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Priest "Comes Out" During Mass

A priest at a Jesuit University in Philadelphia announced he was gay during Mass Sunday night to kick off the school's "Unity Week."

During the homily, Thomas J. Brennan, S.J. said he was active in "Unity Week" and said his homosexuality was one "the worst kept secrets" on the campus of Saint Joseph's University so he might as well say it outright. Most of Fr. Brennan's homily was on Catholic themes of acceptance and tolerance. However, he did not offer any thoughts or statements on the Church's stance on homosexuality.

During the petitions after the sermon, Sister Betsy Linehan, Chair of The Gay/Straight Alliance on campus, asked that the Church accept all and judge not.

Unity Week at Saint Joseph's University includes a play called "Beauty Is" which highlights the scourge of crystal meth in the gay community, as well as a seminar called "Before Brokeback" about how Hollywood has portrayed homosexuals in the movies.

Unity Week was formerly called Rainbow Week but a critical article in the Catholic Standard & Times prompted the University to change the name of the weeklong event two years ago due to widespread controversy over the school's position on homosexuality.

According to the school newspaper, Unity Week follows in the Rainbow Week tradition of educating and promoting acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students and faculty.

Brennan wrote a chapter in the book "Jesuit Postmodern" entitled "A Tale of Two Comings Out: Priest and Gay on a Catholic Campus."

Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, the former Secretariat of Catholic Education and current Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Philadelphia, said in the above mentioned article in the Catholic Standard & Times, “There’s a fine line between recognizing diversity and promoting a lifestyle. Being a homosexual is not sinful. Acting on the homosexual lifestyle is — as is all sex outside the bond of marriage, which is defined as a union between one man and one woman.”

Bishop McFadden, a St. Joseph’s alumnus, added: “While the Church asks that we recognize the unique dignity of every human person, it does not mean supporting a lifestyle that is contrary to the natural law.”

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Nolan Reynolds said...

I'll never understand the point of a priest coming out unless it's followed by a resignation from whatever position and an announcement of time off from the priesthood to discern the vocation.

The fact that this priest felt the need to announce this at Mass, during a week of gay pride, should raise up a red flag. It's obviously beyond this man admitting to same-sex attraction. It's not like straight priests feel the need to admit they are woman crazy. It's only when it challenges their celibacy that it needs to be brought out to the open. And if this priest's homosexual leaning is a challenge to his celibacy and to his vocation, then he needs to seriously take some time off seek help.

Anonymous said...

For real Jesuit Spirituality, have a look at http://www.companionofjesus.com

Long-Skirts said...


Our leaders don't lead anymore
Our heroes aren't valiant anymore
Our fathers aren't home anymore
Our mothers won't birth anymore

Our churches don't awe anymore
Our futures aren't safe anymore
Our past no roots anymore
Our present not ours anymore

The truth is glossed any more
But hang a cross anymore
They'll all appear anymore
Outraged at faith anymore

They "share" their lusts and explore
They're "salt of the earth", they implore
They're seasoned whores to the core
The Dead Seas' sodium-souled floor

Anonymous said...

I actually feel sorry for this priest like I feel sorry for other homosexuals...for they have a disease that no one seems willing to confront. There is strong evidence to suggest that same sex attraction is genetically based. Fine. No problem.

The problem lies in the fact that in our society, we equate genetic with normal and natural. There are dozens of ailments that are genetically linked, but only same sex attraction is seen as benign if not desirable. What the "tolerant" forces fail to explain is what benefit homosexuality provides for society.

Anonymous said...

I go to SJU and Fr. Brennan did not "come out of the closet" during his mass, everyone knows he is homosexual. We also all know that he is celibate and deeply devoted to God. The reason he mentioned his orientation that night was because it began a week of campus-wide education on tolerance, not because it was becoming an issue for him.

Jesus accepted lepers, prostitutes and tax collectors... why would he not also accept a celibate, devout homosexual?

Anonymous said...

as far as i can see the writer didn't accuse the priest of being actively gay. He simply repeated what the priest said.
As far as coming out goes. According to the piece, the priest said it was a badly kept secret.
No matter. It is inappropriate at best to announce this at mass and not speak about the church's teaching on the subject. Not to, would seem to be an apparent endorsement.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that St. Joe's put on a play about crystal meth in the gay community the same week. Watch this incredible documentary on the same subject here:

Anonymous said...

I haven't read my buble in a while. I must find it again.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Nice sidestep Joe, but you still haven't stated what purpose homosexuality serves. Darwin would suggest that beneficial traits are passed from one generation to the next...natural selection. Homosexuality would naturally die off if it weren't for those that feel that sexual 'diversity' needs to be preserved and protected.

Instead you go on an ad hominem attack. Closed mind? No I think it took an open mind to recognize that homosexuality may be a disease instead of falling in lock-step with the politically correct.

On your own blog you continue your attack on Catholics in particular, talking about how you left the church because of such judgemental minds. WOW. A blanket statement based on a supposition. Do you know for a fact that I am Catholic? And if so, how can you make such a blanket judgement? Open mind? I don't think so.

And I choose to sign as anonymous because I haven't had time to register, but I will soon.


Anonymous said...

I find interesting that the report of this incident, quoting vaguely one small portion of the homily from the Mass in question, does not further elaborate upon the homily as a whole, merely brushing it off as one concerning "Catholic themes of acceptance and tolerance" without offering "any thoughts on the Church's stance on homosexuality."

The homily lasted more than twenty minutes. The Jesuit father's re-affirmation of his sexual orientation was only part of a meditation on the Incarnation, a theme which was elaborated upon through a poem by Robert Browning which he recited. It was a call to recognize the implications of God taking on flesh and walking in imitation of Christ.

Shouldn't we be glad that priests are preaching something of such substance to young college students?

Anonymous said...

I rarely come to this blog but I thought the name was interesting. And I am glad that someone has raised the possibility that homosexuality can be a biological genetic disorder. Personally, I have often wondered if there is some kind of common cause between homosexuality and the chemical/hormonal imbalances that make certain people vulnerable to depression. I am not a scientist nor a physician, but from personal observation (yes I know this sounds simplistic but the scientific method starts with simple observations and curiosity)
it seems to me that homosexuality and depression often show up in the same family line, within the same generation but not in the same individuals. I would be interested if anyone knows of research in this area.

Patrick Archbold said...

Please note that it is the policy of CMR to delete any posts that are deemed as "attacking." In this case that includes attacks on Fr. Brennan, Homosexuals in general, and the Church.

Polite discussion about the prudence of Fr. Brennan's disclosure is welcome.

Anonymous said...

Homosexuality is not genetic, it is a learned behavior. No one in their right mind would consider such acts to be healthful or fulfilling.
The link is emotional. During the critical years for boys at least between the ages of 1 to 4, the warm, active presence of his dad is necessary for the m=normal development of his identity. If the father is not there or is cold and rejecting, it causes confusion for the boy about who he is as a male, as well as emotional deprivation.
There is therapy available. Unconditonal, non-genital love from a man is the treatment. In other words, the love that the boy did not get from his dad when he was young.
It is so sad to think of all the fatherless children around who will likely become victims of abuse due to their searching for this unconditional love.
Dads, love your children!

Anonymous said...

Since we're welcoming education by the experts on this question, Dr. Fitzgibbons is just one of those with plenty of experience in counselling such:


Very helpful to those who might wish to really understand the whole question.

Anonymous said...

It was my understanding the role of the priest is to lead and love, as a representative of Jesus on Earth. What does sexual orientation have anything to do with that and what part does it play (NONE)? My question is: WHAT ABOUT HIS BEHAVIOR made it "one of the worst kept secrets" he was gay?!! If it is obvious he is acting upon a "deviant" sexual nature, (or any priest acting upon a "normal" sexual nature)he should be removed from his position and especially from contact with the general public. There are bigger issues and more pertinent ones that apply to the majority of the followers, how sad that this priest chose to burden with his "secret" instead of taking the high road (and more difficult path) to lead. Won't be sending my children there!

Joe Ross said...

Then your children will be deprived of an excellent education. Kudos for sheltering your kids from the real world. That is very effective parenting.

Anonymous said...

Most likely, the reason it was a hardly a secret is because, as a 5-second google search demonstrates, one of Fr. Brennan's areas of interest is "lesbian and gay studies."

One would think it would be beneficial for same-sex attracted students, who also want to be faithful to the Church's teaching, to have a model of chastity. I'll give Fr. Brennan the benefit of the doubt on that last part, assuming this is the end of the story.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how an excellent education is more important than in being careful about where you send your children to school. Sending them to a school that claims to be Catholic but supports a homosexual agenda is not effective parenting. And it isn't sheltering them from the real world - it is however protecting them from dissent from Catholic teaching which too often finds a home at Caholic schools.

Anonymous said...

Having been raised in the catholic church and being gay myself, I may be able to shed some light on the matter. Being gay is a part of who I am, as sexuality is a part of everyone, (part not the whole) one can't help who their attracted to. Let's remember that there is extreme diversity among homosexuals as there is among heterosexuals, so lets not form a box around someone soley based on their sexual orientation. as far the comment the person made concerning procreating being the only contributable mark one can make in this world. stop and ponder on the many brilliant minds of the ages who never had kids.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Mass is about the Eucharist and community worship of Our Lord. Not about celebrating the ego, like this priest has done. If he had to come out, he should of done it during an assembly in the school auditorium or during one of those RR's-Rainbow Rallies.

Quamdiu Domine!


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