Dear Gay Catholic Priests,
I know you’re busy, so I will try to make this brief. Many of you have been following the story in the news about a gay catholic priest from Chicago who recently came out. I know you’ve been following his story because I’ve been following his story. And, I know that the thought of coming out as a gay Catholic priest is perhaps one of the scariest things you could imagine.
So scary, in fact, that only a handful of gay Catholic priest have done it.
I know what’s it’s like to feel you have a secret that nobody can know about. I know what it’s like to feel ashamed about being gay. I know what it’s like to wonder if your silence about being gay is causing more harm than your ministry is causing good.
I know what it’s like to read the news about anti-LGBTQ bulling, hate crimes and teenage suicides and wonder if your silence is part of what allows that to happen. I know how awful it feels when Catholic Bishops support anti-gay legislation.
I know because I’ve been there.
I, too, have lived in the culture of silence and shame which currently exists in our church.
And at the same time—I know (and I hope you know as well) how it feels to be accepted by your friends and families after you’ve told them you’re gay. I know the freedom and joy that comes from acceptance and love. I know that being gay is a part of what makes me unique and beautiful.
I know that being gay is not a curse, it is not an intrinsic disorder, it is not a disease like alcoholism, but it is a gift from God. A gift that can be shared and celebrated.
If my coming out has taught me anything, it has taught me that the church (the people of God), are accepting, supportive and loving of who I am. I have received thousands of emails, and I have been told over and over again by individuals how much they appreciate my voice of acceptance and love—especially for those who are struggling with their own sexual identity.
Saint Catherine of Sienna once said: “Speak the truth with a thousand voices—it is silence that kills the world.”
It is time for all of us to speak the truth.
Perhaps some of you will speak the truth as I have in my book Hidden Voices, Reflections of a Gay Catholic Priest, or perhaps you will speak the truth as Fr. Mike did in the Washington Post.
I suspect however, that many of you will speak the truth more quietly and discretely to your friends, families and congregations. Whatever way you decide to speak the truth, please know that I will be praying for you and that the Church needs you.
The Church needs you to speak the truth about who you are and about who God has created you to be.