Volume > Issue > Note List > "Gay" Priests Set the Tone

“Gay” Priests Set the Tone

Fr. Paul Shaughnessy, in a blockbuster article in The Catholic World Report (Nov. 2000), blows the lid off the homosexualist subculture in the priesthood: “A disproportionately high percentage of priests is gay; a disproportionately high percentage of gay priests routinely engages in sodomy; this sodomy is frequently ignored, often tolerated, and sometimes abetted by bishops and superiors.” And of dissenting priests, “a disproportionately high number are gay.”

This article is a blockbuster not only because of what it says, but because it was written by a priest. As a priest, Fr. Shaughnessy is in a position to know whereof he speaks. Moreover, priests have a reputation for covering up one another’s misdeeds and “circling the wagons” when members of their fraternity are questioned or scrutinized. Shaughnessy has broken the code of silence. We expect that he will pay a price for his prophetic audacity.

Fr. Shaughnessy tells us that actively homosexual priests “routinely gloat about the fact that gay bars in big cities have special ‘clergy nights,’ that gay resorts have set-asides for priests, and that in certain places the diocesan apparatus is controlled entirely by gays…. Their boasts include having blackmailed the Connecticut Catholic Conference into reversing its opposition to a gay rights law by threatening to ‘out’ gay bishops….”

We often hear the lament: Why won’t the bishops do something? According to Shaughnessy, they won’t because, as a body, they are “corrupt”: “I define as corrupt, in a sociological sense, any institution that has lost the capacity to mend itself on its own initiative and by its own resources, an institution that is unable to uncover and expel its own miscreants…. The principal reason why the action necessary to solve the gay problem won’t be taken is that the episcopacy in the United States is corrupt, and the same is true of the majority of religious orders…. If we examine any trust-invested agency…we might find that, say, out of every hundred men, five are scoundrels, five are heroes, and the rest are neither one nor the other…. When the institution is healthy, the gutsier few set the overall tone…. More importantly, the healthy institution is able to identify its own rotten apples and remove them before the institution itself is enfeebled. However, when an institution becomes corrupt, its guiding spirit mysteriously shifts away from the morally intrepid few, and with that shift the institution becomes more interested in protecting itself against outside critics than in tackling the problem members who subvert its mission…. In claiming the U.S. episcopacy is corrupt…. I am simply pointing to the fact that, as an agency, the episcopacy has lost the capacity to do its own housecleaning…. Let’s look at the American bishops who have been deposed in recent years as a consequence of sexual scandal: Eugene Marino of Atlanta, Robert Sanchez of Santa Fe, Keith Symons of Palm Beach, Daniel Ryan of Springfield, Illinois, Patrick Ziemann of Santa Rosa. Can you name a single instance in which the district attorney or the media did not get there first — a single case, that is, in which [the episcopacy] identified the scoundrel in [its] ranks and replaced him before the scandal aired on CBS or before the police came knocking on the door?”

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