The Way Forward

This brave, celibate and well-loved gay priest has dealt with the emotional issue of gay priesthood not with anger, but with honesty. Honesty matters – especially in the priesthood, which is why the policy of keeping celibate gay priests in the closet is so destructive to the integrity of the Church. When I see such a figure, I feel enormous hope and solace, and I also feel some self-criticism. Most of the time, I’ve been painfully honest, calm and reasoned as a gay writer in a fraught time. But I’ve also succumbed to anger occasionally. The anger doesn’t persuade anyone; and it doesn’t do me much good either. I have prayed to overcome it. It springs, I guess, from being so profoundly rejected by a Church I love and a faith I cherish. But that faith also teaches us to resist that anger and to translate it into constructive argument. There’s a spectrum here – from the righteous rage of Act-Up to the calm honesty of Father Morrison. But we now have a role model in the Church. What a difference more would make. It’s time for gay priests to confront the new policies by simply telling the truth – an assertion that would in itself, I think, help them remain celibate. Secrecy and shame perpetuate pathology. Honesty and self-respect bring you maturity and the strength to do what God may ask of you. To gay priests, the late John Paul II had a message that, while he never intended it for them as such, rings ever more true:

"Be not afraid!  Of what should be not be afraid? … We should not fear the truth about ourselves."

And that truth will set us free.

The Beagles

Longtime readers of the blog will know who "the beagles" are. Now, they’ve been outed by the illustration at the top of the blog, I might as well introduce them to the rest of you, especially the newbies. The original beagle is a pure-bred, called Dusty (foreground, below, dappled in sunlight). She’s eight years old this week. Last December, my fiance (yes, we’ve upgraded again) stumbled across a beagle-mutt puppy from the local animal shelter and fell in love. Dustyeddy_1We called her Eddy. For some reason, her previous owners had called Animal Control to take her to the shelter. Despite flashes of racism, she’s a wonderful dog, easily trained (by beagle standards). She’s a very different personality than Dusty: as outgoing as Dusty is aloof, as friendly to other dogs as Dusty is wary. Eddy has a healthy interest in food, while Dusty is pathological in her obsession to inhale every speck of edible (or non-edible) material in the fastest time possible. Amazingly, Dusty didn’t go nuts when Eddy entered the picture. In fact, they’ve become fast, well, allies, rather than friends. Dusty’s interest in squirrels has soared under Eddy’s influence, and walking the two of them at the same time requires Cirque du Soleil skills. When a squirrel or a chicken bone are within smelling distance, I spin like a weathervane in a storm. Anyway, here they are, the closest I’ll ever get to children.