“The Church is full of homosexuals at every level”, an Irish gay Catholic author has claimed.
– “Hypocrisy” in the Church
Declan Henry is the man behind Forbidden Fruit: Life and Catholicism in Contemporary Ireland, a volume gcn described February 19 as an “explosive book about gay priests” and about “homophobia and hypocrisy in the Catholic Church”.
“I wanted to explore the changing face of Catholicism in Ireland over the past 30 years post the cleric abuse scandals”, Henry told gcn about his book.
“I want to find out why the Church has never adequately addressed the reasons why paedophilia occurred among priests – and question if this malaise is still present – and why.
“I wanted to explore the hypocrisy of the church towards gay people – given that such a high percentage of Catholic priests are gay”, Henry continued, citing statistics that suggest that as many as 80% of the Vatican’s top-ranking clergy are homosexual.
“I also wanted to explore compulsory celibacy and question if it is emotionally healthy to expect any man – gay or straight – to live a life devoid of intimate personal relationships and sex”.
– “Nothing wrong with being gay – or married – and a priest”
What did Henry discover in his research into those topics?
After having spoken to an openly gay and celibate priest in Dublin, “much loved and respected by his parishioners for being so honest” – and to a convert, married, former Anglican priest in London – the author concluded two things:
“a) that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay and a priest… b) being a married Catholic priest is not the slightest deterrent in fulfilling the role of a priest”.
– Transcending the homophobia
As for his own personal faith – which he has kept despite being shunned by the Church as a gay man – Henry told gcn that the best way to balance being gay and being Catholic is to forge your own path.
“I believe that most people in the LGBT+ community must transcend their belief system beyond the Catholic Church and find their own faith, their own God, their own Jesus”, the author explained.
“In the end, this is not too hard to do. Remember that you can read all the Gospels and you will find that Jesus never once condemned homosexuality”.
– “Most gay priests have a very unhealthy attitude towards their own sexuality, which is damaging to themselves and to the wider LGBT+ community”
Henry still considers himself a Catholic, but he admitted he doesn’t consider himself part of the institution.
” I left all that behind. I’ve had a good life, so any bitterness is forgotten”, the author admitted.
“But there was pain and rejection. On one hand you had this unrivalled sense of belonging but on the other hand rejection, fear, shame and guilt for being gay”.
Asked whether the Church has alienated gay people with its insistent homophobic rhetoric, Henry replied: “Yes, absolutely. Pope after Pope has helped to reinforce this message”.
Even Pope Francis – seemingly much more open than his predecessors on a number of reform issues – “can say the most foolish of things”, according to the author.
An example? “In December 2018 [Francis] stated, ‘There is no place for gay priests in the clergy’.
“Who is he trying to fool when the horse has well and truly bolted on that one?!”, Henry exclaimed.
“The truth is the Church is full of homosexuals at every level”, the author asserted.
“But unfortunately, most of these gay priests have a very unhealthy attitude towards their own sexuality – which is not alone very damaging to themselves but damaging to the wider LGBT+ community”.