Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    This post made me feel very sad.

    I wish you the best in your struggle (and those other priests, and their flocks, and everyone whose lives they touch).

    I hope you do yourselves (and everyone else) more good than harm. Good luck.Report

  2. Chris,

    I know the reasons why gay priests joined the clergy in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s (if you’ve got three sons, you don’t send the genius or the football star to seminary – you send the shy, quiet, ‘pansy’.)

    What I’m curious about is what you see as the reason why so many closeted (and uncloseted) gays find their way into the clergy now?Report

    • Avatar North says:

      It just so happens, Mike, that I asked your very question to a former Catholic who has been exiled from his faith for being unable to meet their very strict standards when it comes to homosexuality. I think his response is very sensible so I’ll share it in my own words.
      Joining the priesthood, for a devout Catholic homosexual, is a no brainer. Consider for a moment the Catholic position on homosexuality: that homosexual urges/orientation are a cross that these people must bear but that the urges in of themselves may or may not be diminished through faith and prayer but that if they cannot be banished are not in of themselves sinful. Rather the sin lies in acting on said homosexual urges.

      For a strongly homosexual man the opposite sex will typically possess almost no (and in some cases an actively negative) sexual attraction to them. What this means is that strongly homosexual oriented individuals must, in order to remain in line with Gods commandments as they have been taught them, be chaste. Sex with the opposite sex is possible, sure in some cases, but only via an act of considerable effort and also considerable cruelty to the woman involved (very few women would knowingly be interested in marrying a man who found absolutely no sexual appeal in them).

      When you put it in this context the choice to become a priest is so obvious that it’s almost laughable. Consider the alternatives. A genuinely faithful gay catholic can either:
      -Be a single chase man which will identify him in his community as a homosexual. Even as a gay man who is obeying the restrictions of the faith you can imagine what kind of life this man will face; one of solitude and sideways looks from their fellow men and pity from the women in the faith.

      -Be a man who is lying or otherwise deceiving an innocent woman in order to maintain the facade of heterosexuality.
      -Be a Priest.

      Priests are men who are respected and admired in their communities. They are the shepherds of the flock and guardians of the faith of their peers. The most onerous requirement of being a priest, celibacy, is required already of a faithful homosexual.

      Given the options why would the faithful homosexual not flock to the arms of Mother Church? This is without even considering the appeal of the theatrical liturgies, awesome music, costumes, drama and pomp of the catholic clergy.

      It seems to me
      For the faithful it’s a no brainer. And this also partially explains their vehemence regarding their counterparts, the gay who chose life, happiness and freedom over their faith. For these poor old gay men what does accepting homosexuality mean? It means that their decades of tears and self denial and self loathing were wasted, unnecessary. Even an agnostic like me can see how the gay sects of the clergy would recoil from the idea.Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    Chris for my humble part as a gay man I found nothing what so ever offensive about your original post. At least not offensive on any gay level. People must be either misreading you or being thin skinned.Report

  4. Avatar mark says:

    From what you’re saying, the Roman Catholic Church is one in which gay men are predominant, and one that practices discrimination against gays. Knowing this, how could anyone join the organization and take a vow of obedience?Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Because they see it as doing Gods will.
      There is no greater tyrant than a godly man for a normal tyrant may repent or admit that deep down they know that what they are doing is wrong. A godly man armored in his faith need fear no doubt as he perpetuates limitless cruelty on his fellow mans’ body in order to save their immortal soul. He knows –knows- that he is doing good.Report

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes says:


      The RC position is that being gay or lesbian qua orientation is not wrong of sinful as such. It is considered a “disordered” inclination but humans (of all stripes) are according to his psychology full of disordered inclinations. e.g. Jealousy, wanting to steal someone’s stuff, rage or abusive inclinations, rape, etc. And no I’m not comparing rape with gay or lesbian orientation (not in magnitude of harm/scale that is).

      When it is considered sin is when the tendency becomes act–i.e. when a gay or lesbian has sex with the same gendered person they are attracted to.

      So knowing that you can see how priesthood is an option that appeals to many gay Roman Catholic. They enter a culture where there is a number of similarly minded/emotional people, there are elements of the tradition that are very receptive to what we can generically call a gay spirit, and the choice for celibacy “takes care” of the part about never committing the sin of actual sex. At least in theory that’s how it works. In practice, it’s of course often quite different. Also in a culture that officially is opposed to gays, being a priest doesn’t ever raise questions about why the man doesn’t have a wife or girlfriend.

      Does that make sense?Report

      • Avatar North says:

        One question: how is it that you can say in three paragraphs what I say in a small essay? I’m comitting the sin of envy right now at your ability to be succinct.Report

  5. Avatar Molly Roach says:

    As a woman who long struggled with attraction to the priesthood all I can ask is how does anyone who is a priest or who is preparing to be a priest expect to function as a teacher when the divisions and blind spots have made integrity impossible? What can you teach as a representative of an institution (I distinguish it from the Tradition) which is deadended in the lies its leaders tell themselves?Report