Saturday, February 24, 2007

Old News, But Worth Hearing

There are gay priests! We've said it before, and we'll say it again. Anybody who is surprised by this just hasn't been paying attention for the last thousand years (that being about how long when celibacy has been effectively enforced in the West).

Still, the Egg just stumbled on a 2005 Mother Jones article by JoAnn Wypijewski which talks about the Vatican's ill-advised crackdown on gay (as opposed to, say, criminally pedophilic) clergy. And along the way, she gives a beautiful and touching description of how people of the last few generations have managed to avoid paying attention to the inconvenient presence of all those purple stoles. Here's a sample:

"For a long time, heterosexuals didn’t think about this much, because no one in the straight world had a clue about the way gay people hid. Even the most flamboyant priest was beyond sexuality. It was all part of the old world, and the church ladies loved the gay priests, the way they loved Liberace, because they were at an angle to the gender universe. No one who grew up in the church pre-Stonewall could miss the way the priest who organized the talent shows and liturgical pageants, decorated the church, drank martinis, and dressed just so dazzled the women, and if in private he rued the deception of it, we wouldn’t have guessed. It wasn’t all deception, of course, but a complex bargain in which renegades from straight sex roles got a measure of authenticity, safety, certainly prestige, though not without sacrificing their most intimate selves in loyalty to policies that declared them deviant, dangerous, sick."

Read the rest, if only for her jaundiced reflections on the "saintly" Padre Pio.

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