Doug Mainwaring

Pope Francis with Cardinal McCarrick
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Chaste same-sex-attracted Catholics on McCarrick scandal: Priests and prelates can do better

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August 8, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Chaste, formerly gay Catholic men who live with same-sex attraction (SSA) have expressed bitter disappointment and anger concerning former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and his priest and prelate enablers.  

Few are in a position to judge the actions and inactions of the disgraced McCarrick and others who comprise the gay networks within the Catholic priesthood as are the lay men who day in and day out strive to live holy lives despite their SSA.

These lay men and women – some of whom are single and celibate, and others are married and chaste – are heroes; while some wearing Roman collars have turned out to be villians.

‘I hope he truly understands the enormity of his sins’

“Assuming the accusations and allegations are true, the McCarrick scandal has hit me hard and seriously eroded my confidence in our bishops — and the rest of the clergy, for that matter,” said Thomas Berryman, a chaste same-sex attracted Catholic living in the Midwest. “His behavior, while reprehensible, is less shocking than that of his fellow priests, who enabled him, either passively, by ignoring his behavior, or actively, by covering up for him.”

“While I am angered at our bishops’ screwed up priorities, I genuinely feel sorry for Theodore McCarrick himself,” said Berryman. “By all accounts, he didn’t have an easy childhood. His father died when he was three and without a shred of evidence to substantiate this, I strongly suspect that he himself was sexually abused as a child.”

Berryman continued:

His story is that of a man who squandered what were apparently some formidable talents. Instead of using these talents to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, he chose to abuse his position and betray those who he should have been protecting. He could have been a source of strength and inspiration to those of us with same-sex attraction who strive for the Christian commandment of chastity through celibacy. He is genial, kind, articulate, extremely intelligent, and seems to be a natural leader. In a world lost in sexual anarchy, he could have been a strong voice for helping so many same-sex attracted men and women lead chaste lives. Instead, he chose a path marked by moral perversion and a lust for worldly power.

I cannot help but wonder what his thoughts and feelings are at this point. I hope and pray that he truly understands the enormity of his sins and has repented. However, I fear that he is in a state of deep denial and sees himself as a victim of an unfair persecution. To borrow a line from Pope Pius XIII (Lenny Bernardo) in the HBO series, The Young Pope, “his disease has deceived him.” I also hope that, if he does repent, he chooses, as part of his penance, to name names. Tell the world who he victimized and who protected him. He can do it for the right reasons, which I would prefer, or he can do it out of sheer spite, i.e., those who protected him just threw him under the bus. Either way, it would be the right thing to do and, at this point, the only good thing he can do. There would be a certain poetic justice in him doing the right thing by identifying those who did the wrong thing, i.e., ignored and covered up his behavior. I'm not sure anyone is in a better position to crash the entire network.

‘Would like to see bishops themselves seeking holiness’

“I would like to see the bishops call all of us to lives of holiness, to encounter Jesus, and to seek more deeply his life and love in our lives,” said Dan, who preferred his last name not be used. “Encountering Christ changes our lives and makes it possible to do what we think we can't do. It makes it possible for us to do seek holiness because Jesus truly brings us happiness and joy. Isn't that what we want?”

“As a man with same-sex attraction, I have been attracted to to men since I became aware of sexual urges,” continued Dan. “At times I engaged in this with men. Even so, I wanted to be married and have a family. Eventually I married and have several children. Family life has brought me happiness – and struggle! – and it has brought happiness – and struggle! – to my wife and children. I've sought to be chaste and faithful to marriage, but at times failed. But I know that God's work in us is not yet complete. So I repent, go to confession, and move on. My identity is as a husband and father, not as a gay man.”  

Dan says the problem he sees with some bishops and priests is that “they take same-sex attraction as a given to be accepted, even embraced. Having had homosexual sex, I can't believe that when Jesus calls us to holiness that includes this. Homosexuality is complex, as Dr. Jeffrey Satinover writes in his book Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth. It is not simply a question of a ‘gay gene’ or of’"God made me this way,’ which many have accepted as reality.”   

“I don't think Jesus is saying about same-sex relationships to embrace it and ‘run with it,’” says Dan with a chuckle. No. Jesus “calls us to turn to him and rely on grace to seek and grow in holiness. It can be done.

“Sure, people fail. I have. But I have also come to know that Jesus is calling me into a relationship of life and love with him, and to reflect this to those around me. God is gathering a people to himself for a perfect offering to his name. I want to be part of that ingathering and let grace transform me. Living according to the teaching of Jesus as taught by the Church is the path to this. I would like to see bishops and priests teach this.”

Many Catholic bishops have been unapproachable, unteachable, unrepentant

Former gay porn star, Joseph Sciambra, now a Catholic evangelist who reaches out to the San Francisco gay community, has through the years expressed the difficulty he has encountered in breaking through to bishops who refuse to deal with the Catholic Church’s burgeoning infiltration of homosexuality, even within the priesthood.

“Speaking from experience – if you are ‘gay’ and want to b**ch about the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) – a number of archbishops will literally trip over each other to listen, nod their head, and stroke you,” said Sciambra in a recent Facebook posting. “If you are a faithful chaste Catholic with same-sex attraction, they run the other way.”

Sciambra added:

Over the years, I have spoken with several archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. I never approached them with a bad attitude. I say ‘Your Excellency,’ thank you, please … When I ask them to do something (the operative phrase is – ‘do something’) about the dissident LGBT ministries operating openly within their dioceses, they shut down.

They get a glazed look on their face, walk away, and/or become defensive and rude. I usually say, ‘I am on your side.’ I always follow up with emails, snail-mail letters, phone calls, and even personal visits to the chancery. Nothing. I don’t do this anymore. A waste of a stamp and a tank of gas to track these guys down – forget trying to arrange a personal meeting.

Over the last 10 years, I have spoken a handful of times at a Catholic venue – more speaking opportunities were quashed or canceled than actually took place: normally priests do not need their bishop’s approval for speakers at their own parish, but this priest said he needed approval from the chancery for me – he didn’t get it; one priest booked me to speak, got the letter of good standing from my pastor, all was set, but a week before the scheduled talk, the chancery canceled it; one priest invited me to speak at his parish, but the gay Catholic parishioners made threats – it was canceled. But they provide every pro-gay marriage dissident a forum – perfect example, the LA REC. There are certainly good priests – but on this issue, they largely do not get the support from their bishops.

Many of those LifeSiteNews reached out to for comment, including members of the Courage Apostolate, were hesitant to speak out publicly about this.  

A note from this LifeSiteNews journalist

I, too, am a man who lives with same-sex attraction. I knew about disgraced former Cardinal McCarrick in the early 2000s not through the whisperings of people in the pews because at the time I had walked away from my Catholic faith after divorcing my wife to live as a gay man.  

I knew because many men I met in gay bars would mock the then-archbishop of Washington, D.C., as a “queen.” They knew. They all new. McCarrick was a living legend in Dupont Circle, a source of great amusement that fed the contempt of many for the Roman Catholic Church.  

Because of McCarrick’s renown in Washington’s gay world, after I returned to sanity, to  my marriage, and to full communion with the Catholic Church several years ago, I found it difficult to reach out and evangelize gay friends I sought to evangelize. McCarrick’s history – on top of the widely publicized priest pedophile scandal – served to inoculate gay men against evangelism. Catholics were dismissed as hypocrites.

While every single cardinal and bishop who has been asked about the McCarrick affair has denied any knowledge of it, their denials, whether truthful or obfuscatory, are exceedingly sad. If they are lying to protect themselves, they are complicit. If they are telling the truth and had no knowledge, no clue, then they are revealing the very sad state of brotherhood among our American prelates.

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Doug Mainwaring

Doug Mainwaring is a journalist for LifeSiteNews, an author, and a marriage, family and children's rights activist.  He has testified before the United States Congress and state legislative bodies, originated and co-authored amicus briefs for the United States Supreme Court, and has been a guest on numerous TV and radio programs.  Doug and his family live in the Washington, DC suburbs.