.A Gay Saint in fact
by John M. Kelley

The evidence that Father Mychal Judge

joyfully self-identified as gay, though
chaste and celibate, is irrefutable.
The evidence includes Mychal's own handwritten journal entries, published in Daly's biography of Judge.

Dennis Lynch claimed in 2002 that Mychal Judge couldn't possibly have been homosexual because he was so saintly a man, plus Judge had never told him he was gay. That was Lynch's only "proof". He claimed that gay activists and liberal media had fabricated the story in order to "hijack" Judge's memory to advance a gay agenda.

But all the evidence proves that Mychal Judge did, in fact, self-identify as gay.Many close friends of Judge, including former FDNY Commissioner Tom Von Essen, Fr. Brian Carroll, Fr. John McNeill, and Fr. Bernard Lynch, have repeatedly confirmed that Mychal identified himself to them as a gay man.

Fr. Brendan O'Rourke said, "Mychal had come to terms with being gay, and disagreed with official church teaching about gay orientation and gay relationships." (p. 182: Ford, Michael: Father Mychal Judge: An Authentic American Hero. Paulist Press).

(Note: we use gay and homosexual interchangeably here to describe orientation only; by all accounts he was faithful to his priestly vows).

Then Judge himself publicly acknowledged his orientation many times. For example,
"Look at who we are as gay people at this moment in history, being a gift for the church, being agents of change in both church and society." (p.184: Ford).
Michael Daly's biography decisively settles the question. Daly published excerpts of Judge's personal journals in which he wrote in detail of the struggles and joys of accepting himself as a gay man. (Daly, Michael: The Book of Mychal: the Surprising Life & Heroic Death of Fr. Mychal Judge: 2008).
For example, Mychal wrote, "I thought of my gay self and how the people I meet never get to know me fully … (yet) I feel no guilt, none whatsoever today -- I feel on the train Home. I am at peace finally. This is what You want me to do, Lord ... You, You alone, brought me here. I have nothing to fear today. Thank You, thank You, Lord !" (pp. 86, 301-302: Daly).

It's significant that in the face of all this evidence, Dennis Lynch never pressed his claim after 2002. Nor have Mychal's Franciscan order or family ever denied that Mychal self-identified as a gay man. Indeed, two Franciscan publications,
St. Anthony's Messenger (here), and
AmericanCatholic.org (here),
have acknowledged the same.
It's understandable why Judge didn't come out to those, like Lynch, with deep visceral reactions and prejudices. Mychal picked and chose when and to whom to come out.

But in the end it's clear that Fr. Mychal Judge was selectively, if not generally, open about his gay orientation and self-identity.

Mychal's love and ministry touched everyone he encountered, not only gay people. He wasn't so much a "homosexual saint" as he was a saint who happened to be homosexual among many, many other things. But to fully appreciate how God worked through Mychal, we must honestly acknowledge this aspect of his life, as he did.

Why was Mychal selective in 'coming out'?
an Interview with Book of Mychal
author Michael Daly here

Since his passing, many have asked tearfully why Judge had not told them he was gay. But the question asked less frequently is: How would they have responded if he had?
Judge knew his tribe and feared their prejudices.
“Some people were really upset by just the suggestion of it,” says Daly. “And I think one of the reasons it was really hard for people was that they felt so close to him, they thought they had known him so well. As Fireman Kevin Shea told me, ‘If you tell me Mychal Judge is gay then I have to tell you I have my first gay friend.’ ”

Mychal Judge embraced
his homosexuality
as a gift of God
by John M. Kelley

"Mychal had come to terms with being gay, and disagreed with official church teaching about gay orientation and gay relationships" (Ford: p.182), although by all accounts, he chose celibacy.
Coming out to dozens of friends over the years, Father Mychal Judge told them that he “would not exclude or gloss over” this aspect of his life when he wrote his own autobiography (Ford: p.37).

Some have asked, Why do we need to know that Fr. Mike was gay?

First, because Mychal himself brought it up. He felt it important to share this aspect of himself, to put a human face and name upon the despised label of “homosexual”. Recall how Christ, when asked, “Who is my neighbor?,” tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, putting a human face on the Samaritans who were despised by the Jews.

To truly understand Mychal Judge, to fully appreciate how God worked through him, we must recognize this truth about him. Mychal’s gayness was a major reason for his deep empathy with others, especially outcasts. He was holy in part because he was gay, not despite the fact.

Second, we should know that Fr. Mike was gay because Rome wants to purge many good, gifted gay seminarians. Mychal Judge and many like him would be barred from the priesthood under Pope Benedict's policy. Christ had no problem with Mychal’s orientation, but Rome does. (NOTE: Pope Francis has since said of faithful gay priests, "Who am I to judge?!").

Third, awareness of Fr. Mychal’s gay identity saves lives, and we are a pro-life Church. 1500 gay and lesbian teenagers commit suicide each year in the U.S., succumbing to intense rejection and internalized shame.

Mychal intervened in at least one family whose teenage son came out to his parents. That story had a happy ending, but thousands of gay kids are still rejected, abused, driven to suicide, and thrown out to the streets by their parents.
Public awareness of Mychal's gay identity continues to save lives by providing greater understanding, fulfilling Christ’s command to “go and do likewise” as the Good Samaritan.

Some have asked, Shouldn't sexual orientation be kept private?

Intimacy is a private matter. But identity and prejudice are public matters affecting the mental, social, physical, and spiritual health of millions of families and individuals.

Those who are embarrassed by this serious, mature discussion wrongly associate guilt and shame with homosexual orientation and relationships. They ought to examine where their visceral reactions really come from. They ought to question Rome’s faulty assumptions and, indeed, Rome’s own “objective disorders” which more often resemble a severely dysfunctional family than the Body of Christ.

For centuries, Catholics were also taught to fear left-handed people as “servants of the devil,” and the left-handed were burned at the stake along with faggots and heretics. (The word faggot, literally “burning bundle,” derives from these church burnings of gay men).

Now we know that homosexuality is no more
"disordered" or “sinful” than left-handedness or red hair. Research by all the sciences -- genetics, biology, medical, anthropology, psychology, sociology, clinical -- strongly points to sexual orientation as determined at birth; that it’s nature over nurture for most people.

Therefore, homosexual orientation, like left-handedness, is a Divinely created, normal variation within natural law which occurs in all human cultures and in higher animal species.

Indeed, most Catholics (outside Africa and Asia) reject the magisterium's narrow interpretation of natural law, and support civil marriage rights or civil unions for gays, according to every poll and survey.  Current official church doctrine is in conflict with the sensus fidelium as well as the sciences.
The truly disordered homosexuals, psychiatrists say, are the ego-dystonic ones -- the self-loathing and dis-integrated, those who don't accept themselves. The most strident homophobes often have unresolved fears and wounds of their own which they project onto others. Christ warned of such projection: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but not the beam in your own eye?!”

Homophobic guilt, shame, and fear are pathological reactions; they are not of Christ. Christ spreads healing, not pathology -- holiness, not neurosis. Whatever is psychologically unhealthy can never be spiritually holy. (The very words “holy” and “holiness” derive from healthy, happy, and wholeness).

Mychal Judge rejected pathological shame, and embraced his homosexuality as God's will for him.

We are born with our basic sexual orientations. Homosexuality, like left-handedness or red hair, is Divinely created. It is a normal variation in nature, occurring among humans in every culture and in higher level animal species. As such, gay people face the same moral challenges and susceptibility to grace as everyone else.

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “Grace builds upon nature”. God's grace builds upon our mental, emotional, physical, sexual and social human natures, whether we be hetero- or homo- sexual. Therefore, healing and integration of our human natures are first steps to true spiritual growth. Christ, our Wonder Counselor and Great Physician, came so that we “might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Father Mychal Judge found Christ's life in abundance.
"Gradually Mychal moved to recognize that being gay was a gift -- as opposed to a burden, wound, or handicap -- a gift of God." (Ford: p.184).
Transcending the pathological guilt and shame inflicted upon gay people by prejudice, he embraced his gay quality as a naturally inborn, God-given gift. This also contributed to his recovery from alcoholism. From there, he received and shared grace
in extremis.

His spirit freed to love, Mychal achieved true holiness (wholeness) in extraordinary intimacy with Christ. Freed to love, he lived as a "fool of God", embracing within himself and others that which the world despised.

"God chose the foolish of the world to confound the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to confound the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who presume they are something..."
(1 Cor. 1)

A true Christ figure in life and in death, Mychal still urges us to transcend our shames, heal our wounds, embrace our gifts, and to truly love ourselves and others the way God loves us.

[For a fuller scriptural, theological, and psychological discussion visit:
God Made Me Gay ]