When the priest celebrates Holy Mass, he does so in persona Christi – in the person of Christ.
As St. John Chrysostom said, he “does nothing of his own power;” rather, it is the Lord Himself who is present and active in offering the Holy Sacrifice (Homily on the Holy Pentecost).
As such, Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest, is uniquely present and made visible to the faithful in the person of the ordained minister at Holy Mass. This is a reality that compels, or at least should compel, the priest to personally surrender to Christ after the example of St. John the Baptist who said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
The cleric who is burdened with the disorder known as homosexuality, however, will necessarily find this liturgical submission-of-self to be a most challenging proposition.
In 2012, while writing an article on this topic for Catholic News Agency, I spoke with psychiatrist Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a consultant to the Vatican Congregation for Clergy and a leading expert who has nearly forty years of clinical experience treating priests and others who suffer with “Same Sex Attraction” (SSA).
According to Dr. Fitzgibbons, “Narcissism – a personality disorder in which an insatiable need for admiration often leads to attention-seeking behavior – is prevalent among men who struggle with homosexuality. This conflict results in a need to draw attention to his own personality in the liturgy rather than to surrender his personal identity in favor of Christ.”
Apropos of this priestly conflict, Dr. Fitzgibbons called to mind Cardinal Ratzinger’s reflection offered during Stations of the Cross on Good Friday 2005, “How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that He is there!”
While narcissistic behavior certainly isn’t the exclusive franchise of homosexuals, Dr. Fitzgibbons’ insights speak directly to the reason why homosexual men are particularly ill-suited for the priesthood – a truth that comes into ever sharper focus when viewed through the lens of the sacred liturgy.
Consider that in addition to being true God, Christ was not just true man, but also truly “male.” As such, He provides for us the perfect image of authentic manliness in action – a reality made expressly manifest at Holy Mass wherein the Sacrifice willingly offered by Jesus in love for His Bride and their beloved children is re-presented.
“The male who suffers with deep-seated homosexuality has difficulty in being Christ visible in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for a number of reasons,” Dr. Fitzgibbons said.
“For instance, a number of well-designed studies have documented that the homosexual man struggles with weaknesses in male confidence, which in turn makes it difficult for him to give of himself fully in the ministerial roles as a spouse to the Church and as a spiritual father to Her children as he is called to carry them out in persona Christi at Mass,” he continued.
Note this scenario well!
The priest at Holy Mass is called to visibly model, in willing cooperation with grace, the quintessential father and husband who protects, provides and sustains those who depend on him for their very survival.
In order to do so, the ordained must have a healthy appreciation for his own God-given maleness. When this requisite level of male self-awareness is deficient, however, the priest’s ability to render such fatherly service to his spiritual family will necessarily be diminished.
This brings us to the tension that inherently exists between clerical homosexuality and ad orientem worship.
“The insecurity inherent to SSA could also predispose the homosexual cleric to seek the approval of the laity by treating the liturgy as performance or by otherwise calling attention to himself,” Dr. Fitzgibbons said. “Furthermore, the underlying anger and disdain for authority that is also endemic to homosexuality could lead to rebelliousness and a determination to ‘do his own thing’ with the liturgy.”
To put this in spiritual perspective, consider that when the ordained minister who is called to serve as “father” chooses instead to use the Mass (and by extension the assembly) as an occasion to meet his own needs (e.g., for approval and adulation), he is guilty of not just liturgical abuse, but of no less than spiritual child abuse.
Such a quest for self-fulfillment on the part of the priest is, of course, the antithesis of the spirit of the liturgy. According to Dr. Fitzgibbons, however, those who suffer with homosexuality often “see and treat their own pleasure as the highest end.”
As such, a substantial degree of tension exists between the homosexual cleric and the liturgy properly celebrated; indeed, the two are practically incompatible.
Dr. Fitzgibbons went on to say, however, that this tension can be breeched provided the cleric with SSA engages in intensive therapy and prayer with resolute determination, but even then only with great difficulty.
All of this having been said, it would seem to me that the apparent (nay, evident) increase in the number of priests who suffer with homosexuality, coupled with the liturgical crisis that emerged in all of its fullness in the decades after the Council, has created a perfect storm.
In the traditional Roman Rite, celebrated as it is in the Latin language and in the ad orientem posture, it’s relatively easy for the priest to “lose himself” in order to make room for Christ; his personality (and his underlying emotional health) remain largely hidden and of very little consequence.
In the Novus Ordo wherein the priest most commonly offers Mass in the vernacular language and in the versus populum posture (facing the people), by contrast, his personality (and at times his emotional health) is unavoidably on display.
Aware of the impact that his liturgical persona can have on the experience of the assembled faithful, the priest who celebrates Mass under these conditions cannot help but draw upon his personal resources in order to “perform” his duties in a compelling way.
Even in the best of circumstances, it is quite natural for the priest to feel so moved to perform his duties as the expectant eyes and ears of the faithful are ever cast upon him.
All of this represents a genuine burden for the priest who is not saddled with homosexuality. For the priest who is so saddled, however, that’s not necessarily the case.
For him, Mass celebrated versus populum (and the spotlight that necessarily comes with it) represents not so much a burden as an opportunity; a venue in which to indulge his disordered desires for attention, affirmation and self-gratification.
As such, it is reasonable to imagine that homosexual clerics are likely to be among the most virulent opponents of a widespread return to ad orientem worship. We might even say that homosexuality is the enemy of ad orientem worship.
One wonders, what led to the versus populum posture being adopted at Mass in the first place?
The Council Fathers didn’t explicitly encourage this dramatic change in the priest’s posture toward the people, nor did they call for the construction of free-standing altars to accommodate the practice.
Even the current edition of the Roman Missal for the Novus Ordo assumes that the priest is not facing the people.
As such, it is reasonable to wonder what sorts of influences and pressures within the presbyterate and the episcopacy itself may have allowed for such a radical liturgical innovation to take hold so quickly.
Could it be that an increase in the number of priests who suffer with homosexuality played a hand in bringing about the versus populum posture?
For insight, consider the following taken from the infamous John Jay Report that was commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
This graph represents “Incidents of Sexual Abuse by Year of Occurrence.” Given that these cases of clerical sexual abuse are overwhelmingly homosexual in nature, it is reasonable to infer a direct correlation to the number of priests suffering with SSA.
On close inspection, we find a steep increase in such abuse beginning in the mid-1950’s; just as liturgical experimentation was gathering worldwide momentum in the Church.
From there, we see a spike in such activity over a 10+ year period beginning in the late 1960’s, with unforeseen levels being maintained from 1970 and into the much of the 1980’s.
This just happens to be the very point in time during which the push to create a “priest-as-centerpiece” liturgy (celebrated versus populum) reached critical mass and had become the new international “normal.”
Coincidence? Perhaps, but then again maybe not.
Now, I certainly don’t wish to imply that the move to create a versus populum liturgy is best understood as a simple case of homosexual activism. Certainly, it was driven in large measure by those who wished to make the Mass more “heretic friendly.”
Even so, it would seem naïve to discount the role that clerical homosexuality (like leaven) may have played in promoting a liturgical agenda that dovetails so comfortably with the emotional neediness that comes with the territory.
Likewise, I am not suggesting that every priest who opposes a return to the ad orientem posture at Mass is struggling with narcissism, much less homosexuality. Many, I presume, are simply caught up in the momentum of the times.
That said, there’s little doubt in my mind that the versus populum liturgical “lump” that rose to prominence in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s was “leavened” in no small measure by the corresponding increase in the number of homosexuals in the clergy.
After all, these are men who, according to Dr. Fitzgibbons, are predisposed to “seeking the approval of the laity by treating the liturgy as performance or by otherwise calling attention to himself.”
Since the Priest acts “In Persona Christi”, he should be facing The Father in Heaven as “Alter Christus.”
The Church must NOT be accomidating The Current Heretics, who reject the Idea of an “Alter Christus”, since they DENY Sacrifice.
I heard a “priest” begin a Mass with the exclamation “OK – let’s get this show on the road!” Showiness and anger- two proof marks of the attention seeker.
This case has been made many times before but we need to keep some things in mind about the TLM. In dioceses like Camden, it is offered almost exclusively by aberosexuals. Not everyone comes to the TLM for the orthodoxy, some just like lace. In fact, for years after the Council, the only place to get decent traditional vestments was from the gay peddlers in England. And does anyone remember the Society of St. John?
You’re as likely to find a sodomite at a high TLM as you are in an antique shop. For this reason, I agree with Belloc that the 20min daily low Mass is the single greatest source of grace in my life.
I beg all the readers of AkaCatholics to please pray and have Holy Masses offered for Ireland, which is under the control of Satan and his demons. Please pray especially for the Catholic defenders of the unborn children who have sacrificially worked to save babies from being sent to baby-killing factories in England and elsewhere from those abortion companies’ agencies in Ireland. The pro-abortionist horde, promoted constantly by the so-called Media and backed by NWO organisations are rabidly attacking these long suffering Catholics who stand up against evil and work with pregnant women to help mother and baby escape from the clutches of the abortion agencies. They are particularly targeting a great Catholic couple, and the Media, and other institutions are assisting them in persecuting them and tomorrow plan to hurt and intumidate them by gathering to threaten them in a crowd at their premises. The bishops (and most priests and religious) are as for decades in gross dereliction of their duties and nowhere to be seen when it comes to defending Faith and morals or persecuted Catholics. I’m sorry, with the distress on top of everything, I can’t write clearly what I intend. Thank you. God bless you all and all the persecuted Catholics. Lynda
You know what I like about the 20min daily low Mass? It’s that it will go ahead with or without you and that it forms a part of the priest’s daily Divine Office. That should put us in our place, especially in relation to the priesthood.
Absolutely. Haven’t we all met people who are convinced that Father can’t say Mass if no one show up?
Yes Lynda, I remember Ireland every night in my prayers – St. Columba in particular – to wake them up & get them on the streets demanding the casting out of Modernists in government, hierarchy, media, schools etc. They are letting a very small percentage dictate to them what they must allow in order not to be shunned by the rest of the world. The UN & EU in particular have them by the throat.
The Human Rights Act has given a very small percentage of the global population the right to trample on the democratic rights of the majority without any confrontation coming from the Vatican or national governments who, in the pc environment, are either afraid to open their mouths or are in complete agreement with it. I was disgusted to hear Mary McAleese saying the CC should be more welcoming to homosexuals, just because she has a son with that orientation. Does she expect them to change the Ten Commandment so that he & his friends can feel ‘welcome’?
You encounter liturgies where the priest puts his personality into it. Nothing kills the sense of the supernatural more than that.
This does not apply only to homosexual men. If the Church did away with performing to the people the “look at me, it’s all about me” feminists would immediately cease their clamoring for women priests.
Speaking of the “enemies of ad orientem” Mr. V, I wonder what you think of Bishop Fellay’s words in his recent conference tape circulating on the net which has Hillary White shouting on her blog: “IT’S A TRAP!”
minute 3:00 – 4:05 – “In fact, Rome is offering us a new body, with a head, a bishop. This bishop, chosen, chose by the Pope. Three names, shall [be] presented by the Society, and taken in the Society. The bishop will have authority above priests, above religious who want to be members, and above faithful. All the sacraments. The faithful who belong to this body will have the strict right to receive all the sacraments from the priests of the Society.
2) 4:52 – 5:06 – “For you, no change from what you have now. The only thing will be recognition that you are Catholics.”
3) 5:25 – 6:16 – “In itself, you cannot imagine anything better than what is offered there. That such a thing, you cannot think that’s a trap. It’s NOT a trap. That is not what it is. Offering something like that can ONLY produce much good for us….[imperceptible] it will cause Tradition to spread in the Church.
Especially his last line:
IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO THINK THT SUCH A THING COULD BE MEANT BY THE ENEMY. THE ENEMIES HAVE MANY OTHER WAYS TO CRUSH US DOWN.”
Miss White asks whether he’s on drugs. I’m still shaking my head wondering if it’s early onset Alzheimer’s….
If the typical adolescent N.O. priest were forced to celebrate mass “ad orientum”, I believe many of them would have a photo of their smiling face imprinted in the back of the vestments.
Sexual perversion goes hand in hand with everything that happens in the world. Obama was introduced to Michelle to cover up his sexual deviancy. Hillary Clinton is a Lesbian. The Homosexual Mafia inside of the Vatican forced Pope Benedict’s phony resignation.
All priests must contemplate the words of St. John the Baptist before commencing the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass: He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).
His explains further the persona of MV of CMTV who was dismissed from the seminary for “lacking in maturity” and who, as E Michael Jones explains, displayed (and continues to display) narcissistic behaviour.
You mean you heard a priest begin a Novus Ordo club/social gathering with this exclamation which is what it is.
Haven’t you noticed no one calls the Novus Ordo the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? The reason they do not is because it is neither holy nor a sacrifice.
I only wish these correlations were demonstrative, but they are not. Unfortunately, some are mere coincidental and subject to being criticized as ‘post hoc, ergo propter hoc’ lines of reasoning.
The relatively low number of reports of homosexuality and pedophilia among ordained priests in the 1950’s might be explained by many factors, not the least of which could be how extremely insulated from any scrutiny the clerics were in certain cultures.
On the other hand, we have instances of rampant pedophilia and homosexuality in certain religious institutes that supposedly were totally committed to the vetus ordo, for example, the Society of St. John. As well, cases have arisen in similar institutes as well.
The elaborate rubrics of the pre-Conciliar liturgy are no necessary indication that the ordained is not warped by narcissism.
In fact, there are numerous fine ordained priests who were formed and only have said the ‘novus ordo missae’ in the vernacular, although these would be those who have been diligent in seeking to fulfill the maximal requirements of the rubrical directives and also in serving the Church by promoting and defending both orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
Mucho gracias, Ana Milan! Of course, there is no natural or God-given orientation other than man and woman made for life long marriage and procreation. God bless you.
My heart bleeds for the remaining true and “good” Catholics in Ireland. This downward spiral into Satanism in Ireland was bought and paid for by the reptilian Soros.
He paid $400,000 to the wretched, evil government of Ireland to “pass” the Same Sex Marriage Act – which they did willingly, as the precursor of the continuing diabolical attack on the Family…..Abortion.
He has also paid $500,000 to the SAME government to overturn the Irish Anti-Abortion Law which they are ALSO happy to do. Anything for money; even the ultimate betrayal of Almighty God.
Apparently Irish politicians and their equally diabolical supporters are more than willing to follow in the footsteps of their anti-hero Judas [ who settled for 30 pieces of silver ] with the added advantage of inflation! $900,000 to betray Jesus AGAIN?……. they obviously think so – God have mercy on them because they DO know what they’re doing.
I wonder why, when talking about the 50s, people here ignore the sworn testimony of Bella Dodd?
The ex- communist bigwig who, before her conversion to Catholicism, admitted that the Communists placed 1,100 communist young male infiltrators into our seminaries with the command to destroy the Church from within.
Every one of those infiltrators was willing to do ANYTHING to bring ongoing shame, disgrace and ruin into the heart of the Church .
This was due to Marx’s exhortation that trying to destroy the Catholic Church from OUTSIDE was a waste of time – it could only be done from within.
Some of them reached the hierarchy of the Church [ cover-ups in high places?]