No gays, says bishop; they’re okay, says priest

No gays, says bishop; they’re okay, says priest

Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was in his old stomping grounds in Boston over the weekend, creating a bit of controversy by publicly stating that men with a homosexual orientation should not be ordained.

‘‘We must be very careful of who we accept in the seminary and who we ordain as priests,” D’Arcy told parishioners at Our Lady of the Presentation Church, the Brighton parish in which he grew up. ‘‘It’s time to ordain men of quality, not to just look for numbers.”

He said good priests are men who would be good husbands and good fathers, modeling behavior that is implicit in the conceptof fatherhood, including the spiritual fatherhood of the priesthood. It is a belief that says that homosexual men, by the very orientation they embody whether they are chaste or not, cannot be such role models. I know that there has been much debate over this topic, and Bishop D’Arcy’s comments won’t settle it, but I find it interesting he says this.

  • This past winter I saw Bishop D’Arcy on EWTN’s ‘World Over’ along with Fr. Neuhaus, G. Weigel, Archbishops Burke and Dolan. Bishop D’Arcy was delightful… plain spoken, thoughtful, solid and no bs. Wish we had more like him – says what he means and means what he says. No guessing. Even Abshp Dolan was wishy washy on homosexually oriented seminarian candidates.

  • Fr. John Harvey, OSFS of Courage, critiquing an article in America magazine, offers an argument which is at odds with Bishop D’Arcy’s position (his article is not a response to anything Bishop D’Arcy has said).  I tend to agree with Fr. Harvey, although I can see Bishop D’Arcy’s side also.  It’s a tough issue to sort out, and I’ve seen much speculation offered as to the possibility of the Vatican issuing a document on the subject.  Wonder if any such document will ever be issued.


  • Boy that Father Coyne seems like a pretty bright guy… Oh wait, I’m one of “those” aren’t I? 

    For the record, I do agree with you that there is a difference between disagreeing with a bishop and dissent.  And for the record, you have been mostly consistent on disagreeing with bishops and not advocating dissent.  (Only one case I could quote on the dissent thing since I’ve become addicted to this blogging thing) 

    So could the argument be used that Father Coyne is simply disagreeing with the Bishop?  We got some ammunition for that.  He’s not wrong about the fact that celibacy is the main issue.  And by saying that some would disagree with the Bishop’s opinion doesn’t necessarily implicate himself now does it? 

    But the reality is he is certainly adding fodder for open dissent of the Bishop isn’t he?  And yes he should be taking this up privately. 

    Now in the area of disagreement, I would respectfully disagree with the logic of the Bishop’s conclusions.  First, I have known a whole bunch of phenomenal priests that were gay.  I also know a bunch that were awful.  This whole idea that they are good because their straight is wrong. 

    Also this whole idea that there would be “potential attractions” is flawed.  It infers that heterosexual men could be tempted to come to the “dark side”. 

    How’s that?


  • I haven’t known a single gay priest that was phenomenal. How’s that for a statement?

    And I don’t think the bishop was implying that heterosexual men could be tempted to go gay, but that it creates sexual tension for the homosexual, who may tempted to act out other ways, like going out to gay bars or something. And then what happens when two homosexuals are living in the same parish?

  • First, I have known a whole bunch of phenomenal priests that were gay.

    What do you mean by ‘gay”?  Do you mean, “priests who have a homosexual orientation, are carrying their cross and living chastely, believing and following the Church’s teaching on homosexuality”?  If that is your definition here, then how do you know that they were “gay”?  I’m a little surprised that they would share this information with anyone.


  • I have to say that I agree with Bishop D’Arcy.  His assessment is correct. 

    “‘‘We don’t put these [heterosexual] men in with attractive women,” he (Bishop D’Arcy) said, referring to seminarians. ‘‘You’re putting him in with men. It’s not fair to him, it’s not fair to them, it’s not fair to the church.”“

    That is unabashedly true.  I also don’t see anything disobedient by Father Coyne.  He wasn’t saying anything disobedient.  He wasn’t saying anything that was in dissent from Bishop D’Arcy.

    One could actually argue this point….Was Bishop D’Arcy being disobedient to Archbishop O’Malley by speaking in this manner in a See that is not his own?  Did Bishop D’Arcy have permission to function as a bishop at that Mass? 

    Properly speaking, he must have that.  Properly speaking, in order to act in any official capacity, he must have permission from the Ordinary to do anything.  That is the reason for the celebrit.  And for a bishop; in order to pontificate, wear a mitre, and carry a crozier, he must have explicit permission from the Ordinary.

    (An example.  In 1997, in St. Paul, MN HLI had their international conference.  The opening Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Paul.  There was a visiting bishop from Africa who was invited to celebrate the Mass.  He was not allowed to carry a crozier; per the dictum of Archbishop Flynn.  How do I know that?  I was an emcee for the Mass and I was the one who was the liasion between the Chancery and the bishop.)

    So, the question.  Did Bishop D’Arcy have permission to pontificate?  Did Bishop D’Arcy have permission to preach or speak on this issue?  I would assume that he did.  So I would assume that there is no dissention.


  • “I havent the Church’s teaching and lives a lifestyle which is contrary to his ministry, rather than stand up for the Truth and make the sacrifice of their pastor for a greater good (namely him getting the help he needs and hopefully saving his soul).

    It reminds me of an anecdote I heard (or read – can’t remember).  A priest said that it takes on average about two years to win over a parish.  After that time, he can pretty much do whatever he wants and enough people will support him to drown out or at least sufficiently mitigate any opponents to his agenda.  Judging by several articles that I’ve read, such as the one about the gay priest in California who was suspended, I tend to think that this is true.  Seems that if a priest has been there long enough, folks will still support him even if he is accused of molesting children.  Now on the one hand, this is apropos – they rightly judge him innocent until he is proven guilty.  At the same time, their response becomes disproportionate when they start saying that he “could not be guilty because he was such a good man.”  Their vision is tainted.


  • This makes me skeptical on two counts.

    Sorry, I think I meant to say “cynical”.


  • Bryan

    Be skeptical or cynical if you want.  This man was well loved in his parish and in the entire community.  Also bear in mind the fact that THERE ARE NO ACCUSATIONS towards Greg.  So the comparison to the California priest is unnecessary.  Greg died with a wonderful reputation for being a good and ethical priest.  He was an example to aspire to.  You have no cause or reason to bring up suspended priests as examples. 

    Its my understanding that his public declaration of his orientation was in a within a large meeting of the clergy in our area.  The question was asked if the Church was doing enough for the homosexual members of the congregation.  Greg shared his opinion that the answer was “no” and counted himself among them. 

    Oh and when I say gay… it is in reference to a same sex attraction.  Nothing real ambiguous about it.  Notice I’ve said nothing about knowing actively gay priests.  Big difference. 

    And he wasn’t just a “popular” guy bud.  He upheld Church teachings.  He was respected by the bishops.  He fought against injustice.  In short, he did what God called him to do.  He served as a good and faithful priest. 

  • Mr. Bettinelli,

    “A bishop has the right and duty to carry out the office of the bishop wherever he goes.”

    No, actually, he doesn’t.  He has the right and duty within his own diocese as the Ordinary, but outside his diocese, he must still obtain the proper permissions.  Read the following canons from the CIC.

    Can. 134 ently established apostolic administration.

    Can. 390 The diocesan Bishop may use pontificalia throughout his diocese. He may not do so outside his diocese without the consent of the local Ordinary, either expressly given or at least reasonably presumed.

    He has authority within his own diocese.  However, outside his diocese, he must have the consent of the Ordinary.  This applies to any instance in which he would pontificate. 

    So, “Did Bishop Dyou claim (and I may perhaps have a different definition than you), then he is the exception to the rule. It would be extremely rare to find such a one, especially if you take seriously Bishop D’Arcy’s point that among the duties of the priest is to adequately model “father and husband”. And by definition a gay man cannot model “father and husband” as well as a heterosexual man, all things being equal.

  • Dom

    You are correct that you and I may have different criteria for what makes a phenomenal priest.  Fortunately for me, I have the Archbishop Harry Flynn and the Vicar General who are (without any hesitation) in agreement with me on what the criteria would be.  I have been a personal witness to both lauding praise for Father Greg’s work in ministry. 

    As for Bishop D’Arcy’s point that among the duties of the priest is to adequately model “father and husband”… First, where is he deriving that from because I honestly don’t know. 

    Secondly, I would have to believe that if these duties were held seriously, there would be one that would be of more significance.  That would be the responsibility to model “being a man”.  And on that note, again, I have modeled much after Father Greg.  He was an excellent role model in this regard. 

    And you could not be more correct when you say that Greg was “the exception to the rule” and “extremely rare”.  I couldn’t agree more.  Greg was one in a million.  I genuinely wish we had more priests like him.

    But perhaps, my friend is not as rare as you would like to believe.  You have stated yourself that you don’t think its prudent for a priest to share his sexuality with a layman.  I don’t think you are alone in that position.  I think you speak for the majority.  And if you do, how would any of us know? 

  • Mr. Bettinelli,

    I respectfully disagree with, “A bishop does not need permission to perform his apostolic duties, but he would need permission to exercise pontifical duties, such as ordaining priests and such.”

    He still must obtain permission.  He cannot function unless he is given permission.  Part of celebrating a pontifical Mass, is preaching.  It is a pontifical act and he is bound by Can 390, properly speaking.  It is not reserved to the pontiff alone, but to any bishop.  Most of the time it is presumed, but sometimes it is not.

    Can. 395 //
    2004-07-20 23:37:23
    2004-07-21 03:37:23
    Can’t help the spelling, camster.  Still makes it sound like a game show.

    Come on down!

  • What would you rather have it called then?  Master of Ceremonies is the proper term.  And the traditional shortening of that name is MC or emcee.  Sorry that you don’t like it, but then again the titles aren’t necessarily up to you and me, now are they?

    If this thread is going to continue, I have something more to say about the topic.  It is just a couple of questions.  If Bishop D’Arcy was in Boston to support the fight against closing of Our Lady of the Presentation, what does that have to do with the sexual abuse scandal?  Why would he be preaching on that and not saying something supportive of the parish?  If he did say something supportive of the parish, why was that overshadowed by the sexual abuse statements?

    It would seem that the media, in this case the Boston Globe, bastian of Catholic defense (whatever), is sensationalizing the sexual abuse scandal and not covering the real issue.  Did someone say something about a red herring earlier?

    I am not saying that Bishop D’Arcy’s statements were not important.  I am not saying that they were not right.  But what I am asking is why doesn’t his statements in support of the parish remaining open get press?  I mean, that was the reason that he was there, right?

    Oh yeah, I forgot, “homomolestors” always trump support for parishes….my bad.


  • If D’Arcy was indeed there to fight the parish’s closure (assuming the Globe was right), then that would be the inappropriate action of a bishop in another bishop’s diocese. That’s interference in the running of the diocese, whereas his comments on ordaining gays are meant for the universal Church.

  • I’d rather have it called “layperson who sits his carcass down and behaves himself in Church.”

    Thank God for Bishop D’Arcy and those who agree with him on this topic.  He’s 100% right, according to Rome.  Yes, Bryan, there have been documents from Rome on this very topic.  The wishy washy set doesn’t often quote *those* documents.

  • I have a mental image of slicked back hair, a cigarette and a martini in hand, “Well folks we have a really great Presentation of the Cavalry for you tonite, but please give a warm applause for the band……and now for the host of our show…Faaaaaathhhhher Personality.”