Don’t ask, don’t tell

Don’t ask, don’t tell

Here is a brief illustration of why some of us have such a difficult time trusting some bishops to tell the truth. This example comes from Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It is a letter sent in reply to a parishioner in his diocese. It is dated November 21, 2003. Note that date, it is important.

Please be assured that I have not knowingly ordained (nor do I intend to do so) an individual who is a homosexual.  I can appreciate your concern in regard to this matter but the Bishops that I know are very vigilant in this regard.  I do not know where you get the impression that this was a common practice.

Perhaps his correspondent got that impression from his own public statements. From a newspaper article dated May 2002:

Although some Roman Catholic dioceses screen out would-be priests because of gay sexual orientations, the eight-county Altoona-Johnstown Diocese does not, Bishop Joseph Adamec said Monday.

So which is it Bishop Adamec? Do you ordain homosexuals or not? Are you lying or did you forget? Or perhaps you have not “knowingly” ordained a homosexual, but you don’t bother to ask because you don’t want to know. Sort of an episcopal “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Correction: I had earlier stated that the news article referenced above was posted on the diocesan web site. It was not. It is a site dedicated to observing what’s going in that diocese. I’ve since changed the text to correct the error.