Friday, August 13, 2010

The Gay Church

Long essay by Colm Toibin about homosexuality in the Catholic Church and its relationship to child abuse by priests, Vatican II, and many other things. Toibin recognizes that the church has been caught out by social changes that have shaken all our institutions, and that the huge number of accusations against abusive clergy represent, not a wave of pedophile priests, but a new willingness among victims to come forward that is itself a feature of the changing sexual climate of our times:
This new fearlessness on the part of victims is, as [Irish bishiop] Jones would have it, a feature of the age in which we live; it is this same age in which homosexuals have won freedom and celibacy is viewed with suspicion. In many parts of the world now there are gay priests who entered the seminary in good faith, and found self-knowledge and more good faith among the flutterers there. They are either celibate as a conscious, thought-out choice, or they use the gay scene when it suits them. Many of them are open to themselves and, to some extent, to their congregations about their sexuality, which is no longer a poison, but a gift, a way of understanding others, including Christ himself and his apostles, whom the world wished to victimise and marginalise. This poses a serious problem for the Catholic hierarchy, serious enough for them to ignore it, which is one of their skills. It is one of the most notable features of the Catholic Church in the United States.

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