Father Donald Cozzens, PhD is a psychologist and the former president-rector of St. Mary’s Seminary in Cleveland, Ohio. In his books “The Changing Face of the Priesthood” and “Freeing Celibacy.” He unveils the fact that a very large percentage of Catholic priests are gay. In his book “Freeing Celibacy” in chapter six, which is entitled “Celibacy and Homosexuality,” he states bluntly “the growing awareness that the priesthood is or is becoming a gay profession” [page 65].
Many priests have E-mailed me and expressed their rage and anger over the hypocrisy of the Catholic hierarchy in supporting anti-marriage equality legislation. They have often referred to the bishops as “old queens” who blithely support anti-gay efforts, because of their own self-loathing. One of the organizations, which the bishops have effectively employed to do their dirty work, has been the Knights of Columbus.
Specifically in California, the K of C donated large amounts of monies to the “yes on Prop 8” campaign. Priests feel impotent to fight back because they are kept in positions of economic servitude by their bishops. Cozzens explains why priests are paid in such a Byzantine fashion in his book “The Changing Face of the Priesthood.” Most people express surprise when I tell them that priests are "self-employed" and also receive a "W-2 Form" from the Diocese for their taxes. Self employed persons are not protect like employees by labor laws.
Beyond the issue of salary, priests traditionally receive a BA in Philosophy and then, another four-year degree which is a Masters in Divinity. Neither of these two degrees is very easily translatable into secular employment. This effectively makes it very difficult for a priest to transition out of active ministry. A young priest from the Mid-west recently told me “they gave us all the training we needed to be effective counselors, teachers, administrators, etc BUT they made damn sure we never got any of the credentials necessary to get secular employment in any of those fields.” This is no mere coincidence.
So, what can priests do to fight the anti-gay agenda of the bishops and the K of C? Here is a short list:
1) Borrow the full amount against your Knights of Columbus life insurance policy immediately. Take the check and invest the funds with an LGBT friendly fund. If every priest and K of C insurance policy holder were to do this, it would create a considerable capital drain on K of C and cripple their ability to write large checks to thwart LGBT legislation and ballot initiatives.
2) If you are a layperson, write them at tell them why you have done this. If you are a priest, simply inform them that you have decided to use the funds to promote social justice.
3) Pastors have the power to decide what is published in the Sunday bulletin and what is announced at Mass on Sundays. Do not let the K of C publish or announce.
4) Pastors may grant or withhold permission for organizations to use church facilities for their meetings. Most parishes have very tight facility scheduling. Create a program and tell the K of C they need to meet elsewhere.
Eventually, they will get the message. Economic boycotts helped bring down an unjust regime in South Africa and brought an end to apartheid there, it can work here too.
- Boycott the Knights of Columbus
- A wedding sermon.
- An open letter to my parish community.
- Why was a college student in the car of drunken Archbishop-elect Cordileone at 12:26 AM, when Cordileone was arrested for a DUI?
- When the Church married Same-Sex couples.
- The Supreme Court’s Decisions and the New Mason-Dixon Line
- How It All began
- What the Vatican & American bishops DO NOT want you (and Politicians) to know.
- The Morality of Sex, gay & straight.
- San Francisco in archbishop Cordileone’s sight