Sunday, December 8, 2013

One Hand, Other Hand: Another Firing of Catholic Gay Teacher, Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis Releases Names of Credibly Accused Priests

As anyone reading this blog for some time now may have realized, I tend to read the news with a pair of rabbinic spectacles on: I like to juxtapose news stories that make me think about this hand and that hand. On the one hand, it appears this way. But on the other hand, there's this perspective.

Here are two one hand, other hand articles that catch my eye this morning:

At the New Ways Ministry blog Bondings 2.0, Francis DeBernardo reports that yet another teacher in a Catholic school has just been fired for choosing to marry his same-sex partner. This time, the story is taking place in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, where Michael Griffin was informed by Holy Ghost Catholic Prep School that he'd been fired after he obtained a license to marry Vincent Giannetto.

Another week, another Catholic school firing a gay teacher. Frank DeBernardo's posting ends with a list of those fired by Catholic schools in the past two years, several of whom are new names for me.

People--gay people--are seeking to find ways to live in honest, committed, loving, stable relationships, and the Catholic church is doing all in its power to prevent that from happening. The implicit message the Catholic hierarchy keeps giving to those who are gay is that it would be preferable for us to lie about who we are, to remain hidden, to be ashamed of ourselves, to avoid forming honest, committed, loving, and stable relationships, because these make our identities known.

Better to engage in furtive, dangerous one-night stands than to live honestly, openly, in committed, publicly acknowledged relationships . . . .

And then there's the other hand: for Minnesota Public Radio, Madeleine Baran reports on the list of priests with credible accusations against them for having abused minors that the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has just released under duress. The list shows that the archdiocese has for years kept secret at least seven names of priests it has credible reason to know to have abused minors. And though archdiocesan officials have said most priests on its list of credibly accused priests are dead, the current list of 34 priests includes only 11 who have died.

Here's something that leaps out at me as I read Madeleine Baran's report: this is abuse survivor Jim Keenan sharing his reason for being happy that the archdiocese has now been forced to release a comprehensive list of names of priests abusing minors: 

It's so critical because it pops a hole in their balloon that they have the right to hide and harbor pedophiles. It says to the world this is what they were doing.

So, on the one hand, on the other hand: on the one hand, Catholic officials continue to claim the moral authority to define gay people as disordered and as immoral, when they express their human nature by forming loving and committed relationships. Gay people living in such relationships are evil and demand exorcism. 

Good Catholics should fork over millions of dollars to snatch rights from those evil, demon-possessed gay folks. They should recite prayers when they go to Mass on Sunday, calling for the defeat of legislation or referenda designed to give the right of civil marriage to those evil, demon-possessed gay folks. They should attend Fortnight for Freedom rallies calling for the downfall of governments seeking to recognize the human rights of LGBT human beings.

On the other hand, St. Paul-Minneapolis. Archbishop John Nienstedt. And one bishop after another who has informed the public that he is sheltering no priests known to have abused minors, but turns out to have lied, and to have sheltered priests posting a danger to children.

And these are the people condemning the first group of people as evil and immoral?

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