The story kept popping up on Twitter, Facebook and my RSS feed. A story about the lavender mob that controlled Miami’s Catholic archdiocese. It took me a couple of days to click on the story, in part because it seemed like the kind of posting I get weary of reading about on LGBT blogs with a healthy amount of Catholic-bashing for the sake of Catholic-bashing and without much other purpose.
When I finally clicked on the Gawker story, by Brandon K. Thorp and Penn Bullock, I found myself riveted by the story but uneasy about the sourcing and the rationale behind why Gawker decided to highlight the investigation. I knew that Thorp and Bullock were the openly gay guys behind the George Rekers/ Rentboy investigation for the Miami New Times last year and so this was familiar territory for them.
The story, itself, is pretty fascinating. Relying heavily on documentation provided by a conservative Catholic group–Christifidelis–the Gawker story recounts details of a story that have been circulating around the Miami archdiocese for years and has long been fodder in the conservative blogosphere and among conservative Catholics who often complain about the infiltration of the priesthood by gays.
Reading the story, it’s hard to tell where the Christifidelis dossier ends and the reporting begins. People are quoted and it’s often difficult to tell if they were interviewed by the reporters or quoted in the Miami Vice report. Among the people quoted in the story directly are people connected with compiling the dossier, including a columnist for the conservative RenewAmerica.com website. That’s an awful lot of reliance on people who have a specific agenda that could easily be viewed as anti-gay. Even the Miami New Times has doubts about the sourcing.
The story is worth a read and it is backed up by documentation provided by Christifidelis. While I’d be curious to know why Gawker picked this story for an investigation–since it is not a new story and the allegations have been rehashed over and over–it has definitely gotten a lot of attention.
The most interesting part of the expose may be Thorp’s explanation of why he wrote the story.
The original motivation for my investigation was plain hypocrisy-busting. The situation grew more complicated after I spent a few hours on the phone with a conservative Catholic blogger and recent law-school grad named Eric Giunta. Giunta was one of the primary contributors to “Miami Vice.” He’d grown up in Miami, and felt called to the priesthood in his late teens. He was rejected from the seminary, it seems, because of his insistence that homosexual behavior is sinful.
This didn’t seem like a very good reason to be rejected from a religious institution that is more morally offended by condoms than by AIDS. As I listened to his story, I began to feel pity. I wondered: Don’t those who oppose “homosexualism” (as Giunta calls the gay rights ideology) deserve a place where they can be anti-homosexualist in peace? Oughtn’t that place be the Roman Catholic Church?
Thorp also recounts running into a priest in a Wilton Manors bar “where men occasionally exchange blowjobs in the parking lot” and feeling “flummoxed when a bartender told of us his presence. I was a product of the Catholic parochial educational system, and like many such products, I’d spent a good chunk of my early life combating the notion that the Inventor of The Universe was angrily monitoring the use to which I put my genitals. I won, eventually, but it was close.”
I actually found the meta-story more interesting than the actual story, but I’m curious about your thoughts. Is this a good journalism? Are there concerns about the sourcing? Why do you think Gawker decided to feature the investigation?