to lay down the law: ''We are giving him the choice: either he leaves his partner or he leaves the priesthood,'' said a diocesan spokesman, Michiel Savelsbergh, in the Den Bosch diocese in the central Netherlands.
If you had been happily "married" to someone for 46 years, you would probably see it as Fr Peijnenburg saw it - a choice between love and religion. He said: ''Naturally I choose Threes. We are staying together.''
Does this mean a loving priest who has abused no-one goes to hell? What kind of God would that be?
Source Sydney Morning Herald
Update - Nov 18
Looks like the premise of the example in my article that Threes was a man was wrong - Threes is in fact female. (Rentapriest). Most of the discussion above still applies - many Catholic Priests are gay but many are also not gay but don't agree that their life should be celibate. My opinion is that gay marriage or partnering is a lifestyle as equally valid as a heterosexual one.
The Church should still also be criticised for tolerating a prohibited behaviour until it becomes public.
Thanks to Jerome for pointing out the error. His comments are worth repeating as well:
.... This changes nothing to the fact that love between two human beings is being punished, but you should update the article as the story doesn't anymore justify writing about the preponderance of homosexuality in priesthood.
Your point was reasonable, but I would have added that the Catholic Church is more and more explicitly forbidding homosexuals to become priests: UK Guardian
So it might have been true in the past that men chose priesthood and women became nuns because of their homosexuality. They couldn't be living an open and honest life as long as homosexuality was still a crime in most countries. But today the church is even more openly homophobic, while society, at least occidental society, is more accepting. Homosexuality is not a crime anymore in many countries. So I'd be surprised that today's young gays and lesbians would join the Church. I'm afraid the Church will only attract the worst self-repressed individuals.