Sunday, 28 March 2010

Times: The Church's attitude to gays

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20100328/letters/the-churchs-attitude-to-gays
Sunday, 28th March 2010 by Joseph Carmel Chetcuti, North Carlton, Victoria, Australia

Joe Borg's admission (The Sunday Times, March 21) that a number of "Church people" have often discriminated against (and also persecuted) gays is interesting.

I wonder whether his misrepresentation of my study of homosexual life in Malta and his assessment of it as not academic (it has 22 pages of footnotes) is yet another example of discrimination by a "Church person" against a gay scholar. Or his claim that I described St George Preca as having a repressed sexuality when in fact I wrote that he was fiercely misogynist, that kind of misogyny that can find its source in repressed sexuality?

Or the impression created by him and others that I branded St Paul a homosexual when it was John Shelby Spong, emeritus Episcopalian bishop of Newark (USA), who so described him? Or his allegation that I equated homosexuality with paedophilia, which I deny?

Fr Borg nowhere states that the book describes St Preca as an exemplary priest who refused honours, disdained popularity and turned down photo opportunities. Or that I praised his work as an evangelist and a pioneer in Catholic catechesis. That St Preca was a misogynist is well known; no attempt to rewrite history will change that.

Fr Borg chastises me for having a negative attitude towards the Church. What cheek! What about the Church's negative attitude towards gays and lesbians?

How sensitive is the Church's description of our sexuality as "a grave depravity" and of homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered" and of our 'inclination' as "objectively disordered"? And I wonder why Fr Borg is so negative of Queer Mediterranean Memories? Is there anything good in the book?

The gay movement does not need a Catholic priest to tell it what is good for it. Gays and lesbians form a heterogenous community. We take up various positions on a range of subjects. We agree to disagree because we are mature.

Not unlike the bishop of Rome, that of Gozo seems to be preoccupied with homosexuals and homosexuality. He no doubt has his reasons.

The good bishop has accused me of having a malicious agenda which includes discrediting the Church. I am sure the good bishop has many gifts. I was not aware he was able to read into the minds of people.

With all due respect, the discrediting of the Church is being undertaken by those inside the Church who abuse minors entrusted to their care and by those ordinaries who repeatedly conceal, or are party to these abuses.

I am heartened by the bishop's assurance that he will act if he becomes aware of abusive priests within his diocese. Does this action include the reporting of such abusers to the police? Will he and the archbishop tell us what has happened to those priests who have been charged with various offences against minors?

The bishop's allegation that I am throwing mud at the Pope's white frock is indeed hilarious. What an interesting choice of words; but how apt.

I accept that the book may throw doubt on the professions of the priesthood and the religious life and may help explain why some young men and women may seek to enter them. I also appreciate that the good bishop will not agree that a link exists between the rise of the gay and lesbian movement and the dearth of 'vocations' to the priesthood and the religious life.

As an activist homosexual I have a right not only to set out what I think but also to explain why the Church is so antagonistic towards gays. What has upset the bishop is that what I submit is all too obvious.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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