Thursday, March 17, 2011

Traveling with a secret agenda

One of my goals during my trip to Texas to visit my brother and his family was to have a long talk with my nephew who is now a Catholic Priest. I rarely travel with a secret agenda, but this time one was necessary. My one day illness deprived me of a chance to see my nephew's parish. Thankfully, he came to see me. My reason for this talk is in his position of church power he will have kids coming to him about gay concerns. I didn't want him to cause them damage.

We talked of many things, not just my secret agenda. His parish is 80% Mexican and he says he has 600 Mexican mothers who make sure he doesn't go hungry. He has endeared himself to them by being a gringo who at least is attempting to speak their language. He is fondly called Padrecito, the little priest (though he is easily tops 6-feet). He has preached in Spanish and does so by writing out what he wants to say in English and asking a church member to translate. He knows enough Spanish to be pleased with what he gets.

He says it is a stereotype that the younger priest, especially one just out of seminary, is assigned to lead the youth groups. In this case the stereotype is actually true and he is pretty good with the kids. Which made my secret agenda that much more important.

I asked, so he told me his bachelor degree is from a very conservative Catholic college. All Catholic seminaries range from somewhat conservative to very conservative. His was on the somewhat conservative side.

From the view, perhaps, of testing how somewhat conservative his view are now, I asked if any kids have talked to him about being gay. Yes, some have. He knows the Pope's position, and in spite of that makes sure the kids feel welcome. He says they have enough issues simply dealing with being gay. He won't make it worse -- he'll be as supportive as he can. He can't offer same-sex couple blessings, but otherwise he'll be as affirming as possible.

One of his good friends from seminary is gay. This young man had no intention of telling the church hierarchy. Both are aware that many gay Catholic men choose the priesthood to avoid having to explain why there are no girlfriends, and both are aware this is not a healthy reason for choosing a profession. This friend appreciated having my nephew as someone he could confide in. My nephew learned about the life and challenges of being gay.

All that was very good to hear. Agenda complete.

One last question for my nephew. What would his mother have said if he told her he was gay? This has long been a fear of mine -- if she found out would she ban me from seeing her kids? He had no idea. Homosexuality was a topic never discussed (the rest of the family knows what that's like).

The children of various other nephews were feeling much better so one family came to my brother's house on Friday evening and I visited the other on Saturday afternoon. Both visits were delightful. I was able to visit everyone I wanted to, though in some cases for a shorter time than I would have liked.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful!! Maybe I'll want to have a talk with him, soon :-)