Monday, May 29, 2006

Identity police strike again

Sometimes my Church really screws up. The choir director, Joseph Nadeau, at St. Agnes Church in Roeland Park KS. was fired for being gay and refusing to sign a paper saying that being gay is a disorder and also that he had to be celibate and give up his other job, directing the Heartland Men's Chorus.

Apparently a group of conservative parishioners complained, and the campaign against Nadeau became quite nasty according to

"... In 2003, a group of conservative parishioners started campaigning against Nadeau, who they saw as an emissary of a movement to "legitimize homosexuality at the parish level."

...Members collected signatures on petitions to the papal nuncio, while an anonymous group stapled pictures of Nadeau to ads of underwear-clad men and slipped them under churchgoers' windshields..."

Now, I understand that my church considers homosexuality intrinsically disordered, but Catholics are supposed to treat gays compassionately and the Church even recognizes that homosexuality is not a simple matter of choice; this is quite clear in the new Catechism which states:

" The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. The do not choose their homosexual condition, for most of them it is a trial."

Later on of course the Church says that homosexuals are called to chastity, and given the Church's teachings about sex outside the context of marriage consistent. But as much as I might respect the teaching authority of the Church, the Church does not have a monopoly on the truth and ought to step back and look at the whole person.

Here you have a person, who enriched his parish and his community through his work with the Heartland Men's Chorus. I don't know if he is chaste or not, but if he disagrees with the Church's position on homosexuality as a matter of conscience, that is his prerogative and ought not by itself be grounds for dismissal. A person ought not be punished for leading a basically good life but trying to live an authentic life.

The real sin here might just be the conservative parishioners and Church leaders who tried to force a member of the Church to live a lie.

As the executive director of the Chorus said recently in the Kansas City Star:

"How can a minister be a spiritual nurturer, he asked, if he or she is not able to live honestly?"

How indeed.


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