My father went to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in the 80s. This was back when NOLA was still NOLA and you got this weird mix of total hedonism, the occult, and conservative Christian fervor. NOLA was one of the first hubs for the gay community. Every year they would have a parade and crown the queen for the next year. The newspapers never reported on this, but everyone knew when it would happen.
Every major gay city in America is also a major Catholic city. We have San Francisco and LA out west with its Hispanic background, the heavily Germanic Chicago, the melting pot of New York, French Montreal, the Irish and Italian Philly, and Key West just south of Cuban Miami. Atlanta might be the only exception.
Catholicism is inherently progressive. It’s not just the last hundred years where they have reluctantly but firmly given their adoption to all the soft-ball apostasy liberal mainline protestantism has pushed. For well over a millenium they have always been looking for the next trendy idea. Services entirely in Latin, Charlemange forcing conversion, the filioque, the immaculate conception, Francis of Assisi, the Society of Jesus, papal infallibility. They even have it codified: “The Development of Doctrine”, which is Catholic-speak for “Love God and do what thou wilt” taken a bit more literally than St Augustine may have intended it.
Catholicism is obsessed about sex. When you take your vows of celibacy, there’s this heavy warning about turning back from this gloomy course and making sure you are absolutely sure. Wow, they really make it sound appealing. In the Orthodox service of becoming a monk or nun, by contrast, the notion of celibacy is almost glossed over, because celibacy is seen as coming into something greater and higher instead of a heavy burden that defines your life. If you’re constantly thinking about all the sex you’re not getting, then you really haven’t given it up.
And this is why the Roman Church has been such a whore for the last several centuries. Francis of Assisi was their first great reformer, as I understand it. That was, what, the 1200s? Why did they need a great reformer? Then we have the protestant reformation in the 1500s complaining about how Leo X would paint up little boys in gold and let them die of suffocation. Supposedly the Catholics had a counter reformation, but it doesn’t seem to have done much good, because you still have the same licentiousness, both at home in Rome and here at Your Parish, USA.
And you can make the excuse that positions of power always attract psychopaths, and in a system as bureaucratic as the Vatican you will get several of those. But when the church leadership is consistently psychopaths and perverts 90% of the time for several centuries, then it’s something systemic. It’s not just a few bad eggs. And if the pope is supposed to be the vicar of Christ who teaches infallibly and not just an administrative figure (like Anglican and Orthodox bishops are), then it’s especially telling when the majority of them are either whore-mongerers or media whores.
I understand that the last several Ecumenical Patriarchs have been duds and that the patriarchate has always tended progressive (another post for another day) as is the norm for a major cosmopolitan metropolis, but you still have many ortho-Orthodox ecumenical patriarchs — perhaps half — who held their ground and even today an overall conservative temperament among the lower clergy. That isn’t the case for Catholicism and never has been. And I don’t think at any point has an EP bishop apologized to a gay man because a priest denied him communion. You don’t have EP priests dressing up like circus clowns for a special fun mass.
And yes, I realize very few priests molest children. I’m not referring to that. The fact that that’s your gut reflex response shows that you don’t think there’s anything wrong with a priest having a girlfriend in the next county or a “virgin” school girl letting a guy come in the back door. After all, if you held your leadership accountable for fornication, then you would have to hold yourself accountable as well, and high moral standards really crush the fun vibe that Catholicism has been angling for the last several decades.
Maybe Milo should have been a priest. They seem to like the idea of using the priesthood as a kind of cure for homosexuality. But when you dump all your gays into the priesthood, you get, well, a really gay leadership. Especially when they had the old high school seminaries, when a boy in the bloom of puberty is told by a gaggle of nuns he will never get to touch a woman ever.
The aesthetics of an ideology cannot be separated from the ideology itself. Most pictures of Catholic priests and bishops look like total wimps. They look like geldings. Castrated slaves without volition. Career eunuchs. And their liturgy. People talk about how terrible the novus ordo is, but the Catholic mass always looked really, well, gay. Pink vestments. That frilly white shirt.
I went to a Latin low mass a couple years ago and was extremely disappointed. And yeah, I know the high mass is the “real” mass, but the low mass was just as common pre Vatican II, so don’t give me your excuses.
So I’m never surprised to learn about a bishop apologizing for a priest who denies a gay man communion. I’m not surprised when I learn that a snarky atheist socialist grew up Catholic. Or my Catholic priest friend who told me he isn’t sure how he would act if a transgender person wanted to be a regular part of his congregation. Or the norm among Catholic universities for having a gay studies program. Or the time I was working at a hotel and a Hispanic priest from the next county over came in with a much younger black man and ordered a room with one bed for two people. The fact that a majority of American Catholics support gay marriage and birth control and voted Obama.
Homosexuality and general sexual licentiousness is not a bug of Catholicism; it’s a feature. Pope Francis is holding up the mirror to what Catholicism is and always has been, and what Catholicism is and always has been is false humility. If you can’t point to a time in the last few centuries when you could describe your church as healthy, then it may be time to change churches.
But you aren’t going to do that because you’ve been brainwashed with “How can you have the Church without St Peter and the see of Rome?”, which just goes to show that Catholicism values the tribe over the Truth (another other post for another other day). The whole point in apostolic succession is apostolic doctrine, and your apostolic successor is embarrassing the rest of Christendom and making us all look bad.