Boston Magazine has an article, “Becoming a Priest at an Unpopular Time.” It provoked various comments, such as this one by John Schuster (who another commentator says is a priest):

The Roman Catholic priesthood is a predominantly closeted gay profession. The previous poster, John, hit the nail on the head. Seminarian Eric will either be shocked or relieved to discover this reality. Three types of people are drawn to the priesthood: idealists, closeted gay men, and predators. Most of the idealists have left because they came to the realization that they built their vocation to the priesthood on a sexual toxic dump, and had little power to change this rich and powerful two-faced culture. That leaves easily extorted closeted gay men having to deal with cunning predators who know how to play the system. And you, good Catholics, end up paying for it all.

This is harsh, but not completely inaccurate. Apparently the proportion of gays in the priesthood is increasing. Some are at peace with celibacy and church teachings, but many are not.

But Schuster leaves out the biggest category: the merely mediocre. The clergy and religious life have provided a way for people who might be assist bank managers or sales clerks to get titles such as Father, Monsignor, Sister, Your Excellency, etc., and receive deference they would never have received if they had pursued a life in the world. They have a guaranteed income for life and never have to worry about insurance, pensions, unemployment, etc.

A friend of mine, who was a religious priest, was in a religious house in Manhattan when the 9/11 attack occurred. He went downtown immediately, but all of his fellow priests stayed in the house and watched TV. One priest was so lazy that he would do nothing, and my friend had to lure him out of the house and change the locks to get rid of him.

Active gays, unhappy gays, predators – they are certainly present, but the underlying problem is mediocrity. The mediocre are happy with their comfortable berths, and want nothing to disturb their repose. Zeal is absent, and they certainly have no desire to cleanse the priesthood of the elements that corrupt it.

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