Gay Chi priest

Sun-Times’s Cathleen Falsani got a heck of a quote, at the expense of attribution, from a gay Chicago priest commenting about the Vatican’s banning of deep homosexuals from the priesthood and seminaries.  The Vatican said bishops “cannot admit . . .  those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called 'gay culture.' .”

Bunk, says the gay priest.

"In a nutshell to say, 'It's OK to be homosexual as long as you don't think like a homosexual, talk like a homosexual, act like a homosexual, hang out with homosexuals, or go to places that are known to be hangouts of homosexuals,' well, that's ludicrous on its surface. And I don't say that flippantly. Sometimes the cardinal says, 'Oh, that's flippant.' This isn't flippant. That's what the document says," the priest said, adding that he believed the "right wing" of the Catholic church had decided to make homosexuals "their scapegoats and whipping boys."

Chi Trib’s Margaret Ramirez and Manya A. Brachear in the meantime got one anonymous quote mild in comparison — "I find it kind of sad" — but scored a first as regards a working Chicago pastor if not for any Chicago priest ever in their quoting a gay pastor by name.

Rev. Michael Herman, a gay priest and pastor of St. Sylvester Church in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood, recently joined with other priests to form a group called Catholics Affirming Homosexual Leadership.

"People who have a sense of bigotry or have sense of hatred toward people who are gay, these documents give people a chance to get on their soapbox," Herman said. "My desire to speak out is to say `Wait a second. Is this a fair thing to say? Is it fair to isolate one group of candidates when these issues of maturity and integration are true of all candidates?"

Herman was ordained in 1989.  His consenting to be identified is a milestone in public discussion of gay priests.  It’s in sharp contrast to my experience eleven years ago in Oak Park, at the old Kroch’s & Brentano’s on Lake Street, where I was talking up my book Bending the Rules: What American Priests Tell American Catholics — available now as Priests at Work: Catholic Pastors Tell How They Apply Church Law in Difficult Cases — when I reduced a storeful of people to churchly silence with the mere mention of gay priests.

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