I have, on occasion, made the claim that the majority of male Anglo-Catholic priests in the Church of England, and pretty much all the celibate ones, are gay. Now, I'm not afraid of hyperbole, as you all well know, but even I feel a twinge of apprehension when I make this claim. The thing is it sounds so unbelievable. For a start it is such a large number and the proportion of gay men compared to straight men is so much higher than it is in the general population. Secondly, Anglo Catholic priests in England are so anti-gay as well as being anti-women. Why would so many gay men want to stop gay men, including themselves, from enjoying the same rights and opportunities as everybody else? The only reason I dare to make such a sweeping statement that, on the surface, appears to be so improbable, is the fact that it is true.
It has now become obvious and common knowledge that it is the same in the Roman Catholic Church except there it is on a much more massive scale. Because of the power the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy wields over not just its own adherents but everyone else who lives in countries where Roman Catholicism is popular enough to give it political influence, the gay homophobia and misogyny of the priests of Roman Catholicism has been of far greater consequence than it has ever been in the esoteric corners of the Church of England. To put it bluntly, the equality of women and LGBT people in the world has been held back for years because the majority of Roman catholic priests are gay.
I can only guess at why so many gay men would be so homophobic and misogynist. Some say it is because of jealousy. Some say it is because of self-loathing. I think that, in the case of the Anglo-Catholic priestly hatred of women it is to do with the fact that so many of the gay priests are effeminate and, for some reason, effeminate gays have a propensity towards bitching about women which, again I guess, is based on their jealousy that they are not women themselves. But who knows? The gay priests themselves, of course. But, as has been the case for probably hundreds of years, they are not talking. It has taken scandals such as the Cardinal O'Brien situation and the discovery of the gay "knocking shops" of the Vatican, to bring what has been, for a long while, the Church's worst kept secret, into the light of general scrutiny.
Mark Dowd, himself a gay Roman Catholic (though not a priest) has some interesting things to say about all of this at THE GUARDIAN in his article "What lies behind religious homophobia." He begins his piece...
I approached a director at Channel 4 back in 2000 with a proposal for a documentary on homosexuality and the Roman Catholic church. I had a simple pitch. "I want to show why my church is so anti-gay."
"And why is your church so anti-gay?," came back the obvious question.
"Because it is so gay," I replied.
Go check it out!