I don’t like what I’m reading about DC gays willing to blackmail priests into admitting they’re gay if those priests don’t stand up to their institutions and make a stand against the continued banning of gay marriage. Belief.net is where I find out about this. Rod Dreher disapproves of this tactic, as do I. He quotes from Church Outing, including the disclaimer:
The goal of this site is not to force Catholic priests out of the closet against their will. The goal of this campaign is to aggregate reports on every gay priest in the Archdiocese, so that we can work with them, one on one, helping them stand up to the the church hierarchy’s stand on this important issue.
But they are encouraging anyone who has ever dallied with a priest (or knows someone who did) to let them know who the priest was:
This site was created to provide you with the opportunity to save LGBT youth from the hypocrisy of priests in the Archdiocese of Washington who are socially, romantically or sexually active gay men, yet stand silent while Archbishop Wuerl and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops increase their dogmatic war against gay families. If you have information that a priest in the Archdiocese is gay (or having a heterosexual affair) please share your story.
The person can then fill out the form, pick a priest out of the enormous list to pin the story on and tell the story. How do they find out what’s true and what’s not, call the priest and ask?
Once a story is verified, we will be contacting the priests involved to help them make the right choices. It is our hope that NO Catholic Priest is outed because of this campaign, rather that we can use knowledge of the truth of their lives to combat the hypocrisy of their silence.
That really does sound like blackmail. I get that they’re concerned about gay Catholic kids growing up under the wrongful impression that natural desires are sins, and wanting to see these kids have full lives healthy lives, not sexually abused and suicidally short ones. But still, surely a better, less intrusive way could be figured out. Some of these priests likely will get outed even if that isn’t the intent.
I don’t like the fact that they hide who they are at work. They probably are vocal against gay marriage because they have to toe the party line or run the risk of excommunication. That doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, but I’ve seen how devout Catholics seem to be about in regards to their bread products. Or would the priest just get moved to some other town where nobody knew him and what he’d done?
Last bit from their news portion:
The ChurchOuting.org campaign was greatly inspired by the work of the Survivors Network of those Sexually Abused by Priests (SNAP), which emerged to stop the cycle of sexual abuse in Catholic parishes across the country. ChurchOuting.org plans to use similar strategies, while taking full advantage of new social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.
“I expect community response to this campaign to be overwhelming,” says Attey, who hopes once successful in Washington, DC, ChurchOuting.org will inspire similar campaigns in every archdiocese across the country. “The Church hierarchy has crossed the line in diverting the mission of the church from helping the poor and caring for the sick to waging political campaigns to strip LGBT citizens of civil rights protections. We can no longer remain silent while this happens. Nor can our parish priests.”
Time will tell. It will be interesting to see what results from this. I doubt it’ll work like they’re hoping.