Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Spong: Purging Gays Would Decimate Catholic Clergy, Even Bishops and Cardinals

The 12/7 edition of the National Catholic Reporter has a letter from New Jersey reader Randy Kowalik praising its 11/2 editorial, which decried "the treatment of gay people in our church." But Kowalik says the editorial did not go far enough about the root cause of the mistreatment. Quoting a recent analysis, insightful and inciteful, by retired Episocpal Bishop John Shelby Spong, Kowalik suggests the most basic explanation is duplicity and dishonesty about the high percentage of Catholic clergy who are gay. The bulk of the letter follows.

Your editorial was one of the best statements I have read in years about the treatment of gay people within our church (NCR, Nov. 2). However, it still didn’t dare verbalize the root cause of the prejudice and spiritual tyranny: the actions of Pope Benedict XVI, both now and as the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

An eloquent analysis of the problem was given by retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong at a recent convention of Dignity. Quoting from Bishop Spong expresses the reality and truth that most of the Catholic media somehow fear stating. “When Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, one of his first acts was to announce his intention to purge gay males from the ranks of the Catholic priesthood. When the fine print was read, however, he limited himself to preventing aggressive or militant homosexual advocates from becoming priests. Even this pope knew full well that a purge of gay men from the ranks of the Catholic priesthood would decimate the clergy, to say nothing of culling significantly the members of the College of Cardinals, the archbishops and the bishops of that church. The duplicity and dishonesty surrounding this issue in the Catholic church is breathtaking.”

Has any member of the Catholic hierarchy had the courage to say this in public before? Did it take an Episcopal bishop to speak the truth?

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