I’ve had time to read and mull over “What makes the priesthood so attractive to gay men?” by Mark D. Jordan in the Orlando Sentinel from May 12.

I don’t have time right now to refute the all his assertions that I believe to be false. The most distressing to me is what he refers to as homoeroticism as part of the institution of the Church.

Our public discussions of priestly sexuality won’t make any progress until we can begin to talk about the homoeroticism written into Catholic imagination and its institutions.

His opinion “the Catholic Church is and has long been both loudly homophobic and intensely homoerotic.”

The fact is we as individuals are more than our sexual preference. Professor Jordan, faculty of the religion department at Emory University, confuses being gay with actually being.

He posits some questionable reasons as to why gay men would be attracted to the priesthood. I won’t pretend to know or understand exactly what God is doing when he calls someone to a religious vocation. On the human side I would say the initial answer to the call is, or at least the beginning of discernment is:

– A desire to do God’s will alone and thereby deny oneself many things this world has to offer, material and immaterial
– A desire for holiness and sanctity
– A desire to minister the sacraments, to preach and engage in other aspects of priestly ministry

Professor Jordan goes on to say:

The Roman Catholic Church entices us gay men to fall in love with it much before we ever consider its policies. We have long found a home in this church because many of its symbols and roles, its beauties and gifts, are so evidently our own.

Whether or not altar girls are permitted is a Church policy. The teaching on homosexual behavior is dogma. It is not policy. Policy is changeable, dogma is not. This is from a religion professor who is an adult convert to Catholicism. Yikes.

Apart from confusing policy with dogma I see here the author is doing two things. First, he is wrapping his sexual preference around his whole being. Second, he is reflecting that gay persona around the Church. It seems to be the lens through which he sees himself and the Church. I don’t believe our sexual preference is wholly who we are as children of God. We can’t look at ourselves, the world and the Church in terms of gayness or straightness. We are so much more than our sexual preference.