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September 27, 2005

Ousting Catholic Gay Would-be Priests

Roy Meachum

Opposition to the Vatican’s proposed ruling banning homosexuals from Catholic seminaries has come from what some might consider the most unlikely community: New York’s firefighters and their brother cops.

Even when they’re female, first responders take delight in flaunting their macho: they pride themselves on placing themselves in harm’s way in order to protect “civilians” – the rest of us.

The finest hour for New York’s finest came 9/11, when over 400 firefighters, police officers and emergency service professionals made the supreme sacrifice. Among their ranks was a Franciscan friar.

Father Mychal Judge was last seen alive giving communion to victims trapped in the rubble, including a fellow firefighter. He was the FDNY chaplain.

The priest’s services four days later, at New York’s St. Francis Assisi Church, drew dignitaries and men and women covered with dust from rescue efforts at the Twin Towers site: some with bandages.

At the funeral, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani called him a saint, as The New York Times reported, “a sentiment that admirers have followed up by campaigning for his canonization.” (

Five years earlier Father Mike, as he was called, had ministered to survivors of TWA Flight 800, destroyed by an explosion off Long Island. He became pastor to hundreds of the victims’ relatives and friends. Ministering is what he did for a living.

Over the course of his four-decade career he tended to grieving widows, homeless people and AIDS patients, as well as firefighters. In his room at the friary he operated a scanner that pulled him to emergency scenes in the middle of the night.

The feeling of many that the Franciscan priest was a saint started long before he removed his helmet to pray with 9/11 victims. Despite the danger he would not address God with a covered head. He was killed instantly by falling debris, according to reports.

As you certainly have guessed by now, the Rev. Mychal Judge was gay. He made his inclination no secret to friends who all believed he led a celibate life, which church teaching demands.

When the Vatican turned its back on his fellow homosexuals, he borrowed a Protestant church for masses and communion.

That fact alone might keep him from canonization since the gray men in the papal state make the final determination. When Romans say “trastevere” that not only mean across the Tiber River, but a mental state isolated from real human beings.

When I worked there, the generally anti-clerical Italians took some delight in telling me about a birth control pill in Sweden; it belonged to a financial conglomerate controlled by the Catholic curia, which taught that taking the pill was a mortal sin, subject to hellfire and eternal damnation.

The current crusade, led by Edwin O’Brien, archbishop for the U.S. military, smacks of the same sort of hypocrisy. It obviously has as its purpose the attempt to demonstrate the church’s determination to prevent future sex scandals. The present one has cost hundreds of millions and an unknown number of communicants.

Unswayed by clinical findings that the criminal priests practiced pedophilia – seeking children as their sex objects – not homosexuals who love their fellow man and woman, not kids, the Vatican has ordered Archbishop O’Brien to investigate all 229 Catholic seminaries in this country.

The new crusade’s objective, we are led to believe: to uncover and expel homosexuals. How the investigation determines seminarians’ sexual orientation we are left to guess. The purge would include even those who practice celibacy, like Father Mike.

Presumably randy heterosexuals will be exempt however much they stray, as long as they make confession and perform the penance prescribed. The principle of loving the sinner while hating the sin does not apply to gays.

That smacks me as downright non-Christian and certainly the New York Fire Department agrees. Had present Pope Benedict XV been in power, young Mychal Judge might never have been ordained.

And, as his 68-years demonstrated, that would have been mankind’s great loss.

Before becoming pope, Cardinal Josef Ratzinger headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was for hundreds of years known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition. The new name was adopted in 1908.

During almost 30 years, the German prelate acted as if nothing had changed. Lacking the power to condemn dissidents to be burned at the stake, he set about ruining hundreds of lives: faith was less important than total conformity. That’s what’s involved in the present investigation.

While there is no doubt he knowingly let loose at least one predator priest on Baltimore’s young, Cardinal William Keeler continues to enjoy the Vatican’s favor. His high office blocks the possibility of a criminal investigation in this once Catholic colony.

On that same note, a news story revealed last week that during the recent papal consistory, Cardinal Bernard Law had received at least one vote. He was the man responsible for virtually bankrupting the archdiocese of Boston by covering up scores of child molestations, by pedophilacs, who are not the same as homosexuals.

My poor church!

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