Catholic priesthood


From: Dr. John Rupkey, Ed.D.


Twenty-five years ago this autumn I left the Christian Brothers, moved onto a boathouse in the middle of the Mississippi River, and began writing letters to Winona editors.

When I was 14, I was a freshman at St. George High School in Evanston, Ill. Go Dragons! The teachers were Christian Brothers, several barely a decade older than me. They were friendly, intelligent, and handsome. I liked certain ones especially; they liked me too.

They taught me that because I was gay, I would have to be celibate my entire life, because God considered my feelings of love for other males to be disordered. Some encouraged me to join their celibate brotherhood.

They helped put me in an isolating closet of secrecy, deception, self-rejection, and shame. When I became one of them, I recruited teenagers the same way. Now, 47 years later, I realize this kind of teaching is immoral and self-destructive.

The Catholic priesthood is in a parallel situation. Priests continue to teach the sin of homophobia to gay teenagers, before recruiting them into the celibate priesthood. They cannot discuss this issue openly and freely. They cannot get honest feedback. They cannot learn in this area and grow. The Catholic priesthood as we have known it is self-destructing.

But this isn't the final chapter of the Catholic priesthood - it's the transition to the next chapter. I thank those Catholic parents who are writing this new chapter by refusing to teach self-betrayal to their beautiful gay children.

Thank you for teaching them that Jesus didn't exclude homosexuals when he said, "This is how all will know you are my disciples - by your love for one another." (Gospel of the Young Man Jesus Loved 13:35)

I believe some time in the future you will be rewarded with a more Christlike priesthood. And when your kids are going on 70 years of age (like the writer of this letter), they will recall with love and gratitude that you were among the ones who chose them over the false God of self-hate, worshipped obediently by Catholic priests and bishops.


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