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Rehabilitating Paul Shanley

In a New Oxford Note last month (pp. 16-18), we told you about how Commonweal has attempted to rehabilitate Archbishop Weakland (a homosexuab| and how the National Catholic Register, owned by the Legionaries of Christ, has tried to rehabilitate Deal Hudson (an adulterer).

This rehabilitation stuff is really catching on. Now the National Catholic Reporter has gotten into the act by attempting to rehabilitate the defrocked priest Paul Shanley, a notorious homosexual and pederast. The article is by Sr. Jeannine Gramick (Jan. 14), she of the highly “gay”-friendly New Ways Ministry, from which the Holy See made her disassociate.

Gramick says: “I met Paul…in the early 1970s at a conference in Dayton, Ohio, about ministry to homosexual persons. Over the years, we would minister together in various ways. We marched to the Detroit chancery to protest the diocesan newspaper’s firing of Brian McNaught, a gay man and a youth columnist. We demonstrated for gay and lesbian civil rights legislation in Wichita…. We spoke at meetings for lesbian and gay Catholics, presented workshops to sensitize heterosexual Catholics about homosexuality, and prayed publicly that our society and church would acknowledge that lesbian and gay persons need make no apology for their sexual orientation…. I understood him [Shanley] as a person who shared my vision of justice for the oppressed…. I admired this man…. I was proud to be acquainted with him and call him a friend.”

Meeting him in prison before his criminal trial, Gramick says: “The [Boston] archdiocese sent a deacon with laicization papers for Paul to sign. ‘I wouldn’t sign them,’ he said, ‘Good!,’ I said. I asked myself, ‘What loving family or community would abandon a member because he or she was accused of a heinous crime?'”

And this: “I believe that no private or public incriminations can erase the good Paul Shanley has effected in the lives of thousands of people, our church and the greater society.” Gramick was standing by her leather-man.

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