News / USA

Gay Former Priest Sees Hope in Pope’s Gesture

Papal Outreach Gives Hopei
X
August 02, 2013 8:35 PM
While the Roman Catholic hierarchy is emphasizing that Pope Francis' recent comment on gays signifies no change in Vatican doctrine, one gay former priest sees hope. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Related Articles

Henry Huot has kept the implements from his 17 years as priest in a rural New Hampshire diocese.

“This is the chalice I used for daily Mass, actually, given to me by my parents,” he said, removing a pewter goblet from its black case. “I kept it, and will keep it, for the rest of my life.”

He gave up the ministry 22 years ago.

“Gradually what happened is my sexual desires, my sexual attractions, became more keenly felt, and I had to deal with them,” he said, adding that while he was always attracted to men, he didn’t act on it as priest.

“For myself, and I think there were others like me, we just kind of put sexuality on the shelf, and our pastoral work filled our days," he said.

He even tried counseling. Now he is a social worker and lives with his longtime partner in an apartment in a suburb of Washington.

And he’s been transfixed by the coverage of the comments the Pope made on the way back from a visit to Brazil. Francis spent 80 minutes talking to reporters on the plane about a wide range of subjects, and he answered a question about gay clergy with a nonjudgmental reflection.

“If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?,” said the pontiff.

That comment, as well as others about the role of women and his plans to reform the Vatican bank, have cast Francis as a new kind of pope. But while the Roman Catholic hierarchy was emphasizing that he has not changed any doctrine, Huot said, for a leader of the Roman Catholic Church merely to use the word "gay" was significant.

“It’s huge,” said the former clergyman. “I mean, it doesn’t come across as clinical anymore, or ‘Vaticanese.’”

The last pope said gay men should not become priests and described homosexual attraction as “objectively disordered.”

Huot believes the new pope eventually will make changes, although he himself is happy with his new life as a social worker.  As he puts away his paraphernalia, he opens his old sacraments book one more time and reads the exhortation said at the end of Mass.

“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JimD
August 03, 2013 8:10 PM
Let's see, do I listen to Paul or a man in a funny hat.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 02, 2013 7:10 PM
“If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?,” said the pontiff.

I am sorry but I can not understand the exact meanings of the above due to my poor ability of English comprehension. In short, would the pontiff like to admit gay priests?

In Response

by: Marc from: Los Angeles
August 03, 2013 3:22 AM
Yoshi: It's a mystery to me as a native speaker, and one who understands the Pope's original Italian comments. In fact, the world knows it's a mystery to everyone but the Pope.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid