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Eminence, the emeritis cardinal archbishop of HGN

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Flaw In Solving The Priest Shortage In The US By Importing Foreign Priests

Archbishop Raymond Burke

There is a lot of talk today about the priest shortage. One of the ways some religious communities and dioceses have tried to deal with this shortage is to import priests from foreign countries. Bringing priests to this country from other countries is sometimes done without any preparation on either the part of the priest coming or the community to which they will be sent.

This is bad enough. Often this importing of priests from foreign countries is done in the name of multiculturalism. This is somehow meant to show the universality of the Roman Catholic Church as well as fill up for the shortage of native born priests. I think multiculturalism is

very important and a good thing. What I think is wrong is there are some subcultures that the Catholic Church does not acknowledge and in fact harbors a real animas toward. One such subculture is the gay culture which is very alive and well in the United States, and I would add in the Catholic Church.

This is an issue because the Roman Catholic Church particularly in the United States has not been able to accept even the smallest parts of the gay subculture within the ranks of its own priests and bishops. See issue #6 in this recent column in the NCR.

This lack of acceptance of the gay subculture manifests itself in a number of ways. Aversion to the gay culture presents itself in the Roman Catholic Church when it fails to address its own internalized homophobia. Gay people will tell you that it is the church’s inability to face the strata of gayness in its own ranks that is responsible for a number of the vile and hateful things said about gay and lesbians in some official church documents.

I suspect there is a high degree of latent homosexuality displayed in pictures like the one of Archbishop Burke that accompanies this post. You can also find this picture and a further comment about it here.

When the church imports priests in the name of multiculturalism and fails to address is own internalized homophobia and to recognize the degree of latent homosexuality in the priesthood then I think this is a dishonest appeal to being multicultural. This is why I think bringing foreign priests to this country to alleviate the priest shortage is really doomed to failure. I think that failure will happen on several levels. That will be something for another post.


  1. These are great points. As the African Synod continues I am being forced to confront the notion that in Catholicism we are multicultural only in so far as we share partriarchal dominance, clerical authority, and 'natural' heterosexual morality. As far as anything else goes, Polish Catholicism is as different from Irish Catholicism as it is African or Hispanic Catholicism.

    In short our 'unity' is based on keeping women second class and gays vilified. Lot of love in that notion of 'unity'.

  2. I am in full agreement with what is said in the blog and colkoch's comment.

    Another point: Importing foreign priests into the US is one more example of the rich raping the poor. The availability of priests is much less in Africa, Latin America, and Asia than in the U.S.

    As one commentator said, "Why should a lazy American priest expect a foreign import to preside at two or three of his masses, while the American lounges, watches TV, pets his dog, and drinks coffee or something stronger. This just might be another form of racism.

    Don't get me wrong, there are wonderful, overworked str8 and gay priests struggling to serve the People of God.

  3. The Church comes out with documents saying that gay men should not be ordained but just recently Raymond Burke was named a Cardinal. Does anyone see the irony here? SIGH!