I came out as a gay, Catholic priest on the Feast of the Annunciation

(Images: Wikimedia Commons, iStock/Composite: America)(Images: Wikimedia Commons, iStock/Composite: America)

March 25, 2004, the Feast of the Annunciation, felt like the longest day of my life. That evening, I was being honored by the United Way for my parish’s ministries to the poor and marginalized in the community. Shortly before the ceremony, a young reporter from the local newspaper interviewed me. She noted that I had been outspoken on many social issues and particularly supportive of the L.G.B.T. community. I knew this was the moment to come out publicly as a gay, Roman Catholic priest.

The journey to that moment was a long and often painful one. I knew I wanted to be a priest since I was in junior high school. Because priests are called to celibacy, I must have repressed my full sexuality through high school, seminary and the first years of priesthood. Society and the Catholic Church taught me that premarital sex was sinful and homosexuality was abominable.

Advertisement

From the moment I was ordained, I felt fulfilled in my vocation and loved all the aspects of my ministry: presiding at liturgies, visiting the sick, teaching children and enjoying parish life. I was blessed to have a pastor who taught me that serving the people was the heart the priesthood.

The journey to that moment was a long and often painful one.

After a few years, however, I began to notice an ache within me. This ache deepened as I recognized the emergence of a sexual energy that I had tried to resist for so long. Soon, the ache became dread. As I began to admit to myself my same-sex attractions, that dread became horror.

While on a retreat, I shared the truth about my sexuality for the first time with the Jesuit priest assigned as my spiritual director. I prayed that he would help me get back on track. I wanted to learn how to repress these impure thoughts. Instead, Father Paul explained that my sexual orientation is part of who God created me to be. I was and am wholly loved by God.

Little by little, with the help of some counseling and spiritual direction, I began to accept myself and, eventually, love myself as a gay man. I finally understood the true sacrifice of celibacy. Although I never acted on any of my desires, I needed to consciously recommit myself to this way of life in order to live as a priest with integrity. Gradually, I told a few close friends and family that I was gay. But for the most part, I remained in the closet.

Father Paul explained that my sexual orientation is part of who God created me to be.

This inner journey to self-acceptance dramatically changed my relationship with God. I experienced the unconditional love of God in my soul, in my gut and in my head. This love for God poured into love for my parishioners. My capacity for friendship and empathy deepened profoundly.

But I also grew increasingly frustrated that being closeted prevented me from sharing my story in a way that could benefit others. I wanted to accompany and minister to the poor, the excluded and those marginalized in church and society, and this included ministry to the L.G.B.T. community.

Then, in 2002, the sexual abuse scandal broke in the United States, and a number of church leaders began scapegoating gay priests as the cause of the crisis. I knew this was not true. I concluded that if I were to live with integrity and preach the Gospel without compromise, I needed to publicly come out of the closet. It was not an impulsive decision. It was preceded by prayer and strengthened by consultation with my spiritual director and the auxiliary bishop. I trusted in the Holy Spirit to show me the right moment to come out. The interview on the Feast of the Annunciation turned out to be that moment.

I shared with the reporter that in my years accompanying members of the L.G.B.T. community, I recognized in their deep pain my own struggle of self-acceptance as a gay man.

A number of church leaders began scapegoating gay priests as the cause of the sexual abuse crisis.

I waited for the newspaper the next morning with a bit of fear and trembling. Would the writer report what I said accurately? Would I be suspended by the bishop? Would my parishioners reject me? Would I be hurting people who do not understand?

The headline on the front page read: “Father Daley Reveals That He is Gay.” Meanwhile, “Father Daley Receives the United Way’s ‘Real Hero’ Award for his Work with the Poor” was relegated to an inner section of the paper.

That weekend I shared my story at the parish liturgies. I was met with standing ovations. One of my concerns in discerning whether I should come out or not was a fear that I would be hurting or confusing parishioners who might not understand. An elderly, very traditional Irish parishioner—she hated “those damned guitars at Mass”—relieved my fears. Mary always counted the offertory collection after the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass. Holding my breath, I knocked on the parish office door. Mary got up from her chair, gave me a hug and said, “Don’t worry, Father, I like men, too!”

I received hundreds of letters from around the country offering support. A few folks sent negative letters expressing concern for my homosexual soul going to hell—but even they assured me of their prayers. My bishop at the time and his successor have respected me and supported my ministry.

“We tend to be compassionate to the extent that we have suffered the Passion in our own lives.”

Many folks ask me if I think other gay priests should “come out.” Taking this step is a very personal and sacred decision for each person. I would only ask my brother gay priests to pray for the grace to reflect deeply on the question. I can say that, for me, coming out was and continues to be a blessing. Folks who are facing personal struggles perceive me as more approachable because they know I have had personal struggles, too. Any illusion of being on a clerical pedestal has thankfully melted away.

Being a public person, I have many opportunities to counter the homophobic prejudices that still exist in our church and society. One of my favorite spiritual themes comes from the writings and teaching of the Rev. Henri Nouwen, who said, “We tend to be compassionate to the extent that we have suffered the Passion in our own lives.”

As I look back on those days when I was in the closet, I am so grateful that, through the gift of the Spirit, that closet door was broken open. Through that gift, I could become the person God intends me to be. Do I have any regrets? Not a one! For the past 14 years, I have looked forward to March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, as the day an angel whispered in my ear: “Fred, ‘Be not afraid.’” On that day, love conquered fear in my relationships with God, my neighbors and myself. Often, with gratitude I reflect on the words: “We are as sick as our secrets.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Carlos Orozco
2 years 3 months ago

Ever since the neocons fooled the American pubic into invading Iraq and destroy the Middle East with their support of Salafist "freedom fighters", it has become ever more evident that there is a Church willing to accept martyrdom and not loose faith, and another seduced by gender ideology and willing to bargain everything. But just as the Two Cities of Agustine, these Churches are not located in geographical points.

We need to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

Mike Houlihan
2 years 3 months ago

Are these comments moderated? If so, I suggest to the moderator:
Do your job!

Mike Theman
2 years 3 months ago

What do you mean by "moderated?" Usually people use that word when they want the comments that they disagree with deleted, fearing that if those comments are left visible it might actually persuade people to adopt a position that they don't like. We're all adults here; we don't need someone to hide things from us that we might find objectionable or offensive, do we?

Henry Brown
2 years 3 months ago

Fr. Dalely,

Why did you not speak to your Bishop about your self-revelation
before going public ?

Not sure I understand the need to go public in the first place.
As long as you were living a celibate/chaste life - why would anyone
need to know what your sexuality is ?

God loves us, the adding of "unconditionally" is not helpful.

There is only one type of love.

Quiero más Justicia
2 years 3 months ago

I'm so sick of this "it's all about me" culture.
No one should care about your or anyone else's sexual inclinations. It's no one's business but your own.
Why is it that today people expose themselves and expect to be accepted by everyone? Some people will like you, some won't.
And it's fine. Move on, no one is center of the world.

Anthony Noble
2 years 3 months ago

Unfortunately, so much homophobia saturates our society, people need to hear the Good News of God's Love to all His children. There is a saying "Silence = Death". As Catholics, we all need to stand up and profess our Love for God and others. Fr Daley, by professing his own truth as being a gay man may have helped a parent to understand their gay son better and have more compassion for him. A gay man may feel less isolated and can feel closer to God. A gay teen may feel that God can truly Love him and prevent a suicide. Nevertheless, we should never constrain the work of the Holy Spirit by remaining silent in professing God's Love.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 3 months ago

Anthony "Noble" - So many repeated accusations of homophobia? Do you believe that the Bible and Catechism as written are homophobic, and do you think Catholics have to depart from parts of both to avoid this slur? How about Humanae Vitae? I am just wondering given the way you are writing and name calling.

Anthony Noble
2 years 3 months ago

Mr O'Leary, It's ironic that you point out name calling when you attempt to do so to my surname in a most juvenile fashion. Society needs to identify things as they are whether it be racism or homophobia. The Bible doesn't address sexual orientation as such - celibacy was the ideal for all Christians and sex among men was seen as gratuitous. Slavery and the Jewish focus on procreative sex were normative in that era yet I believe that the Bible doesn't promote the degradation of slavery or dismiss the sacramental love of two persons to enter into a unitive bond regardless of potential procreation as is true of a sterile spouse. The Catechism results from humanity understanding the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to make the Church more perfect. Past Catechism included no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, burning witches, the prohibition of laypersons from reading the Bible, and so on. The Catechism acknowledges the reality of the homosexual orientation. It's teaching is in part due to its "tradition". Traditions, like slavery, need to be reevaluated with prayerful openness traditional to the Holy Spirit. God does not create any child with preexisting sin. Since the Catechism acknowledges the existence of an innate homosexual orientation, such individuals cannot be contrary to natural law since they come from God's gift of nature. The idea that they close the sexual act to the gift of life is to add sterile heterosexuals as contrary to natural law and would be banned from matrimony. Gay men and Lesbians have demonstrated abundant genuine affection for each other and enjoy the same elements of unitive sexual complimentarity. The potential for adopting and raising children in the Catholic faith are equal to heterosexual couples. Celibacy is a choice available to every Catholic but assuming that God created an individual who is preordained to celibacy without a choice and any difficulties arising from this situation need to be born as a sacrifice tied to the cross. God does not create sin and God does not limit the freedom of individuals to participate in holiness. Thus, as the Holy Spirit is opening our eyes to the positive and loving fruits born from the LGBT community, the Church needs to align the Catechism to God's Truth just as the Church did with the issue of slavery. As for Humanae Vitae, the bulk of its teaching addresses the dignity of each individual and the Love shared between them that overflows to the Love of the community as a whole. This Love of God within the relationship between the spouses occurs in both gay and straight marriages.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 3 months ago

Ironic indeed, Anthony, since you went after another commentator's name on this thread (here is the quote: "I find it ironic that Mike "The man" brings up the topic of narcissism when his pseudonym tries to inflate his own ego."). In any case, I have just addressed the central flaw in your methodology for overturning Church teaching above, responding to another comment of yours. I hear what you are saying. I just know it is wrong, and you and I know the Church does not believe what you propose. The Church, in its official Catechism, and multiple other documents and statements, directly contradicts your interpretation of the relevant verses of Holy Scripture, as well as your method for the development of doctrine. It would be better if you were honest about that.

Christina Tsuchida
2 years 3 months ago

I wish SIME SKELIN the commenter who proposed not calling Jesus God but "an extraordinary man like ...Obama..." or like famous religious leaders (such as Buddha or Confucius) would reconsider. Among the stories of religion leaders's miraculous births, for example, Jesus' Christmas story stands out: there was a birth without "the will of a male"[Jn 1:13] in the case of Buddha Shakyamuni, but ONLY JESUS IS SAID TO BE BEGOTTEN OF GOD. See please Martin Buber "I and Thou" for a possibly better view of who "God" is.

Mike Theman
2 years 3 months ago

I'm pretty sure he was joking. The rest of the post was clearly sarcasm, and putting Obama in that list seemed to be so, as well.

Christina Tsuchida
2 years 3 months ago

There is another important issue to deal with: the relation of sexual desire with charity. Can a homosexual man love female neighbors as self? A homosexual woman love men as herself?Can a heterosexual man love other men as himself? A heterosexual woman love other women as herself? The answer is not trivial. I think it spells one logic for a celibate ministry.

Robert Lewis
2 years 3 months ago

I think your question is right on the mark, and quite pertinent to this whole discussion, but, if Father Daley's testimony is to be taken at his word, I think his answer is "Yes, a homosexual man CAN love female neighbors" as much as himself. That seems to be what he has trained himself to do.

Michael Burnham
2 years 3 months ago

Thank you Fr. Daley, S.J. for your strength of character and ability to communicate your personal story; one of self-struggle, which can be devastating if not fully realized. My own struggle was very difficult, yet after I came to my life's and my Catholic faith's surface, I felt better able to deal with all my struggles. I merely ask you to kindly and humbly continue your ongoing efforts to be yourself, and continue to practice your ordained calling. I am yours in Christ, and I truly thank you.

Richard Booth
2 years 3 months ago

While I agree that publicly "coming out" is an identity issue that begs for more information about motivation, the conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia/ephebophilia is a too common error that must be corrected in the minds of the many. So, too, is the notion that we can love only one gender if we are gay but both genders if we are straight. Finally, when will people be willing and able to admit the difference between being and doing? "Being" (i.e., who one is) impulses do not equal behaving according to those impulses. In fine, I would argue that most clerics have no idea about the complexity of these issues or how to understand and deal with them. So, how do they rate becoming teachers about them?

Michael Cardinale
2 years 3 months ago

Father Daley wrote "...a number of church leaders began scapegoating gay priests as the cause of the crisis. I knew this was not true." Certainly, this was not the whole cause of the crisis (maybe not even the major cause of the crisis), but as nearly as I can tell, over 75% of the verified accusations of priestly abuse were of homosexual pederasts. One cannot brush that off by simply saying something is not true. Given the statistic, as a spiritual director of a seminarian (or other religious postulant) who says he is homosexual (i.e. same-sex attracted), I think I would counsel him more about his calling to the vocation for his good, the good of the priesthood/religious calling, and the good of the Church.

Robert Lewis
2 years 3 months ago

Do you not understand that, in the cases of the very priests you are talking about, it's the lying and the dissimulating of living in the closet that is the chief cause of stumbling into pederasty? The very fact that the seminarian would "out" himself to his spiritual director MIGHT indicate that he would tell his parishioners so much more about himself, and thereby remove "the occasion of sin," by formally asking them to help him to remain true to his vows? It's the SECRECY which is the root cause of the abuses, and living an honest life is the preventive.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 3 months ago

Robert - what a novel defense of priestly pedophilia - the closet-made-me-do-it defense. As to your comical phrase, "stumbling into pederasty" - you're on a downward spin today. Since 99.99% of convicted pedophiles are not priests, and with the widespread approval of homosexual sex in the secular culture, why hasn't pederasty and pedophilia disappeared?

Robert Lewis
2 years 3 months ago

Actually, I think it is disappearing, among the younger generations of same-sex-attracted folks. Pederasty and pedophilia are, like almost all forms of child abuse and woman-abuse, just as much about coercion and abuse of power as anything else, and when it is no longer necessary to exert a power dynamic to achieve one's desire--when, just as you say, there is "widespread approval of homosexual sex"--which encourages "out of the closet" behavior--then I predict, based on what I am able to observe, that there WILL be much less pederasty and pedophilia, and a lot more equality in such relationships. Also, once again, you "disinform" and and willfully misconstrue what is said, because I NEVER have defended priestly pedophilia. In saying that I have, you slandered me; your homophobia is now taking you onto dangerous ground. I will be another commentator here to call for the moderators.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 3 months ago

Robert - by your last comment it appears you are calling for a 'safe space' for your weird theories, when it is you who needs to clean up your language. There is an epidemic of sex trafficking in the world today, and only you think it is getting better.

Anthony Noble
2 years 3 months ago

Just for clarity, a healthy sexual orientation, either heterosexual or homosexual, means an emotional and romantic attraction to another adult. Pedophilia and pederastry, which is the same thing, is a mental illness that either straight or gay men as well as women are inflicted with. People are not born with this mental illness. When pedophiles, mostly straight men attacking young girls, commit these crimes, it is pure evil. Any sexual assault on an adult, such as rape and sexual harassment, usually but not limited to straight men against women, is about the abuse of power. This abuse of power often comes from anger, feeling of inadequacy, dehumanizing others and is not a mental illness but a willful act of evil.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 3 months ago

Anthony - you call pedophilia both a mental illness and a pure evil. Since a mental illness is certainly not in one's control, then I take it you are saying the pedophile is a victim of their illness and not subjectively responsible for their urges. It is only if they willfully engage in their urges or act on them does evil occur. Their urges remain intrinsically disordered, because they are directed against the natural, or the good.

I still do not know why Robert raised the issue of boys in his piece on Manley Hopkins, if he didn't intend to raise pedophilia in the discussion. Maybe, he doesn't know why he did so himself.

Robert Lewis
2 years 3 months ago

Once again, you equivocate, you obfuscate, you prevaricate. You know full well that I merely said that Hopkins was tempted by "same-sex-attraction," and that I never said that he was a pedophile. I think you should examine your conscience and ask yourself if you're even capable of being objective on this subject, in a spirit of truth--or whether your latent homophobia enmeshes you in LIES!

Tim O'Leary
2 years 3 months ago

Robert - here is your exact quote (in a comment above, present for >5 days, although it may get edited later): "Hopkins writes again and again in his confessional journals about being attracted to boys and young men." If someone said a priest "wrote again and again in his confessional journals about being attracted to girls and young women," I think the common interpretation would be that he had a problem with underage sexual attraction. You, who proudly use the homophobe slur so often, wrote this. I would say you are prevaricating but I am not sure you know what you were doing. Perhaps, it is why you are so ACCUSATORY?

Robert Lewis
2 years 3 months ago

"Attracted" does not mean ACTING on any kind of temptation actually to BE a "pedophile." The wonderful thing about Hopkins is that he did not hide this from himself, but was completely honest with himself over it, and, presumably honest with his confessor. There is no "problem" with such a truthful and self-aware priest, who is "out" with his fellow religious.

Anthony Noble
2 years 3 months ago

Mr O'Leary, infants are not born with mental illnesses, they are acquired over time from multifaceted variables. The desire to sexually abuse children is morally evil whether acted upon or not. Now, an individual may have become a pedophile in part due to his or her own experience of sexual abuse and is therefore a victim but pedophiles are ultimately always in control of their actions. The only class of mental illness that a sufferer may have impaired control over their actions is untreated psychosis and even then the sufferer often still has control of their actions. A pedophile, as a sole diagnosis, is always in control of their actions.

Anthony Noble
2 years 3 months ago

Mr O'Leary, infants are not born with mental illnesses, they are acquired over time from multifaceted variables. The desire to sexually abuse children is morally evil whether acted upon or not. Now, an individual may have become a pedophile in part due to his or her own experience of sexual abuse and is therefore a victim but pedophiles are ultimately always in control of their actions. The only class of mental illness that a sufferer may have impaired control over their actions is untreated psychosis and even then the sufferer often still has control of their actions. A pedophile, as a sole diagnosis, is always in control of their actions.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 3 months ago

Anthony - pedophilia describes a sexual orientation to boys and/or girls, not action. I agree with you, and not Robert, that the desire is morally disordered in itself (intrinsically disordered, to use the Catechism term), and it is possibly mentally disordered as well. I agree with Robert and not you that no evil is done if the temptations are resisted. You are correct that one only loses control of one's faculties at the psychotic level (vs. the neurotic level), but lesser mental deficiencies can reduce subjective culpability. The fundamental principle the Church teaches on this is that, even though the variety of sexual temptations is myriad, they can be resisted, and that moral sexual expression is only legitimate between a married man and a married women, This has been the teaching since well before the time of Jesus and has never changed, and cannot change.

Robert Lewis
2 years 3 months ago

I don't know what kind of history you have been schooled in, Mr. O'Leary, but even the most "conservative" of Church historians will agree that Jesus Christ made RADICAL innovations in the religious teachings of His own and others' traditions. For instance, polygamy was legitimately practised by the Jews of the Old Testament, and Moses allowed divorce. I think it's about time that you "conservatives" on this issue grappled with the fact that neither Christ nor His followers among the disciples particularly valued the union of a "married man and a married woman," that they proposed celibacy as the most valuable way of dealing with human sexuality, and that they thought--as Pope Francis has suggested, when he put forward the thought that most modern marriages were "invalid"--that "marriage" between a man and a woman was more a commitment to an indissoluble spiritual vocation than a "respectable" sexual arrangement. THAT it seems to me--and seems to mean what Pope Francis had in mind, when he made that statement--is what "marriage" probably was in the mind of Jesus--and not the "remedy" for concupiscence that you, most moderns and Martin Luther seem to think it is. Entered into outside of that mentality, it seems to me that what passes as "traditional, Christian marriage" in this modern generation is no kind of "marriage" at all, whether it's formalized in a Catholic church or not. It's merely a "civil union," such as that practised by the Protestants, and such as that proposed by Mosaic Law.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 3 months ago

Robert - Once again, you are all over the place. Jesus said: “Haven’t you read...that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Mt 19:4-9).

1. "From the beginning" indicates the original intent of marriage was the one Jesus was bringing us back to. He was being radically conservative, restoring the original intent of the Father! And in no way denigrating marriage but lifting it up.
2. "Male and female" and "a man will...be united to his wife" indicates marriage in God's plan was from the beginning between one man and one women. To increase and multiply. Note, this "from the beginning" was before sacramental marriage. It was the design of natural marriage.
3. "Become one flesh," "let no one separate" and "commits adultery" clearly means indissolubility. It is what the Church teaches. It is what the Catechism teaches. This is not about conservative and liberal interpretations. It is about Scriptural and non-Scriptural interpretations. The first follow Jesus and the second, who Jesus describes as the hard-hearted, depart from Jesus, and his Church. Hardness of heart is the opposite of mercy and love.

J Jones
2 years 3 months ago

The suggestion a priest's ability to "be neighbor" is dependent on the orientation of the priest and the gender of "the neighbor" is mindboggling. And sad. The Catholic Church has created a lot of confusion that has led to a lot of fear.

Jennifer Reid
2 years 3 months ago

I have slogged through these comments, and I'm frankly flummoxed by the level of vitriol in many of them. Father Fred has shown nothing but love and compassion in both the journey he recounts and his actions. That is quite unlike many of those speaking here, who appear to have decided it's time to make God's job their own, and stand in judgment of their fellow human beings. One can only pray that when they aren't writing comments, they are living their lives with the kind of exemplary Christian kindness and generosity that Father Daley is.

Robert Lewis
2 years 3 months ago

I agree with you 100%!

Nora Bolcon
2 years 3 months ago

I hear you Jennifer - some seriously shocking nasty comments on this article. This man is simply being honest about who he is which does help people. One of the priests I go to most often for confession, I go to because he is gay. He is celibate but gay and he has owned that to me as a friend. Knowing this helps me to go to him with certain sexual sins that are harder bring up to a likely heterosexual priest. I worry or wonder sometimes does the strait priest think you are trying to turn him on when you bring up sexual sins. I don't have to worry about those thoughts when I go to confession with this wonderful and very loving priest who has helped me often. Also due to his own situation he tries to study up on human sexuality more and this also helps him become a better counselor to both strait and LGBT people in his parish.

Richard Booth
2 years 3 months ago

If he is your friend, why are you confessing to him? Can he be objective? Are there no boundaries regarding these matters?

Dolores Pap
2 years 3 months ago

And that vitriol towards others, in a nutshell, is why younger people no longer find the church appealing. They are turned off by ugly self righteous attacks on people who have done them no harm, and many, including my own adult children have friends living with their gay partners. Do they really think that they would countenance such attacks on them? I hardly believe that..

Carol Cox
2 years 3 months ago

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others”
― L. Frank Baum
That closes this case for me!

Christopher Lochner
2 years 3 months ago

Or, in the modern world, how many upvotes or how many likes on FB. I wonder if Jesus would say that love is a popularity contest.

Richard Booth
2 years 3 months ago

Isn't it our job to love rather than to be loved?

LuAnn O'Connell
2 years 3 months ago

I don't understand the unkind remarks here. The Catechism states, "The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition." (2358), so there is no reason not to accept this man as a priest. People also presume to judge his motives for coming out, which they can't know. When leaders are honest and vulnerable about their struggles, they encourage the rest of us who struggle, so his coming out makes sense.

Mike Theman
2 years 3 months ago

Luann the Catechism also states that homosexual acts are sinful. And as Catholics, we all know that having sin in our heart is as sinful as committing the sinful act. The priest in this article "came out" as "gay." That means he not only has same-sex attraction- which is what the Catechism refers to as "homosexual tendencies" and are not sinful - but it also means that he does not reject the same-sex sex acts; indeed, he approves of them! So, what motive can one have for "coming out," except to proclaim to people that it's ok to commit same-sex acts and not atone for them and to give permission to engage in such acts to others with same-sex attraction.

Robert Lewis
2 years 3 months ago

WHERE did he say that he "approves" of them? He obviously doesn't "approve" of those "acts" for himself, if he refrains from them, and I don't see where he gives "permission," either. You are making things up, and that is calumny!

Mike Theman
2 years 3 months ago

Robert, I know of no man who calls himself "gay" but objects to same-sex sex acts. If you label yourself as "gay," as opposed to "same-sex attracted," that label means not only that you have the attraction, but that you approve of the acts associated with that attraction. Sin begins with the heart and the mind even before the act is committed.

If he said he had "same-sex attraction," that's different. One can have same-sex attraction but not approve of same-sex sex acts for himself or for others. When a priest labels himself as "gay" and take a vow of chastity, he is essentially saying that but for his vow, he would engage in same-sex sex acts.

Christopher Lochner
2 years 3 months ago

I believe there should be much more concern for Fred Daley and his love of self than the "gay" issue. He mentions or refers to himself at least one hundred times in this article!! How can someone so clearly focused on himself (and the newspaper page number on which he appears even) relate to anyone else? It's reasonable to ask whether his calling was to serve or to be served and applauded. This certainly is not in the Jesuit tradition. I wonder if those who are considering a calling note his lack of humility under cloak of bravery and want no part of it. I've known far too many former priests who were much more interested in their own glory than not. The young and discerning are not stupid. Perhaps this is why so many are leaving organized religion since it's not about those in the pews as much as Father on the altar and his personal cause ( and Jesus if it serves a purpose). A primadonna is NOT someone to be celebrated even if it is our modern view of secular sainthood.

Anthony Noble
2 years 3 months ago

I believe that Mr Lochner is missing an important point. As Catholics, we all need to stand up and profess our Love for God and others. Ask St Paul! Fr Daley, by professing his own truth as being a gay man may have helped a parent to understand their gay son better and have more compassion for him. A gay man may feel less isolated and can feel closer to God. A gay teen may feel that God can truly Love him and prevent a suicide. God works in ways that we mere humans may never understand. Nevertheless, we should never constrain the work of the Holy Spirit by remaining silent in professing God's Love.

Mike Theman
2 years 3 months ago

James Martin, the Jesuit priest who promotes homosexuality but has not come out as a homosexual (yet), writes most articles about himself, as well. I think it's a common characteristic of men who have homosexual attraction to be narcissistic. And we know that there are lots of narcissistic Jesuits, as well as homosexual Jesuits. I've heard that there is a high percentage of homosexual Jesuits, suggesting that it is nearly a requirement for entry.

Robert Lewis
2 years 3 months ago

So many vicious calumnies, almost everywhere on this thread! It clarifies for me that, although the Catholic Church may not teach that same-sex-attraction is sinful, a majority of Americans raised Catholic have been steeped in homophobia, and that the Church must DO something to counter this hatred.

Anthony Noble
2 years 3 months ago

I find it ironic that Mike "The man" brings up the topic of narcissism when his pseudonym tries to inflate his own ego. He has a fierce fixation on homosexuality and he may need to reflect on that. Each sentence that includes the word "homosexual" is homophobic nonsense. I doubt Fr Martin is gay, though there is nothing wrong if he is. He is a treasure in the Catholic Church and through his many books, articles, and discussions on such a wide variety of topics Fr Martin has enriched people's relationship with God, brought some Catholics back to the Church, and I know a handful of persons that became Catholics due to him kindling a spark that led them to further learn more about the Church. Well Mike "The man ", I suggest that you reread your own comments and reflect with prayer if your words conform with God's Love.

Anthony Noble
2 years 3 months ago

LuAnn,
What a good person and virtuous Catholic you are. You show God's Love and compassion in your words. I'd just like to add some food for thought. God is Love and all Love originates from God and flows through His willing believers. Heterosexual love as well as homosexual love both originate from God so that neither love can be objectively disordered since God's Love cannot be objectively disordered. Perhaps the human, not God, who wrote this thing about homosexuality being disordered relied on his own misconceptions rather than the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as has happened when past humans taught in the name of the Church that slavery was alright, laypeople reading the Bible was sinful, heretics needed to be killed, and democracy was wrong. We may be at a moment when the Holy Spirit is inspiring the Church to recognize the Love amidst the LGBT community.

Anthony Noble
2 years 3 months ago

Thank you Fr. Daley for announcing your truth. It’s so important that God loving people like you come out to show other gay people and the Church in general that God’s Love dwells within the LGBT community in abundance. The fact that your congregation, who knows you the best, gave you a standing ovation says all that is needed to prove what a loving treasure you are to your parish. And you received an award for ministering to the poor demonstrates how you have opened yourself up as an instrument of God’s Love to others. Many of the unfortunate and uninformed negative comments come from people who either don’t know gay people, don’t know Catholic Church history, and /or don’t know Biblical exegesis very well. And honestly, some of the negative comments are simply from haters who are not demonstrating any Christian virtue. To concisely outline what would entail a book: anything written in the OT needs to be viewed through the lens of the NT, such as eating pork, polygamy, stoning adulterers, and so on. The NT is not as anti-gay as it seems at first glance, any sex at all was as less than ideal - Jesus lauded men who could become eunuchs for the sake of God’s kingdom and even taught that there is no marriage in heaven. When read in the original Greek, it’s obvious that Jesus Jesus cured the Centurion’ lover/slave. Paul, a celibate, advocated celibacy for all Christians and conceded marriage for those of weak of flesh to prevent fornication. Man with man sex was seen as gratuitous. A gay sexual orientation was unknown just as slavery was accepted as a normal part of life. Throughout Catholic history, the Church has erred in some teachings: no salvation outside the Church, forced conversion, burning witches, killing “heretics”, castration of boys to sing in the papal choir, condemning democracy, maintaining the that slavery was an accepted part of life. Nonetheless, the Church is dynamic and alive with the Holy Spirit inspiring us anew with deeper understandings of God's manifestation of Love. Just as the Church now understands that slavery rejects Love, the Church needs to understand God's Love among the LGBT community. Jesus proclaimed we must judge a tree by the fruits it bears. Anyone who knows a handful of gays, recognizes the truly godly actions and wholehearted love that the LGBT community shares with the world. Married gay men and Lesbians bring up some amazing, wonderful children. When Catholics encounter these loving LGBT individuals, they question and reject the institutional teaching that gays are intrinsically evil just as earlier generations of Catholics rejected the Catholic teaching that slavery is a normative part of God's plan on Earth. Young Catholics who grew up witnessing the truth that the LGBT community is part of God's loving family, are leaving the Church because they don't tolerate unfounded discrimination. As a devout Catholic, I pray the Church prayerfully reflect on the truth that the Holy Spirit is showing us right in our midst. An honest look at the NT, Jesus' teachings on Love, the deep flaws in Ratzinger's proclamation on homosexuality, and a clear eyed view on the truth on the ground will bring God's kingdom on Earth closer to fruition just as the Church accomplished on the issue of slavery. To avoid gay fornication, we need to embrace gay men and Lesbians in the Holy Sacrament of matrimony and support those raising their children in the Catholic Church.

Advertisement
More: LGBT

The latest from america

People visit Hagia Sophia in Istanbul June 30, 2020. (CNS photo/Murad Sezer, Reuters)
Pope Francis' brief words at the Sunday Angelus are the Vatican's first public response to the Turkish president's move to turn Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.
Gerard O’ConnellJuly 12, 2020
Catholic Charities staff and volunteers in the Archdiocese of Washington distribute 500 grocery boxes and 500 family meals in the parking lot of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception July 10, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
U.S. bishops: “The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to protect the jobs of Americans from all walks of life, regardless of whether they work for for-profit or non-profit employers, faith-based or secular.”
Kevin ClarkeJuly 10, 2020
From Meatless Mondays to Black Lives Matter, old Christian truths take hold in a world that seems to have left religion behind.
André M. PeñalverJuly 10, 2020
The Unesco World Heritage site in Istanbul, founded as a Christian church in the 6th century, transformed into a mosque in the 15th century and then into a museum in 1934, will reopen as a mosque on July 24 with Friday prayers.
Gerard O’ConnellJuly 10, 2020