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Priests with AIDS Dying:
4 Times More Likely than Others

Analysis of Health Statistics made by The Kansas City Star

HIV-Antibody Tests Now Given before Catholic Ordinations

Compiled By GayToday

priestalter.jpg - 12.17 K Kansas City, Missouri—A January 30 analysis of health statistics by the Kansas City Star titled "Catholic priests are dying of AIDS, often in silence" reveals that hundreds of U.S. Roman Catholic priests have died of AIDS-related illnesses. The newspaper says it appears "priests are dying of AIDS at a rate at least four times that of the general population."

Six out of every 10 Roman Catholic priests in the United States know at least one priest who has died of an AIDS-related illness, and 33% know HIV-positive priests. Even so, a veil of silence has been drawn by church officials over the topic.

Star reporter Judy L. Thomas writes that most Catholic dioceses and religious orders now require men applying for the priesthood to take HIV-antibody tests. Ms. Thomas notes the existence of a paradox, namely that Roman Catholic doctrine forbids the use of condoms and considers homosexual relationships "sinful." She does not mention the presence of priestly hypocrisy however, in that the church prohibits sexual relationships outside the bonds of marriage.

Church officials treat priests with AIDS compassionately, says The Star, caring for them until they die. But critics inside the church complain that sex education is either inadequate or non-existent among seminarians, implying that the would-be celibate clergymen have therefore become the victims of their own ignorance.

The Star mentions the views of behavioral experts who see "the church's adherence to 12th century doctrine about the virtues of celibacy" as a part of the problem. Youths who enter training for their vocation in their early teens enter worldly environs unprepared to deal with sexual temptations.

Because homosexual acts—in Catholic doctrine-- are called "intrinsically evil" the youthful priests have remained scared and silent about their thrill-seeking forays involving homosexual acts. Few have reflected on the well-known Act Up slogan: "Silence = Death".

Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of the Archdiocese of Detroit says that he considers the position in which the Church now finds itself to have been caused by "a failure on the part of the Church."

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Related Sites:
Kansas City Star: Catholic priests are dying of AIDS, often in silence

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Bishop Gumbleton told The Star:

"Gay priests and heterosexual priests didn't know how to handle their sexuality, their sexual drive. And so they would handle it in ways that were not healthy…How to be celibate and to be gay at the same time, and how to be celibate and heterosexual at the same time, that's what we were never really taught how to do. And that was a major failing."

Some church spokesman asked reporters to remember that priests are human, subject to those failings and misfortunes that affect others. "Much as we would regret it," said one, "it shows that human nature is human nature."

Critics, however, pointed to how Catholic teachings about sex are being foisted upon others by priests who know next to nothing about sex hygiene themselves.

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