Why Won't Our Bishops Solve the "Gay" Priest Problem?

July-August 2004

The solution to that problem is simple and self-evident, according to Karl Keating, a lucid and sensible thinker if ever there was one: “I know of homosexual priests who live chastely…. Such priests deserve our respect. On the other hand, there are homosexual priests who are ‘gays’ — they have chosen to live the homosexual lifestyle. It is from the ranks of these priests that most (not all, admittedly) of the abuse cases have arisen. The priestly scandal has not been so much about priests abusing children as about homosexual priests acting out their homosexuality with teenagers and young adults.”

Keating then gives his solution: “1. If a priest is ‘gay’ — living a homosexual lifestyle — he should be removed from ministry immediately…. 2. If a priest is homosexual but not ‘gay’ — that is, if he is living chastely — let him continue in ministry until normal retirement. 3. Exclude from seminary formation and ordination any homosexual, whether ‘gay’ or chaste…. The latter should not sign up for ‘guy-only’ work that will have him living with other men (thus putting him into near occasions of sin)…. He should be encouraged to serve the Church in other ways…. If the priesthood in this country were healthy, little or no harm would come from ordaining chaste homosexuals whose homosexuality is kept private. But we do not live in ordinary times.” Keating concludes: “The three-step process I propose would solve the abuse scandal almost overnight…” (This Rock, May/June).

The question is: Why do our bishops at the conference level seem unwilling to do what Keating proposes, what any conscientious Catholic would propose? It may have a lot to do with the Lavender Mafia and its allies in episcopal ranks.

You may remember the name of Joseph Kellenyi. He figured in Michael S. Rose’s book Goodbye, Good Men, and in two of Rose’s articles in the NOR (Dec. 2002 and June 2003). Kellenyi, who was once a seminarian at Mundelein in the Chicago area, makes the following statement about a conversation he had with the Rev. John F. Canary, the Rector of Mundelein Seminary, in August 1999: “I told Rev. Canary that I had some problems with the Chicago Diocese. I told him that I perceived that while Cardinal Bernardin had probably lived a celibate life, and may not have abused Steven Cook, that he also was flamingly gay. I said that I perceived that under Bernardin’s regime, Chicago had become like Santa Rosa under Bishop Ziemann. I said that in Santa Rosa, those priests and seminarians not in the bishop’s gay clique were treated unjustly, and that the same was true of Chicago under Bernardin. I said that I perceived that Bernardin fostered and promoted a network of gay priests and bishops, and that they protected each other, covered up each other’s ‘mistakes,’ and promoted one another to positions of responsibility in Chicago and the church at large. I alluded to the fact that Bernardin had appointed Rev. Canary, and that he in turn had appointed the formation faculty. Rev. Canary’s response was ‘Your perception is accurate. The question is what are you going to do about it.’”

What a brazen challenge from Canary! But Canary obviously didn’t know with whom he was dealing, for Kellenyi did indeed do something about it.


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New Oxford Notes: July-August 2004

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