Sunday, May 28, 2006

Catholic Church Fires Gay Music Director

(Kansas City, Missouri) Joseph Nadeau prayed for storms when he was an altar boy, hoping the lights would go out and he'd be picked to play the church's creaking organ to celebrate Holy Mass. Now in his mid-thirties, Nadeau's bold spiritual arrangements have brought dozens of parishioners to his suburban parish in Roeland Park, Kan.

But last Sunday, Nadeau ended his last Mass at St. Agnes Catholic Church with a wrenching solo on "God Help the Outcasts." It was his other life, as the artistic director of one of the nation's largest gay male choirs, that ultimately cost him his job.

"I've known I was gay since I was 15 or 16," said the soft-spoken Nadeau at his brick home in Kansas City. "My parish priest told me just follow your heart and you can't go wrong. I can't think of doing anything else."

The Roman Catholic Church views homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered," and in November held that priests who support "so-called gay culture" cannot be ordained. While Vatican teachings also instruct that gays and lesbians should be treated with compassion, church employees are expected to live in accordance with Catholic doctrine.

The church's decision to let Nadeau's contract lapse, however, comes at a time when the role of homosexuals is causing debates inside churches nationwide - though the bulk of those conversations never go public.

In January, St. Agnes Catholic Church hierarchy summoned Nadeau into a closed-door meeting, he said. Pastor Gary Appelgate told Nadeau that to continue as music director, he needed to resign from Kansas City's Heartland Men's Chorus, take a vow of celibacy and acknowledge that homosexuality was a disorder, Nadeau said.

So let me get this straight. This church is firing a man because he is gay and refuses to take a vow of celibacy and acknowledge that homosexuality is a disorder? Never mind that he gave 8 years of his life in dedicated service to this church. Never mind that there is not even a mention of dissatisfaction with his work. Never mind that his biggest sin was to accept what he could not change.

I just want to know one thing, why didn’t the Catholic Church feel the need to cleanse itself of the pedophile priests or those who enabled them? Why did it look the other way when priests who had taken the vow of celibacy broke them, and in a most heinous way? Why are gays and lesbians “intrinsically disordered”, but priests who rape children are not? Why was there a place in the Catholic Church for these rapists and their enablers for so many decades, but no place for gays now?

I just do not understand how anyone can take the Catholic Church seriously anymore. This is an institution that has so lost its way. Again I have to ask: how can anyone walk through the doors of an institution that for decades allowed and facilitated the sexual abuse of its most vulnerable, but still thinks it holds enough moral high ground to tell us that gays are evil?

Hat tip to Pam Share

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