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Kenneth Cleaver 

Consumer Correspondent

November 4, 2005

Rev. J. Cletus Kiley

Executive Director

Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

3211 Fourth Street, N.E.

Washington, DC 20017

Dear Rev. Kiley:

Far be it from me to challenge the ideological supremacy of Pope Benedict XVI, but it seems that if the Church stands for anything, it's holding firm with the past. Tradition. The Saints. The Sacraments. The Easter Egg Hunts.

So why should we purge gay men from the priesthood?

The priesthood long has been a gay calling. This is not a value judgment, it's fact.

It might seem like a strange analogy, but I purchase clothing manufactured in overseas sweatshops because a) I don't have much of a choice, and b) that others suffer to provide me with a good deal infuses my apparel with meaning. It's the same thing with gay priests. The fact that their sexuality is so embattled and that they're so repressed really adds value to the Catholic experience for me.

Recent news from The Vatican indicates that priests who've been celibate for three years will be eligible for the seminary. I suppose that's better than an outright ban, but why three years? And how does anyone prove their celibacy? If one's going to make a vow of lifetime chastity, shouldn't they be permitted a little nooky before the dry spell? That's what Mardi Gras is about, no?

Please advise.

Sincerely,

Kenneth H. Cleaver Read the Response.

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