Sunday, January 19, 2014

Father Robert Nugent: A Eulogy by Theologian Mary Hunt

It was right after National Catholic Reporter published a eulogy of Father Robert Nugent of New Ways Ministry by Kevin Eckstrom that the comments threads at the NCR site blew up. I noted one reader's astonishingly unChristian response ("food for worms") to the eulogy here on the weekend in which things came to a head at the NCR site. Comments threads were then suspended as the next week began.

Given this history, I'd like to take note of an important eulogy of Father Nugent published this past weekend at the NCR site. It's by Catholic theologian Mary Hunt, who knew Bob Nugent personally. Here's Mary Hunt's powerful conclusion to her eulogy:

History will record that Bob Nugent, with his longtime colleague Jeannine Gramick, co-founded New Ways Ministry that continues to push the Roman Catholic Church toward equality and justice for same-sex loving people. It will also show that he was silenced with some other distinguished theologians, and for reasons known only to God, accepted the sanctions of an institution mired in its own homohatred. But let the record also show that he was a priest who ministered with people that others despised. In so doing, he gave the Roman Catholic Church a better name than it sometimes deserved.

To which I say a hearty Amen.

The video: the Alfred Deller Consort singing the traditional funeral hymn of Latin-rite Catholics, "In Paradisum."

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