.- Father Thomas J. Euteneur, president of Human Life International (HLI) has written an open letter to a Jesuit priest chastising the cleric for using a homily at a student Mass to declare that he was homosexual.
Father Thomas Brennan, SJ, at a Sunday evening Mass at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia tied his announcement to the Diversity Week being celebrated by the Jesuit university. He said his homosexuality was one of the "worst-kept secrets" on campus, though he neglected to explain in his homily Catholic teaching about homosexuality.
Fr. Euteneur explained the reasons for his letter to Fr. Brennan, saying that the Jesuit priest's public declaration justified a public response.
Rebuking the inappropriate way that Fr. Brennan made his announcement, the HLI president said "Holy Mass is not a forum for your self-expression. You chose the sacred liturgy and the pulpit reserved for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the launching pad for your personal testament to homosexuality, when by your own admission this was hardly a secret to anyone. One wonders if you would have inflicted details of your personal life on a friend while officiating at his wedding or any other sacred occasion. The effect would be the same: the derailing of the focus of attention from the host to you. Youâve read the same documents Iâve read about the liturgy, and all of them say the Mass is not your personal stage."
Fr. Euteneur explained the nature of the sacrament of Holy Orders, saying that a priest becomes "another Christ" and witnesses with his very body the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In his letter he also questioned Father Brennan about the priestly sacramental witness of his sexuality. Fr. Euteneur suggested the Jesuit priest had disordered motives for embracing the celibate state:
"A heterosexual celibate renounces his natural desire for wife and children in order to serve the Bride of Christ in a direct spousal relationship. A homosexual celibate renounces an unholy desire for members of the same sex: that is a renunciation of a disorder, not the embrace of a Bride."
Fr. Brennan was also rebuked for his neglect of his congregation's needs. "When even a celibate priest chooses to go public about his homosexual identity as an expression of âdiversityâ or âpride,â the faithful are rightfully confused and scandalized. Not only do you owe them an apology, you owe them a better example of priesthood," Fr. Euteneur said.
In closing Euteneur urged Fr. Brennan both to be a priest who teaches clearly and unambiguously about Catholic teaching on homosexual acts, and to become a strong and loving father for his congregation.