My dear friends, today brings yet another moment in the life of the Irish Catholic Church which should not be allowed to pass unacknowledged and indeed unanswered.
I speak of course in relation to a colleague, namely Fr Michael Hogan, PP of Feakle County Clare, who was 'outed' by the gutter press here in Ireland today.
Fr Hogan is gay, and has been surfing the internet on a site which is very commonly used by the gay community here, namely www.gaydar.ie, a site which was at the centre of an alleged paedophile ring some time ago here in Ireland.
This is not by any means an inference that Fr Hogan had or has knowledge of that situation, but it does raise many many different questions in their own right which do certainly need to be addressed.
Homosexuality In The Church
There is no doubt that homosexuality is as old as mankind itself, and indeed has been depicted on crockery from Ancient Greece and that is just for beginners...but it is something which was seen as evil and condemned by the early Church and pushed under the carpet all these centuries.
In the hierarchical RC Church, there is the very real situation that there are gay clergy...many actively so...and it is almost folklore that in Rome, to get up that particular ladder, the raising of a few soutanes is indeed necessary!!
There are some bishops, even in Ireland, that are gay, some so discreet, others not so but yet nothing has been said or done to either encourage or dissuade one from thinking such but there are certainly many clergy that are in parishes that are gay.
Here in the diocese in which I am based, there are certainly a half dozen or so that come to mind but it is not my right nor entitlement to expose these men who have a difficult enough life as it is without this to happen to them.
I have met some of my colleagues from Ireland who are gay and find life difficult as it is and the official spoutings from Rome are certainly not of help, especially when the teachings are of a nature such as homosexuals being 'intrinsically disordered' and in grave sin by committing such acts...in other words condemn the sin and not the sinner.
What is also most questionable is the Church associating and most wrongly so, homosexuality with paedophilia and therefore slanderously labelling all gay people as 'kiddie fiddlers' which only goes to serve 2 purposes -
1. Church's own inability to address properly the issue of CSA within the ranks of its own frustrated clergy, irrespective of their sexual orientation, an
2. Celibacy as an issue overall in the Church needs to be now brought to the fore for assessment and abandonment at the least by the hierarchy.
To those of you out there who are gay and reading this site, please be assured of my prayers and to my gay colleagues, we will again come through this albeit on our own again as we did the CSA scandal that rocked us a few years ago;
To Bishop Walsh, Diocese of Killaloe, treat this man with compassion and care and not with the Code of Canon Law as you have been so known to do in the past;
To the Parish of Feakle, you have the world looking at you at the moment but with your faith you will get through this and come out of it a better people and please bear in mind that charity and love will carry all through the storm;
To Fr Michael Hogan, you have my prayers at this time and always, God help and bless you;
To the Priests of Killaloe Diocese, gay and straight alike, it is upon you that this falls to deal with not by sweeping it under the carpet but standing up and saying he is our brother and we will carry him!!!
In all things love...
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