For years the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality have been ambiguous. While there are many radicals that swear by the Bible and how “homosexuality is a sin,” the actual views from the Church are more complex. They recognize that homosexuals exist, yet they are against gay marriage. This belief held by the Catholic Church is often hypocritical and puzzling.
Many people have become conflicted when it comes to their beliefs as they feel confused on who to support: homosexuals or God. In reality, the root of Catholicism is about love and reaching out to the outcasts, just like Jesus did. Regardless of sexuality, Christ himself would have been accepting and loving and would treat everyone the same. However, because of this stigma around homosexuality and the Catholic Church, this led to devoted homosexual Catholics hiding their sexuality.
Priests, including the leader of the Catholic Church, struggle to come to terms with who they are. Some priests are gay and are conflicted with how they should respond to it. Father Gretien, a current priest in Milwaukee, realized he was gay when was going into the priesthood. Father Gretien learned that being gay was one of the worst sins that could be committed by a Catholic. He recalls back to when he was 17 on a retreat with several other young men who planned on becoming priests. A question arose about whether you would want to be burned over 90% of your body, paralyzed, or gay. Sure enough, everyone chose being burned or paralyzed. For Father Gretien that memory stuck with him leading him to the brink of suicide. When he was around 24 years old, Father Gretien almost jumped out of his bedroom window in fear of someone discovering that he was gay. He recalls how his experience was “like a death sentence.”
It is a shame that we live in a world where people would rather take their lives than live being who they truly are. Only ten priests have come out publicly and have been questioned. They revealed that they believe that 30% to 75% of the clergy are gay or at least unsure whether or not they are straight.
Many priest fear for their lives upon discovering their homosexuality. They worry they might be thrown out of the ministry if other members of the clergy or the bishop himself finds out. This stigma with priests being gay did not just arise from the fact that many see homosexuality as wrong. In fact, this issue has been brought up more frequently due to the unfortunate amount of young boys abused by Catholic priests.
Although studies have shown there is no connection between being gay and abusing men, the ministry thinks otherwise. Even Pope Francis, who was rather accepting of homosexuality, despite being in such a high power, has begun to change his views on this topic. He now believes being gay is “fashionable” and men with this “deep seated tendency” should not be allowed into the ministry. It is a frightening time to be a gay priest: one feels lost and alone with nowhere to turn to. Despite being holy and just, one might fear that sanctuary with God is not enough because of how others will view them.
Regardless of people’s beliefs, homosexuality is not exclusive to laymen, priests or any other clergy or ministry; they are human, too, with their own needs and taking a vow of chastity does not erase their sexuality or who they are.