Wednesday, August 4, 2010

VOICES FROM THE HINTERLAND: COMMENTS OF GAY BISHOP AND PRIESTS

Since the email comments of Bishop Cawcutt - referred to in yesterday's posting - are in the public record, thanks to website Roman Catholic Faithful (which is closing its doors because it is broke), I've decided to offer an edited selection of the Bishop's comments, together with some very moving statements of other gay priests in communication with the Bishop. This is old news from 2001 and I vaguely remember hearing about it, but nine years later, it still has the force of a revelation. The following discussion is from 1999, at the time of Cardinal Raztinger's letter banning openly gay men from entrance into seminaries. The reactions of these gay bishops and priests  makes for very interesting reading. However, if you tire of reading through all of these selections, please read the last one - the most inspiring.

 (REG  refers to comments made by Bishop Reginald Cawcutt. In some cases he is responding to comments on the chat. If REG is in black, the priests are referring to him, frequently with a question. There are clearly a number of bishops taking part in these conversations,  besides Bishop Cawcutt, so all references to insider ecclesiastical stuff are not necessarily from him.  He resigned from his post as  auxiliary bishop of Cape Town in 2002, saying he no longer wished to be the cause of divisions within the church. A shame.)

REG: You told us ages ago about the possibility of a letter from him (then Cardinal Ratzinger) - can YOU give us any update? Certainly bishops of the world have not yet received anything like this - certainly not anything to do with gay students or whatever. I do not see how he can possibly do this - but... If he does, lemme repeat my statement earlier - that I will cause lotsa shit for him and the Vatican. And that is a promise. MY intention would be simply to ask the question what he intends doing with those priests, bishops (possibly "like me") and cardinals (and I might as well put in popes) who are gay? That should cause shit enough. Be assured, dear reverend gentleman, I shall let you know the day any such outrageous letter reaches the desks of the ordinaries of the world.
 
Hey thanks guys for all the confidence in proposing me to be the guy with the tiara -wonder if they would allow one in pink? 

......

I have heard likewise that there are more gay men in the Vatican than all of San Francisco but the way they survive is that they are involved in the old political machine. In one diocese of a prince of the church that will remain nameless, the "inquisitor" sniffed out and booted men who were involved with women and men. This same man was caught with his pants down with young girls and boys. I feel to protect the ass of the 75% there will be the likes of the great witch hunts where one accused the other. This does not look good. With the shortages that are this will decrease the numbers of clergy even more and may blow up in there face. Reg, what do you know of this, and is there anything to be done? I heard that the rat was called in recently by JPII for putting out things that were not approved by him. Can anything be done to stop this man? He has enough enemies that can bring him down. It saddens me to think this way, but I can help it.

....

Now for some bad news - Reg - do you have any inside on the next "important document" due from Der Füher's Oberst Ratzinger? I was reliably informed that SCDF and the Congregation for Religious and the thingy for priestly formation are working together on a declaration due in October - and surprise, surprise, it bans homosexuals from entry into religious life or the taking of Orders - what other horrors they contemplate against about 75% of the clergy I shudder to contemplate. I just hope that things become much more toned down than they appear to be at the moment. I am reliably informed that [a prominent Vatican cardinal's] secretary is as flaming as they come (silence on the good [cardinal] though), if this idiocy gets through then the queens on the Vatican hill are piercing their own insteps with their stilettos. Unfortunately I don't have much more information than this.
On this rather miserable note... greetings and courage.

......
It bans homosexuals from entry into religious life or the taking of Orders.
 
Well, if it is going to happen, I say GOOD! Then these despots will have unwittingly signed the execution warrant for the present anachronistic, medieval expression of "presbyter" and force it to reform in ways that are consistent with the Gospel.
The straights are CERTAINLY not going to come forward under present conditions .... and with "gay rights" being so "out there", I would imagine that it is more and more difficult for youth to remain in denial about whether they are gay or not.
(Oh wait! But the straights ARE coming forward! In their 60's and 70's. After they have led a decently human life ..... and have reached the age where wisdom is possible - that is, the "hormones" have died down! Nice, safe, sexually-tame, old men. Eunuchs, by virtue of age!)
Once, when asked to list my occupation on a form, I wrote "Medieval Lord" - and *I* don't even wear French Cuffs!!! (Ever notice that the guys who are DYING to wear the purple usually wear French Cuffs?)

Unfortunately, in the coming sexuality pogrom, I fear many of us will be casualties in one way or another - if we insist on saying "We are here!" I've noticed that the idea of "activism" among the older gay clergy is a rather foreign idea. They feel no urge to slit their own throats in the name of Truth, Justice, bla, bla, bla. They simply go to plush old-gay-men piano bars in Boston and sit around the piano singing show-tunes and wishing their dicks still worked the way they did when they were young.

Was talking to an Episcopalian Minister who was marveling at how we "underling" Catholics roll over and play dead in the face of hierarchy authority abuse. I guess with their "protesting" history, it is easier for them to stand up and say FUCK OFF, ASSHOLES.

I was thinking - and this might be just an American, thinking in the "ghetto" way we Americans think - that the U.S. has a terrific leverage tool with the Vatican called Peter's Pence. Withhold those millions for a few years and see how much power a country's clergy can have over the Vatican! Of course, our OWN hierarchy would have to adapt to the outrageous idea of LEADING in ways of LIFE instead of being led around by the NOSE by the "Restorationists" who want to close those windows John XXIII opened.
"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for THOSE sinners...." ;-)

....
You echoed my feelings here very well. If our prelates ever stood together and stood up to the Vatican, the Roman Curia would change very quickly. Unfortunately many of the American prelates lack the sufficient backbone to carry this through. Or (worse considering they're Americans) they don't realize the power of the purse strings.

......

Hey guys, I hope all of you are well? Yes thank, Reg,  for you weekly TOMES which are somewhat hopeful to me that there is a light in the church for those of us struggling to be good and faithful shepherds. I remember when I first said to my therapist that I was gay. I had gone through two intense years of struggle. I begged my bishop not to put me in a parish alone, yet i was given an assignment in the middle of no where with two churches and little support from brother priest/diocese. I need spiritual guidance but many of the brothers i knew where somewhat homophobic and i was in denial. During my time of struggle I was given a seminarian who was bi polar, paroid, manic, etc and who loveddddddddddddddddd jesus. I had gotten an advertisement in the mail and put it in the side of my nightstand. while i was gone my mom who cleaned my house once a week ordered [DELETED] to paint my room. He did and it fell out of the nightstand. Next thing I knew when I got back was that I was called in and my bishop wanted me evaluated to see if i needed to go to treatment. SAD dioceses are more concerned about being sued. I went to a counselor who after I told him my life journey I asked if I needed to go to treatment. He said i was a normal male. that I had issues but don't we all. I started counseling with him, and then went to [DELETED] where I had a great time. I since have struggled three relationships which didn't work out, but were great learning experiences. I returned home. Still the support is lacking and the back stabbing is there but my attitude about myself is better. I still make stupid mistakes when it comes to handling my sexuality, but I am ok with it. I am grateful to god that I had the aol gay christian room with ministers who helped me through all this. I had very good resources to help me deal with myself. I am on the way to recovery. I know 100 % that I want to be a priest. It is sad that we have to live this way, but maybe someday something will change. I love the church but I have come to hate the bureaucracy. Maybe we are in need of another reformation!....LOL...well that is a part of my journey. In time I will write more..[DELETED] P>S if you guys know gay friendly priest who would make good spritiual directors in the [DELETED] area please let me know
--------------------------------------------
 

 Bishops....it seems that rome is consecrating men who are either looking for higher postions, wealthy dioceses, soley adminstrators, or control freaks. I WILL GIVE YOU SHEPHERD'S seems to be a contradiction of terms with my experience of bishops lately. It is good to find a bishop who is a human being! I wish we would know of more, and I am sure there are. There were some guys whose lives remind me of the THORNBIRDS who when they get to the top they forget what they once were and become the perscutors and powermongers they dispised. ie ratizinger is a good example..

.......
Hi everyone: I look forward to reading the emails from this group and as usual, I am inspired.  Reg, thanks for the insight, honesty and the hope you instill in each of us. Frankly, I think that you are a rare kind, not that many of the members in drag are few either. I doubt very much if there will ever be the kind of support gay priests need in the church. We have done a good job in creating hangups with sex, rules etc. How about preaching Christianity? Who cares what I do with my membrane? Obviously, the Holy Church cares or is it mostly those in positions of authority care? As I look back on my life (do that more now that I have reached 50+), I had to come in touch with my pain. About 9 years ago, I was turned in to the bishop because I was acting out with a deacon entrusted to my supervision. poor choice on my part. I was treated as someone who needed help, though compassion at the time was visible from the auxiliary bishop. He didn't give up on me, rather he guided me after he treated me harshly. Before leaving for my program, he apologized for the way he treated me. He gained a little more respect from me. I went to a program where I regained my dignity as a human being, found out how many priests, brothers are gay. It is not wrong to be gay as much of our society looks down on gays. In fact I always muse at a man and woman at a restaurant and notice how often they have very little to talk about. On the contrary, two gay men have a good time together sharing a meal. and in other places too. I had to come to terms with the relationships I have had over the years. Most of them were good ones, good for me especially the one with "[DELETED]". Still find him very appealing to me, though he is now committed to a loving man ( hope he is good for him). I resent the fact that instead of helping me to be monogamous, I was given a choice to either be a celibate or forget it. I guess this is a crude way of putting it. How have I been behaving since the treatment? Surprisingly well. I keep to myself, get very horny and sometimes "fall". more to come later. but thanks everyone for giving me the opportunity to share part of my story. It's been a hell of a journey as far as sexuality is concerned. I love sex, but most of all, I would love to love and be loved above all else. [DELETED]

......
REG
Indeed, Bloody Ratz - [DELETED] gives us this bad news. I am a bit reluctant to believe it - have not heard anything of it from other sources - and it surprising that the news guys have not got onto it yet. I was amused to hear JPII's supposed comment that Ratz does thing without asking him. I was reminded of JP's comment when we had lunch with him during our ad limina- We asked him if he was going to watch the soccer game between Germany and Poland on TV that night (he is not supposed to be gay, so he should have been watching) and his reply was that he could not "because Ratzinger is coming to check up on me tonight" .
When I was having my fight with Ratz re my stand re our bishops not opposing gay relationships when it cums up in parliament - one of the documents he sent me to "read for my requested conversion" was a thing that said gay people should not be appointed as school teachers, PT instructors and army personnel. I wondered why seminarians were excluded from this prohibition list. Now it seems they are catching up. As to my query whether this was not discrimination, I was told that all other instances would be discrimination except these.. why? because we say so!!! 

I am wondering what is to happen with those who have sneaked through and got themselves ordained??? Greeley I think says 60% of priests are gay. I would be tempted to out myself and ask what I and other gay bishops (cardinals), priests and religious (male and female) are supposed to do. I say tempted since I shall certainly think about it before October comes our way. However it will be a nice bomb to drop at the Chicago conference next month... Gary watch out for it! As I feel now - I could not continue - but we shall see.
So guys - see - don't think I am such a smart guy at all! I am not, I am just very human like u guys are - and look forward to my night with [DELETED]

.....
Interesting idea to ban all gay clergy. Who in the hell is going to serve the people? In our place alone, they can't manage now, and it would be interesting to see what the people would do. People ask me, "Father, what can be done?" I always answer, "You just have to get mad enough and say you're not going to take it anymore. Tell the damn bishops you don't care of the gender or marital status of the priest who serves you!" Interesting how many of them seem to think this is a good idea. Now we can add sexual orientation too, I suppose.
So now what will the Holy Office of the Inquisition come up with next?

.....
Greetings to one and all,
I read with great interest  [DELETED]'s note about rumors of another letter coming from the Vatican.
Actually, this is not the first time I have heard of such. When the Los Angeles bishops, et al. went to Rome for their official visit late last fall, they came back talking about that very letter. Apparently Ratz's office was very proud of it, and was telling all those who were visiting that the next official letter would in fact ban gays from religious orders and priesthood. When the LA crew mentioned the letter to the more sympathetic Pio Laghi, he told them not to worry, that the rest of the Congregations would never allow such a letter to get through. So, in spite of Pio Laghi's best intentions, it appears as though the letter might have made it through.

I do find such a letter disturbing, as it will give strength to those ordinaries throughout this country who are already conducting witch hunts. Sadly, men, this gives rise to my worst fears that when all is said and done, each and every one of us is expendable in the eyes of the institutional, hierarchical Church unless we are willing to remain in the closet and play the game by THEIR rules. I know that for a long time, certain "titles" (monsignor, bishop, etc.), have been reserved as much as possible to reward the "good little boys" who have kept their noses clean and have done what "Daddy" told them to do.

A friend of mine who works at a Chancery in a large Archdiocese in the Midwest has suggested that each and every one of us take out our resumes, dust them off, update them, and work with someone who might be able to help some of us transition into the secular world, if the need arises.

In the meantime...let us, as best as possible, live, love, laugh, and be happy. No, I am NOT in denial. I just think that if they come after us, we should try to be in good places so that we can make our own decisions, our own choices, and in our own best interests. If we are expendable to them, we must not be expendable to ourselves. Let us be on guard...and prepare!
 [DELETED]
.....

(Finally, to end this sampling, I've chosen the most moving testimony of all from an evidently spiritual gay priest of deep commitment, dedication and integrity.) 

Hello, gentlemen!
My heart goes out to all those whose lives and priesthoods have been painful. I have friends whose stories echo those of the men who have shared in here.

I feel I would like to present another side, however. I feel blessed to admit that both my life and my priesthood have been glorious. I have had no real painful challenges, I have been surrounded by good friends, an occasional lover, have done everything I wanted to do, and have been neither stopped nor stifled in anything whatsoever. After 21 years of priesthood, I am more in love with it than ever. Do I have a problem with the Church? Hmm..at times, certainly, but I feel that I have created a healthy enough distance between myself and its pettiness and small-mindedness so that I am personally immune from its attacks. I just go my own way, fighting injustice, of course, but choosing to do so from within. I shall not surrender the Church to the infidels.

I am fortunate too in that I have very specific training and professional degrees--all of them paid for by the "Church"-- that have freed me from depending upon Church sources for a living. I am marketable apart from the Church and its whims. I make a tremendous amount of money in my ministry, and have a tremendous amount of freedom. I do what I want, go where I want, cavort (safely) with whom I want, and should the occasion ever present itself, am capable of telling whomever to go fuck themselves, that I don't need them. Because in many respects, I don't.

Do I play the game? Of course, but only because I believe in the Gospel, and I feel that some of us MUST work from within. This does not mean, however, that I would ever compromise who I am or what I am in order to preserve my current status. I am currently working on a relationship that looks oh-so-promising, and has energized me greatly. Our lovemaking--our entire relationship-- makes me a better person, and a better priest.

So, my friends, I certainly hope that I don't come across as bragging. But I do think it important for all of us to hear/know that our company is made up of ALL kinds. And of course, in my prayers, I thank God for all that I have, and all that I am, and ask His inspiration and grace to continue to use the gifts He has given me wisely, in His name, and for the Kingdom.




4 comments:

colkoch said...

"Do I play the game? Of course, but only because I believe in the Gospel, and I feel that some of us MUST work from within."

I hate to disagree with you Jayden, but this is not a spiritually advanced person. If he actually believed in the Gospel, rather than using it to justify his self complacency, it might be a different thing.


Interesting insights on Herr Ratzinger and his relationship with JPII. Does make one wonder who is the power behind Ratz? Perhaps JPI knows the answer to that.

Jayden Cameron said...

Hmmm ...that's a bit harsh, Colleen, but I appreciate your 'devil's advocate' viewpoint. The man's joy in his vocation seems evident (and very refreshing) and how can any man survive in today's priesthood without 'playing the game.' Franciscan Father Richard Rohr made a very similiar statement at NCR sometime ago, which I quote (NC August 28, 209, How I Get there):

Why he stays

If his critique of the church occurs at times at such a deep level, why doesn't he leave?

Rohr was disarmingly frank in describing his motives for staying, noting the rich rewards of his ministry, and in his thoughts about priesthood and the strain of remaining a priest amid the tension of his own questions.

"I've had more -- forgive me for using the word -- success than I ever deserved or had a right to, so my ego has been padded and fed, too. So I don't want to make it anything heroic. I've had more success than anybody deserves in response, warm accolades and so forth.

"So, given that, given the structural freedom and protection that the Franciscans gave me, I just was always able to do what I wanted to do and needed to do. I would be stupid to leave. Now, if they kicked me out, if they threatened me with suspension, I'd have to say it wouldn't be a great crisis for me. I know that. I'd be relieved not to have to put on priest's robes and pretend to believe all the things that they say they believe. I'm not a disbeliever, so I'm not saying that from an agnostic place, but from this repeating of clichés and repeating of words that mean belief. I'd be relieved in a certain way if I didn't have to be a priest.

"However, I've been so protected and able to do it in what I hope is a Gospel way that I'd be foolish to leave. How many people have had the access that I've had to so many countries, to so many different groupings? All I can do is get on my knees and thank God. It would have been arrogant of me to leave.

"The other piece is, in fairness to the Catholic church, that it was good Catholic theology that gave me the authority and self-confidence to talk the way I talk. Catholicism made me who I am. It's ironic and here I end up being very critical of much of Catholicism, and yet, Catholicism gave me the key to unlock that from inside and not outside.

"It's all there. Catholic theology, when it's good, is really good. It's incarnational. It's inclusive. It unlocks itself from inside. It's capable of self criticism. But it is such a small percentage that ever gets to that, it seems."

Jayden Cameron said...

wound up posting the same comment five times. Now that is strange! Haha. Evil spirits at work.

loved your final comment about JPI - indeed, who is the real power behind the throne, not the one in the Prada red shoes.

colkoch said...

I don't know Jayden, maybe I've just gone native. I see the same sort of justification in Rhor's work. And believe me I like his work.

To use the current favorite word on my own blog, these justifications seem to lack coherence. In fact, when I was first reading the last comment of your string, Richard Rhor came to mind.

To me Mathew Fox, who says very similar things to Richard Rhor, is far more coherent. I will however concede the point that Fox managed to get tossed out and that may have furthered his path to spiritual coherency.

My problem is if the best of our priests see the price of their ministerial priesthood as 'playing a game' then Catholicism is in real spiritual trouble.