March 16, 2005

Panel speakers: 'Open up the conversation' on gay priests

The Tidings

By Paula Doyle

Breaking through the pervasive silence about the existence of gay priests in the church will lead to a healthier community of faith, said a panel of Catholic leaders at the recent 2005 Religious Education Congress.

Speaking at a workshop on "Homosexuality, Celibacy and the Priesthood: Opening Up the Conversation," Dr. Tom Beaudoin, an assistant professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University, told a packed workshop audience that he believes almost everyone who has raised objections against gay priests has "very likely" learned something about God's love from a priest who has a homosexual orientation.

"For generations, gay men have served in the Catholic priesthood," said Beaudoin. "They have lived and are living holy lives, human lives, celibate lives; it's time to try to open up the conversation about that." Denying that the panelists were pushing any political agenda, Beaudoin said the workshop presented a "spiritual task" for participants to try to "be present to what is and receive it prayerfully."

He said talking in a "more adult way" about the blessings and challenges of gay priests similar to the way blessings and challenges of straight priests are discussed will allow Catholics to become "more human" and "more holy with each otherůso that at long last our church in this regard can finally begin to deal with reality."

Posted by kshaw at March 16, 2005 07:32 PM