A Salt Lake City priest started a monthly Mass for homosexuals in January but March is the last one. Why? If you read the article in the Salt Lake Tribune, you’d be hard-pressed to figure that out until you get well down into the story. As it’s framed, Msgr. Robert Bussen is the good guy who naively assumed he could minister to persons with homosexual inclinations, as the Church says we should, but was blindsided by bigotry and divisions.
As usual, there’s more to the story if you read between the lines. What you realize is that what people were objecting to was the usual ambiguity and watering-down of the Church’s teaching that often happens in such ministries. The requirements of celibacy and chastity are downplayed, while ongoing relationships are winked at. Just read the article’s lede:
Father Bob, as everyone calls him, knew the Catholic Church had little credibility with gays, given its opposition to same-sex marriage and the tendency of some to blame the priest sex-abuse scandals on homosexuality.
Notice the negative spin. It is the Church that has ground to make up. The way it is written, it is those who support same-sex marriage who have the high ground. And of course, it’s the now-familiar mantra that homosexuality has nothing to do with grown men lusting after and sexually abusing mainly teenage boys, just like Islam has nothing to do with Middle Eastern men flying airplanes into buildings while singing the praises of Allah. It’s just a coincidence.
So it’s no surprise then that the article as a whole lends a sympathetic voice to Bussen’s watering down of the faith and turns him into the martyr, even concluding that he is the author of an anonymous blog by a gay Catholic priest, which he doesn’t confirm or deny. Sure you get “balance” in the form of the parishioner who complained to Bussen’s superiors and another priest who is critical of Bussen’s approach, but it comes across as being in the form of the infamous “need some quote from supporter” gaffe at the New York Times. Yet despite those voices, the viewpoint of the article is clearly in support of Bussen’s apparently heterodox approach to the topic and the mantra that homosexuality is good, celibacy is bad, and the Church’s teachings are especially bad.
Note well, by the way, that the diocesan leaders are fully supporting Bussen and did not tell him to stop his gay Masses.
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