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Gay Catholics Applaud Jesuit Journal for Article by Supportive Bishop

September 23, 2002 —"Father Baker’s attack on gay priests and seminarians is flawed theology and grossly outdated psychology." That is the reaction from leaders of DignityUSA, the organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, to an article published in the Sept 30th edition of the Jesuit magazine America.

"This latest attack on gay men called by God to Catholic priesthood is vicious and entirely irresponsible. This man has no business being part of a Vatican office," said Patrick McArron, DignityUSA President, in reference to Rev. Andrew R. Baker, a staff member of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops. "He uses long disproved psychological theories in support of the worst myths about gay people. He creates a syndrome to make us sound sick and twisted. In fact, he dehumanizes us, and implies that we are mistakes of creation."

McArron went on to refute Baker’s arguments against ordaining men who may be gay. "There is no indication that gay seminarians are more prone to psychological problems or addictions than their non-gay counterparts, contrary to what Baker says. There is also no evidence that gay priests are more likely to disagree with Church teachings, be sexually active, or have problems with celibacy."

DignityUSA expressed concern that the publication of this paper is further indication that the upcoming Vatican visits to US seminaries will lead to a "witch hunt" against gay candidates for the priesthood. In addition, they expressed sadness for the impact the continuing antigay statements from Catholic officials, in the US and Rome, have on the ministry and morale of gay priests, religious and lay people.

"Once again, we have a man in a powerful Vatican role scapegoating gay priests for the Catholic Church’s current problems," said Marianne Duddy, Executive Director of DignityUSA. "These claims are the most hateful so far in a long barrage of attacks on gay priests since the sexual abuse scandal erupted this year."

DignityUSA went on to praise the Jesuit weekly magazine America for including an article by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit entitled, "Yes, Gay Men Should Be Ordained" as a counterpoint to Rev. Baker’s piece. Bishop Gumbleton is well known as a leading Catholic advocate for social justice, well-respected for his leadership on peace and human rights issues. They called Gumbleton’s article "courageous" and "insightful."

"By running both columns, America presents the polar positions in this debate for Catholics to consider. The vast majority of Catholics will find that their experience with priests, their understanding of Catholic teaching, and their common sense validate the position so eloquently articulated by Bishop Gumbleton."

McArron concluded by saying, "DignityUSA calls on the Pope, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and all Catholics to renounce Father Baker’s mean-spirited and insupportable position. Further, we demand that they put an immediate end to the flow of unchristian vitriol against gay priests, and by extension, all gay and lesbian Catholics and our families."

DignityUSA is the nation’s oldest and foremost organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, their families, friends and supporters. Founded in 1969, it is a nonprofit organization with members and Chapters throughout the US.