I have read a book called Goodbye Good Men and I was shocked and tossed it in the waste basket. When I called my brother in Dayton and mentioned the book and that it concerned gays in seminaries, he told me that he knew the author when he lived in the Cincinnati area. He also told me that the author is credible and his book well researched. I love my brother but since he is not infallible, I brought the question up at a recent Catholic conference and received the same answer.
I simply ask blog members to comment on the book if they have read it and if not, comment on the subject of gays in seminaries. I always thought it was impossible for gays to be admitted to seminaries because it would be like me going to a seminary surrounded by young women. I shouldn’t have to elaborate on the consequences. Your thoughts please…
I read the book and while it was very disturbing, it was a real eye-opener. The author uses many first- hand testimonials from men who either give their real name or an alias.
I felt it was very thoroughly researched and in my opinion, very credible. I did not feel the author embellished any of the information he presented.
I passed the book on to my friend who is a very devout Catholic and I feel she can handle the information without losing her faith. I highly recommend the book for those who can read the information and not become disillusioned.
I have a much better understanding now of why I was so poorly catechized and why some priests had given me such poor direction when I was younger. On the positive side, I am happy to say the Holy Spirit has continued to guide the Church and bring strong, orthodox men into the priesthood. The book shows this as well.
I think it’s worth pointing out that the book was published in 2002, the year the abuse scandal broke in Boston. Much of the research and first-hand stories would therefore have dated from the 1990’s or earlier. This would all have been before the admission screenings concerning same-sex attraction and lifestyle that are now in place.
I’ve read the book and it was disturbing. Also heard first-hand accounts of gay activity in seminaries. The seminary at Saint Francis College in Loretto, PA, was closed due to homosexual activity. I think it may be pretty common in the discernment period.
“Goodbye, Good Men” is not primarily about homosexuality in the seminaries, it is about liberalism in the seminaries, and, ultimately, the episcopate. The point is that the "vocations crisis"is largely something deliberately created by liberals to force orthodox men out of the priesthood. The same phenomenon occurred among women’s religious orders. There is no question that this has happened.
There may be no question, or there may be. There are a number of reasons why there is a vocations crisis, and undoubtedly it was helped on in some seminaries if there was a significant number of homosexuals studying.
But to blame the vocations crisis on a single issue is to ignore reality, and to paint all people with one brush.
I have often said that two words that should be barred from intelligent conversation are the words “always” and “never”, as they are often used by the speaker for emphasis rather than literally, but are often heard as literally meant.
There has never been, as far as I have been able to determine, any survey to establish in a given period how many men who were ordained were homosexual. 20 years ago, the numbers floating around were anywhere from 10% to 80% (and I find both ends hard to believe).
And it surprises me when people are shocked that someone who is homosexual would seek to be ordained.
It makes for a perfect foil to the questions of "When are you going to (find a nice wife) (get married) or some take on the above. There have been more that a few articles commenting on the disproportionate number of homosexuals in the arts - music, theater, etc. and where is some of the greatest art (and going back some time) and some of the greatest music?
When I was in high school, several of us students would catch a ride with one of two priests who taught at the high school. It didn’t take me very long to choose to ride with one of them, as the other one made me uncomfortable (I had no other contact with him than the ride in each morning). 24 years late he was convicted of criminal charges of homosexual conduct, and was the first priest, I believe, to be so convicted (this was in 1986).
Keep in mind that the fact that a man is homosexual does not mean that he is sexually active with others.
And my comments above should not be meant to disparage anyone who was or is ordained and may have a homosexual orientation. I do not presume that anyone who entered seminary did so as simply a means of “hiding”. On the other hand, to presume that all who enter seminary have only and strictly the purest of motives with no others mixed in is to presume that those entering are not human. A point we sometimes forget.
I haven’t read it, but have heard of it and it seems well respected.
One thing to keep in mind is that it tends to be the case that when an expose breaks, the peak of the crisis is generally over. Problems may remain at that time, but it may also be the case that the reaction to the crisis is well developed as well by that time. Somebody else will have to address that here, but it does seem to me that Catholic orthodoxy really began to get its act together about a decade ago or so and I suspect that attention on the problems in the seminaries may have been addressed by now, although I’d let somebody more knowledgeable comment on that.
The added problem, of course, is that it takes decades for problems caused by poor catechisis and poor seminaries to really work themselves out, even when the source of the problem has been addressed. But at least to me, it seems that things have improved a great deal in these areas.
Jet Jockey what you had read was true. A person I know attended a Seminary not to far from San Francisco. A hot bed for gay recruits. At the time, the Bishop of the time was welcoming to the gays since they filled up the quota of men. Numbers were high because of this and it high numbers made this Bishop proud and boastful. Many Catholic staff members were gay supporters and later were found to be practicing gayness. Since key staff supported gay students many were welcomed. So one can say that at least in the mid eighties 1/4 and possibly more were gay or were considering the gay lifestyle. Yes, for them it was like a child in a candy store.
Having browsed the book (but admittedly not read all of it) my short answer would be that what it describes is true. the uncle of a friend of mine was a religious novice around about the time the book focusses on (1970’s / 1980’s) - he once told me how he went to a gay bar while in the novitiate and saw his novice master there!
That said, it must be remembered that what Michael rose, the author, describes, is essentially what he set out to find. To put it another way, his work is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rose did not approach this subject from a neutral standpoint - nor, in fairness to him, does he claim to have.
So what he describes is not necessarily typical of all seminaries during that time, or indeed at all. While I do not doubt Rose’s bonafides, at the same time I do not believe that he approached his subject with a completely open mind but rather with pre-conceptions (which of course we all have). It is not at all representative of seminaries now - nor does rose suggest it is. Rather, it is indicative of seminaries during a particular time (basically, the 1980’s). It is not however representative of seminary formation today - nor would Rose claim it is.
As far as the vocations crisis is concerned, I can understand how what Rose describes may well have contributed - although having said that some of those who left may well have been unsuited for priesthood on other grounds.- but that’s a long way from saying it’s a substantial cause, let alone the operative cause. IMHO the causes and roots run far deeper.