Homosexual Jesuit Needs Refresher Course in Priestly Love

On Sunday, November 4th, Rev. Thomas Brennan, S.J., revealed publicly to a parish at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia that he was a homosexual. The priest chose to "come out" during a so-called "Diversity Week" allegedly dedicated to honoring Jesuit founder, St. Ignatius Loyola. The following is Fr. Euteneuer's open letter to Fr. Brennan.

Dear Father Brennan,

Faithful Catholics are so accustomed to being scandalized by Jesuit priests and universities these days that your public announcement of your same sex attraction during the Mass last Sunday does not really surprise any of us. It does, however, increase the indignation that people of faith have toward such shameless displays of clerical irresponsibility like this. There is something just plain wrong about abusing people's trust in the priesthood in such a public way, and since you chose to "go public" with this matter, a public response to your outrageous "outing" is merited.

First of all, Holy Mass is not a forum for your self-expression. You chose the sacred liturgy and the pulpit, reserved for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as the launching pad for your personal testament to homosexuality, when by your own admission this was hardly a secret to anyone. One wonders if you would have inflicted details of your personal life on a friend while officiating at his wedding or any other sacred occasion. The effect would be the same: the derailing of the focus of attention from the host to you. You've read the same documents I've read about the liturgy, and all of them say the Mass is not your personal stage.

Secondly, since you brought up the matter of sexuality, please consider what the sacrament of Holy Orders represents. A priest is "another Christ" (alter Christus), both sacramentally and existentially. That means the priest witnesses in his very body and person the Bridegroom who loved His wife (the Church) giving Himself up to death for her (Eph 5:25). In light of that, what, specifically, do you as a homosexual man witness? I am not talking about celibacy here. That is a form of Christian chastity to which you and I are called, and I trust that you are faithful to it. I am asking a more direct question about the sacramental witness of your gift of sexuality. A heterosexual celibate renounces his natural desire for wife and children in order to serve the Bride of Christ in a direct spousal relationship. A homosexual celibate renounces an unholy desire for members of the same sex: that is a renunciation of a disorder, not the embrace of a Bride.

When even a celibate priest chooses to go public about his homosexual identity as an expression of "diversity" or "pride," the faithful are rightfully confused and scandalized. Not only do you owe them an apology, you owe them a better example of priesthood. They deserve a priest who is clear about the Church's teaching on homosexual acts and who teaches it unambiguously. They need a priest who personally witnesses the same teaching without feeling the need to make statements about himself or inserting ideology into the Gospel. If you do not clearly witness the Church's teaching about your own vocation, how can you teach others to be faithful to theirs?

I would ask you, in the Name of Jesus, to go back to your congregation and offer them a renewed witness to your masculine love for Christ's Bride, the Church. Assure them that you will defend them in a manly way from all wolves that attack them, Jesuit or otherwise, and that you will be a strong and loving father for all their needs, not a man pre-occupied with his own orientation.

If you are unwilling to do that, I recommend that you make a thirty-day Ignatian retreat at Tyburn, England, where dozens of your Jesuit brethren were hung, drawn and quartered in the English Reformation — all for the sake of Christ's Bride. That would be a good refresher course in both theology and priestly love.

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  • Guest

    Wow, that's disturbing.  What did he hope to gain by "coming out" to his congregation?  He could certainly preach about the cross carried by people of same-sex attractions, while simultaneously emphasizing their call to chastity, but it doesn't seem that this was his intent.

  • Guest

    I choose not to judge Fr. Brennan, rather, I pray for him and the unknown number of homosexual priests (in or out of the closet).  Homosexuality is a illness, whether genetic or mental (or both) that needs to be researched with the focus on developing a cure.  It should not be tolerated as a legitmate third sex.   We should, no,we must love homosexuals, as our Lord Jesus does,  while hating the practice of homosexual acts of "love".  We should pray and work for a cure, and not merely condemn them to their fate.  

    What Fr. Brennan did was an act of poor judgement, and not, as he may of thought, an act of courage.  It would have been better for him to have sought the help of his Bishop and/or offer up his homosexuality as his Cross, and pray to the Holy Spirit to protect him and keep him and others like him from profaning the priesthood. 

  • Guest

    "Homosexuality is an illness" ? Really?

    You don't need to judge him. Judge his actions which I think Fr Euteneuer does well. I especially respect the following suggestion:

    If you are unwilling to do that, I recommend that you make a thirty-day Ignatian retreat at Tyburn, England, where dozens of your Jesuit brethren were hung, drawn and quartered in the English Reformation — all for the sake of Christ's Bride. That would be a good refresher course in both theology and priestly love.

    For argument's sake let's assume he simply wanted to unburden himself of this great sin he's been carrying in order to be healed. Out of respect for the "other" there are times one doesn't burden them with your sins. Go to confession. It may require self control to carry your own burden until you are sacramentally healed, however, God gives us a spirit of self control.

    Sometimes I use the line "what's your point?" when folks make mean or stupid or bullying or inappropriate comments. In this case I'd have to ask Fr. Brennan, "And, your point?"

    Thank you Fr Euteneuer for your faithful witness and excellent letter.

  • Guest

    The Jesuits are an order that has a problem with being to haughty at times. I thank God for the original Jesuits and what the order once stood for. Our sons are being educated in classics through a traditional Jesuit school in Cincinnati, OH. It is almost embarrassing to say it is named after a Jesuit – although he was martyr and lived for his faith – St. Edmund Campion.

    I am pleased with the rigorous education and character development that the school promotes and measures on the grade cards. My sons are pleased to "commendable" in various character traits. I am pleased too.



  • Guest

    How are the homosexuals getting into the priesthood?

    Isn't homosexuality an impediment to holy orders? 

    Doesn't that mean he isn't really priest?

    Shouldn't he be removed from ministry? Shouldn't he be immediately  layasized in any case?

    Insanity or lack of discretionary judgment into the nature of the marraige would invalidate a marraige..or would be terms of an annulment. Wouldn't the that actions of this man…I wont refer to him as a priest…sorry…mean he had serious mental reservations and lacked full discretionary judgment?

    This just doesn't make sense to me. 

    just wondering.Frown



  • Guest

    A huge number of priests would have to be removed from ministry/laicized if that were the case.  I know that now there are some guidelines about screening people with same-sex attractions prior to admitting them to the seminaries, but I don't think there's been a movement to remove those who were ordained during the 60s and 70s.  I personally don't have a problem with a gay priest as long as he is screened to determine whether he is able to keep his impulses under control and commit to celibacy, and as long as he acknowledges that acting on same-sex attraction is immoral and that people with same-sex attraction have a cross to bear of not acting on it.  

  • Guest

    As Archbishop Wilton Gregory said when the news first broke of abuse by priests.  "We have a homosexual problem".  He wasn't kidding.

    Pax et bonum. 

  • Guest

    I have to agree with others, what was his point in coming out.  If he needed to unburden himself, confession is the proper place to do this, not to the people he is suppose to be leading.  Homesexuality is becoming so widespread in this world today.  Nothing seems to surprise or call us to arms anymore.  This church needs to be doing something about homosexuality, especially if it pertains to our priests.  The church may be doing something, but all I see is articles.  Action needs to be taken and I hope it is.

  • Guest

    Interesting that there are two articles this day dealing with the important understanding of a priest as an image of Christ with the Church as His Bride.

    The mistaken notion that women can be ordained and the wrongful understanding of a priest who can live in an active sexual life – homosexual OR heterosexual – ignoring the commitment to Christ's bride (I know there are a few married priests, and there are different "eastern rites" that allow for that as well; I am not speaking about them) – is a problem.

    Commitment is a problem in our society. What happened to his vow of celibacy? I know someone can "come out" without necessarily being active, but…

     Am I missing something?

  • Guest

    "We have a homosexual problem".  That's the statement that hit's the target. This dastardly disorder can't leave order alone. It must draw attention to itself. To homosexuals, their orientation is their identity. Sin stamps you with its identity and makes you own it. Maybe subconsciously they're crying out for help with a public confession. A good psychiatrist might go somewhere with that. In any case, Jesuits clean up your order and restore it to its once honorable and graceful state. Those of us in the pews are not impressed or sensitized. We're just sickened.

  • Guest

    I wish we had more information.  Was he making a public confession (which would have been inappropriate), or was he "coming out" to give legitimacy to the gay lifestyle (which also would have been inappropriate).  Or was he coming out as a way to teach his parishioners that while he understands the cross of same-sex attraction, those who carry this cross are called to chastity?  (better, but still probably not appropriate, because as Goral points out, his orientation should not encompass his whole identity).

  • Guest

    He did it to "celebrate diversity."

    Besides he had already "come out" so it wasn't news to anybody: http://saintmaker.blogspot.com/2007/09/depaul-university-tramples-our-catholic.html

  • Guest

    So he, someone who is supposed to be a shepherd of the Church, was legitimizing the homosexual lifestyle.  Sad.

  • Guest

    Yes of course, St. Ignasius was thinking "diversity" when he started the Order. Celebrating diversity would be if a Jesuit made a coming out about being faithful to his vows and in support of the Magisterium. Mkochan, not only is this not news but it's boring and irritating to us. Very soon these guys will join the hippies of the sixties and the Dr. Pepper's lonley hearts club band.

  • Guest

    This comment doesn't speak to the homosexual issue at hand but, rather, the inappropriate use of the homily as a forum for self-expression.

    Several years ago my parish priest spilled his guts during the homily about his "skid-row bum" lifestyle.  It was shocking!  I and my children had to hear about week long drunken blackouts.  We now know he has cigarette burns all over his body for some of his drunken sprees.  We know he had only been in recovery for less than 5 years when he was ordained and made pastoral assistant of a large parish (there isn't a pastor).  He told us he attended AA meetings twice a week.  You can imagine the discussion that ensued during the car ride home!

    This priest, who was put on the fast track for ordination by his Oratory Order, went on to dress as Santa Claus during one Christmas Eve homily and even pretended VERY realistically to "shoot up"  IV drugs during a homily for a school mass. I'm not even detailing the repeated use of the alter as a counter top for his homily props.

    His behavior gutted the membership rolls (he was the impetus for our leaving) and ironically, 6 years after his ordination, he is hardly ever at the church.  He's sick with mystery illnesses. He's on vacation in his Brazilian homeland.  He's with his father who has cancer…for months. 

    I mention his homiletic  behavior because it has been indicative of his overall priesthood to this point.  I and at least several others who I know , have been denied confession because he was too busy (socializing).  He has sent provacative emails to beautiful friends of mine.  One was of deceased US solidiers coming together to form the face of George Bush.  He wrote to me that pro lifers are "white washed sepulchres".

    Are we so desperate for priests that just anybody will do?  I and many others have been so scandalized by his behavior that we can't call him "priest" or "Father".  That is horrible!  Saints throughout the ages have been clear about our obligation to honor priests.  Out of obedience I will try.  However, I sometimes wonder, like a previous poster, "Is this a valid ordination?"

    PS. Please be wary if you ever get a solicitation from the Oratory. 

  • Guest

    and as long as he acknowledges that acting on same-sex attraction is immoral and that people with same-sex attraction have a cross to bear of not acting on it.  ]]


    So we could ask the same thing of heterosexual priests?

    …oh…wait…we would have to have them live with a bunch of women for them to have the same challenge.

    Not unless they live as hermits…it's not the same.

    The very notion of living in a community of brothers would be a occasion to sin.

    It's not the same and we need to stop being so politically correct and acknowledge the obvious!!!!!!!!!  

    Gay men are sexually attracted to MEN.Surprised



  • Guest

    I don't know too many priests who live together these days.  It's not like the old days where priests lived together in the rectory.  I resent the fact that you're implying that I was being politically correct.  I am faithful to the teachings of the Church whether they're politically correct or not.

  • Guest

    According to St. Ignatius himself in the Constitutions:

    “…,diversity, which is generally the mother of discord, and the enemy of union of wills, should be avoided as far as possible.”

  • Guest

    Cultural diversity is fine. Moral diversity is very dangerous.  It is used to justify moral relativism, which denies the absolute truth of God and makes us gods of our own individual truth.

  • Guest

    I resent the fact that you're implying that I was being politically correct.  I am faithful to the teachings of the Church whether they're politically correct or not.]]


    I am sorry. I don't mean to question your sincerity at all. I can see this issue exasperates youjust as much as anyone else.

    We are all grappling with shadows here because the USCCB will not use the backbone God gave them and make a real stand in this issue.

    It's a spiritual battle and the bishops need to hold up the cross and say 'NO'! Not just for their own sake, but for the poor men and women who are oppressed with the evil spirit of homosexuality.

    It just seems to me that we are collectively being corralled  into agroup consensus regarding homosexuality that goes against the catholic church teachings by accepting homosexual men as priests.

    If the boyscouts can deny them, so can the church.

    They have no business being in position of authority in the catholic church.

    Honestly…it's common sense.





  • Guest

    Love the sinner, hate the sin.  Question – If a person admits to having a same sex attraction, and is not sexually active, is that person living a gay life style that is that person's doom ? I agree about the use of the pulpit and "coming out" as incorrect. But I cannot believe that the author of this article has been this hostle to all the gay priests that he has already met, lived with prayed with and worked with.  I think this sitation hit a nerve with the author.

  • Guest

    Common sense in the American church is in short supply, Madeline. It's been replaced by correctness of every ilk and cowardice for the sake of the earthly kingdom.

    Good find novusordoseculorum on the quote from St. Ignatius. Diversity is as much a problem socially as it is spiritually. It causes discord and division of every sort.

    It's still popular to spill your guts on Oprah and the other fony forums but not for long. I'm thinking that we turned the corner and sanity and sensibility will be back in vogue. Let's pray for JPII's army to mature faster than normal. 

  • Guest

    Thank you, Madeline.

  • Guest


    Which Oratory is this ? Each Oratorian house is basically independent of all the others, (the founder, St. Philip Neri, willed it to be so), so one house may be in serious trouble while others are perfectly fine. I know, from personal experience, that the Pittsburgh Oratory is orthodox, and I've heard good things about the houses in Pharr, Texas,  Toronto, Canada, and the three English houses, Birmingham, London, and Oxford.  

    That being said, it seems that this Oratorian priest is causing serious scandal. Have you tried to contact the Procurator General of the Oratorian Confederation ? The website is: http://www.oratoriosanfilippo.org/index.html


    If that does not help, could you get me documentation ? Perhaps the Oratorians I know would be able to alert the Apostolic Vistor that something is very wrong…  



  • Guest

    All I can add is "Amen!" and to say I'm praying for his congregation.

  • Guest

    I agree that the issue at bay is correctness of using the pulpit during Holy Mass to stray far from the readings and Christ's teaching.  I personally am not in favor in any way to homosexuality … but beleif a priest or anyones bent is a non-issue so long as they are chase out it.  Would a hetrosexual priest use a homily to identify they are attracted to Ms. Jones in the 3rd row?  Let's hope not.  This issue also reminds me of a deacon in our church who used his homily to demonstrate his personal position/belief in the non-viginity of Mary.  I called him to task not only for the position, but in using the mass as his vehilcle to communicat this.  Told him if he wants to call a seperate "educational" seminar to discuss this topic, that's his right – but don't polute the mass with anti-church teachings.  Our pastor backed this up I'm happy to say.

  • Guest

    Narwen, It is the Oratory in Rock Hill, SC.

    Several bishops of Charleston have been notified of the MANY aberrations  at this Oratory by numerous people over the decades.  A group has even written Rome about the several priests over there who so various things like:  allow women and noncatholics to read the gospel and give the homily and noncatholics who are welcomed to communion, and the laity saying the Eucharistic Prayer during "private" masses. One even said  in the newspaper,he'd "Rather be the Pope of Ft Mill" than pope of Rome (this statement was made after Pope Benedict was elected and the priest felt like Benedict XVI was just a "do nothing" pope marking time until someonebetter came along. Bishop Baker was notified about that by many of the faithful.  That priest went on to become provost of this Oratory!  NOTHING has ever been done.  Therefore, the faithful, who know better, have left over the years.  Many of the folks left are ignorant or "yes" men.

    I am open to suggestions on how to deal with this issue other than leaving the community (which we've done). Sadly, this ORatory has a stranglehold over this county in that they have been given exclusive rights to serve it.  There is NO chance of ever getting fresh "blood" in here.

    I pray for these priests regularly.  I am scared for their souls and the souls of the faithful who are being scandalized.