In reviewing NARTH’s posting of Zenit’s interview with Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons (described as “a psychiatrist, author and contributor to the Catholic Medical Association’s document “Homosexuality and Hope.””) it quickly became clear that an analysis of the content would be lengthy, cumbersome and boring. Dr. Fitsgibbons does not add anything new to the debate but instead simply restates a litany of stereotypes, myths and lies.
So why is NARTH posting the article? Surely they have some purpose. So I will attempt to see if we can identify the reason both for the article and for the posting.
The article was issued by Zenit, a Catholic news service and was issued at the time that the new ruling from the Vatican was released. It appears that this interview is a sort of pseudo-secular justification of the Pope’s significant change in the Church’s position on celibate gay priests.
The positions stated as though fact are:
* Those with “deep seated homosexual tendencies” are defined as those who identify as being homosexual.
* Same-sex attractions are “due to profound weakness in male confidence”
* Gay priests have “significant affective immaturity with excessive anger and jealousy toward males” and “a much higher prevalence of psychiatric illness”.
* Further, they “may even experience strong physical and sexual attraction to adolescent males, as has occurred in the crisis in the Church”.
* “Also, priests would be helped if the “crisis boundary” programs did not mask the role of homosexuality in the abuse of the adolescent male victims. Instead, these programs should describe why adult males might be sexually attracted to adolescents and how this conflict can be resolved.”
The article goes on in length with the same sort of stuff but also plays up the ex-gay efforts.
By contrast to “deeply seated tendency” homosexuals, “those with mild homosexual tendencies do not identify themselves as homosexuals. Such men are motivated to understand and to overcome their emotional conflicts. They regularly seek psychotherapy and spiritual direction.”
However, Fitzgibbons never says that those with mild tendencies should be allowed to continue to serve. He simply veers back into repeating the same negative unbased lies.
Clearly this piece was to justify the position taken by the Pope. If gay priests are immature, angry, jealous, and psychiatrically ill, then surely they are a danger to other priests and should be removed. If they experience strong sexual attraction to adolescent males, then they can and must be blamed for the Church’s molestation scandal.
So this article was written and distributed by a “news source” that defines itself as “specializing in coverage of the Holy Father, life in the Holy See, and events of interest to the Church.” Though I am generally reluctant to make accusations of this sort, it is clear to me that this article is pure propaganda designed to serve the political needs of the Roman Catholic Church.
Why then is it on the website of a purportedly secular psychiatric organization? Who is it designed to reach?
This article would be immediately dismissed by any person who had lived any period of time as gay-identified. Very few people would read this an see in themselves immaturity, anger, jealousy, pedophilia, effeminacy, lack of male confidence, and the host of other attributes that Fitzgibbons glibly assigns to all homosexuals. So we can conclude the target audience of this posting is not gay people seeking help with same-sex attractions. In fact, most of those with same-sex attractions would be somewhat put off by Fitzgibbon’s advice to go away and not embarrass the church.
“…those in formation in religious communities with same-sex attractions have a serious responsibility to protect the Church from further shame and sorrow.”
Further, any family member seeking advice would probably not look at Fitzgibbon’s descriptions and recognize their loved ones. Unless, of course, their relationship was so frayed that they had no honest communication with their “loved ones”.
Who is left? It seems to me that this article is posted for the pleasure of those who either do not have a familiarity with gay people or else have a vested interest in the continued stereotyping of gay persons. The audience most likely to be attracted by this article comprises anti-gay activists or those willing to contribute money to fight some “homosexual agenda”.