When I was a kid, every Catholic mother dreamed of having a priest in the family. Some still do. My own grandmother could claim a son who was a priest and a daughter who was a nun and because of that, she knew she had a front row seat reserved in Heaven. My grandmother's sitting room had three portraits on the wall, hung vertically. From top to bottom they were, Jesus, John F. Kennedy and the Pope. (Popes come and go, but you only get the first Catholic president once.)
My grandmother even had a spare bedroom converted into a chapel, where I had to sit through mass, performed by my uncle, every morning before breakfast when I spent two weeks there as a kid. My uncle's ability to rattle off a full mass (which usually takes about 45 minutes on a good day) in just 15 minutes (motivated by his grumbling belly) was, in part, what motivated me to start questioning everything I'd been taught about being a "good Catholic". His express lane to salvation sounded to me like a used car salesman trying to close the deal before you had time to think too much about the details.
For these reasons, my choice for Cool Site this week has a particular significance. It's not the latest site featuring funny videos or political satire that everyone is talking about around the water cooler.
ChurchOuting.org is a site with a purpose. Political Activist/Blogger Phil Attey has taken on the Catholic Church's rabidly anti-gay views and political interference with the purpose of exposing its hypocrisy.
On his new site, Attey, who in his younger days considered a life in the priesthood, answers the question, Why Church Outing?":
"It is shameful that in many Catholic churches, this abuse is being supported by men, who are gay themselves, leading closeted lives of self-persecution and quiet desperation.ChurchOuting.org is not just a blog that uses outing for shock value and ruining political careers. Attey launched the site in response to the Pope's recent pastoral letter directing every parish priest to over-step our constitutional separation of church and state by working aggressively to oppose same-sex marriage and to over-turn it where it has been approved. The Catholic church was a major financial contributor in anti-gay marriage vote in Maine.
Even more shameful, is that many of these priests, while remaining silent, actually lead duplicitous lives rich with romantic and sexual relationships -- both homosexual and heterosexual.
This hypocrisy must end."