Several years ago, I attended a conference on fatherhood at McGill University in Montreal. A professor of sociology, a woman, gave a depressing presentation on the rising number of suicides of young men in Canada and elsewhere.

In the middle of her presentation an older man arose and interrupted her. “Stop!” he said. “Why are you discussing this? The real crisis is the glass ceiling that women assistant professors of theology face when they try to become full professors! Don’t waste your time on trivial issues! Concentrate on the real problems!”

I asked who the jerk was and was informed it was Gregory Baum. Ah yes, Gregory Baum, super-liberal theologian and peritus at the Second Vatican Council.

He has gone public with his extremely varied sex life: active homosexuality, marrying an ex-nun and also having sex with men, etc.

In his new book, Baum writes, “I was 40 years old when I had my first sexual encounter with a man. I met him in a restaurant in London. This was exciting and at the same time disappointing, for I knew what love was and what I really wanted was to share my life with a partner.”

He says he considered resigning from the priesthood but didn’t go through with the formality, rather choosing to announce it in the national newspaper. He later married a divorced ex-nun who he says “did not mind that, when we moved to Montreal in 1986, I met Normand, a former priest, with whom I fell in love.” Normand, he explains, “is gay and welcomed my sexual embrace.”

Such a man has guided the theological development of modern times. No wonder the church has problems, from the top down.

When I was in college there was a priest who was on an important Vatican commission. Once I saw him sitting with a close friend of mine in the cafeteria. They were not talking. I walked over and cheerily greeted them and put my tray down. The priest rose in a rage and shouted “Never sit down at a priest’s table without his permission!”

Later I learned that this super-clericalist also had a love nest off campus, furnished with oriental rugs and antiques, in which he and a clique of homosexual students cavorted.

It would be nice to have saints in the Vatican, but why can’t we at least have men of decent character? The medieval lamentations about the corruption of the church are all too relevant today.

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