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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Thursday, June 13, 2002
2:29 PM

Gay problem? What Gay problem?... By George Archibald, from The Washington Times. Speaks for itself, unless you're deaf:

The spokesman for U.S. bishops hashing out a sex-abuse policy for the church protected homosexual priests who joined a pornographic Internet chat room, where participants railed against Pope John Paul II's policies against homosexual clergy and one eagerly anticipated his death.

Two Dallas priests who joined the site, where some members posted naked pictures and talked about sexual encounters with men and boys, were allowed to continue at their parishes even though Bishop Joseph A. Galante and the diocese's chancellor, Mary Edlund, were told of their activities more than three years ago, according to documents obtained by The Washington Times.

Bishop Galante is a canon lawyer and member of the bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse. He is being offered to the media as a spokesman on these matters at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Dallas this week. Both Bishop Galante and Ms. Edlund refused to respond yesterday.

Here's a charming example of chat-room banter by a priest:

"I've been away for the week attending the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC)," the priest told the chat room, where approximately 50 homosexual priests from throughout the United States and foreign countries gathered online. "I must say that although I am no 'chicken hawk,' there are some really cute guys around the country," Father Garner said in the message, a copy of which was obtained by The Times. "I did, however, share a room with one of our youth ministers here in Dallas -- and is he cute! He's no Ricky Martin -- but he is Hispanic and we got along -- wonderfully! It was almost like we were meant to be together. I do have a very special place in my heart for those Latin blooded ones!"

In what imaginable context should an ordained priest should be talking like this?

("I must say that although I am no 'chicken hawk' "... That is, " 'I must say that while I'm not a child rapist' "....good to know!)

The story also claims the church expressly bans ordaining gay priests:

Catholic canon law specifically bars from the priesthood those with "tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty," the latter term meaning sex between men and boys.

I don't think that's true. If it is, I think it's been superceded somehow. I'll do a little research and report back. In my mind (and I believe in the Church's mind) there is no reason not to ordain gays; the problem is the integrity of Catholic culture and whether there is common agreement by gay and straight collars alike about celibacy and the stewardship of youth. [CLARIFICATION: I'll bet that the church does bar those with a "tendency toward pederasty" from becoming priests, and if not, hey, let's add it to our "to-do" list right away! What I mean to emphasize was: I don't think it's true that canon law "specifically bars from the priesthood those with 'tendencies to homosexuality.' " I've been searching on the net to nail this down, and haven't succeeded--any canon lawyers want to educate me? Judging from extensive comments all over Catholic Blogdom about whether to bar gays, I doubt it.]

Amy Wellborn is posting continued updates on the proceedings in Dallas today, and there are some lively comments as well.

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