A German theologian says that much of the homophobia in the Catholic Church can be traced to the large number of gay priests who are attempting to suppress their sexual orientation.
The Irish Times reports that David Berger, an expert on St. Thomas Aquinas and former publisher of a Catholic magazine, called on the Church to acknowledge its many gay priests and change its teaching on homosexuality in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine.
“It must be acknowledged that a large number of Catholic clerics and trainee priests in Europe and the United States are homosexually-inclined,” said Berger.
He added, “The worst homophobia in the Catholic Church comes from homophile priests, who are desperately fighting their own sexuality. Obviously, those who follow their urges are repudiated more fiercely when one is so painfully repressing that disposition oneself.”
Berger, who is gay, recalled spending time in conservative Catholic circles with upper-class Germans who praised Hitler for imprisoning and murdering gay people in concentration camps. Now a teacher near Cologne, his book Der heilig Schein (The Holy Illusion), which tells the story about his experiences with the church, is being published this week.