In a stunning letter published over the weekend, a major U.S. bishop claimed there’s a “homosexual subculture” within the leadership of the Catholic Church.
Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, wrote in a pastoral letter released Saturday that the anger directed toward the Catholic Church regarding the 1,300-page Pennsylvania grand jury report implicating more than 300 “predator priests” for allegedly carrying out sexual abuse against more than 1,000 children for some 70 years is “justified.”
Morlino called the details of the report “sickening,” describing the sordid abuses carried out by Catholic clerics as “almost exclusively homosexual.” He wrote:
"It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord. The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest."
The bishop described the decision to act upon such a “disordered inclination” as “a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable.”
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It should be noted that while the vast majority of abuse victims are male, some involved in the Pennsylvania report were female.
Morlino’s letter echoes a recent report from the Catholic News Agency, which outlined in great detail the “active homosexual subculture” that undergirded the Archdiocese of Newark when disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was archbishop from 1986 until 2000.
The current archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, has denied the existence of such a subculture. It should be noted, though, that Tobin has embraced an “LGBT pilgrimage,” making his position on the matter somewhat unclear.
Tobin also garnered press attention in February for a bizarre, since-deleted tweet, which read, “Nighty-night, baby. I love you.” A spokesperson for the archbishop said the errant message was intended for his adult sister. He deleted his Twitter account altogether in July, calling the social media site an “occasion of sin.”
On Monday, conservative columnist Matt Walsh, who is Catholic, praised Morlino for his letter, arguing that taking such a stance took “courage.” Walsh has called on the Catholic Church to take action as it pertains to the “gay culture” affecting the priesthood.
Others, though, like Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, told The Associated Press it would be “ridiculous and dangerous” to purge the Catholic hierarchy of gay priests, even though official Church teaching demands just that.
“Any purge would empty parishes and religious orders of the thousands of priests [and bishops] who lead healthy lives of service and faithful lives of celibacy,” Fr. Martin said.