An icon for gay Catholics


Father Mychal Judge, the Franciscan priest and NYFD Chaplain who died in the line of duty at the foot of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001has become an icon for gay Roman Catholics. For example, a parish in Syracuse, New York, is erecting a statue to both honor Judge’s witness and to demonstrate to the community that this parish chooses to continue that witness.

Daniel Burke writes for RNS:

When All Saints Church sought to signal its hospitality to gays and lesbians, the Catholic parish in Syracuse, N.Y., turned to a well-known image from the 9/11 attacks: five firefighters carrying a body from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.

The body belonged to the Rev. Mychal Judge, a Franciscan fire chaplain who rushed to the burning buildings and was killed by falling debris. Later, a half-hidden secret emerged about the gallant priest: he was gay.

All Saints hopes the statue will demonstrate that the parish, following Judge’s lead, is committed to closing the chasms between rich and poor, black and white, gay and straight, said the Rev. Fred Daley, the church’s pastor.

Moreover, Daley said, the monument will memorialize a man who, like many gays and lesbians, struggled to fit into a church that considers homosexual desires “an intrinsic moral evil” and seeks to prohibit gay men from becoming priests.

“Here’s a gay person who was committed to celibacy, flourishing in the priesthood. It breaks so many stereotypes that people have,” said Daley, who came out as gay himself in 2004.“For young gay people in particular, how good it is that Mychal Judge can be a role model for them.”

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5 Responses to "An icon for gay Catholics"
  1. I propose that we add Mychal to the list of saints in the Episcopal Church because you know that Rome will never do that. Let's start a movement!

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  2. It is priests like Fr. Judge and Fr. Daley, and parishes like All Saints in Syracuse, that shakes my pessimism regarding the Roman Church and makes me think that change, albeit slow change, is possible.

    Come Holy Spirit...

    Cullin R. Schooley

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  3. "...a church that considers homosexual desires “an intrinsic moral evil”"

    That's not exactly right. I assume what's being quoted is this sentence from the CDF:

    "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil."

    Similary, any male married heterosexual's strong tendency to have sex with someone not his wife is certainly ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil (adultery).

    I know that the Church's actual teaching is just as offensive to many here as it's imputed teaching. But there is a difference in the two, and the particular topic of this comment illustrates it well.

    I don't know anyone who would see Father Judge barred from consideration for canonization simply because of his sexual orientation. From what I know of him he was a model and beloved priest.

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  4. As long as gay candidates are being swept even from *seminaries*, rick, I'd say it's more than a safe bet that Judge won't be canonized (in fact, I'd call it a sure thing).

    [And yeah, we get it: morally, the RCC considers heterosexual *adultery* the same thing as the spousal intimacy of a (married, by State law) same-sex couple. If you're willing to answer for that on Judgment Day, be my guest...]

    JC Fisher

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