Jim Corcoran is no doubt a valued member of the family at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Ontario. (National Post)
Mr. Corcoran, 50, began as an altar server just before Christmas. He said St. Michael’s did not have altar boys and he thought that creating a group of adult altar servers would help the priest during Mass. Many Catholic parishes have adult servers.
But he’s also an idiot.
Mr. Corcoran is a gay man married to his partner. He and his priest (and you, and I, and the neighbor’s cousin’s cat) all know that the Catholic Church has some pretty restrictive beliefs about the participation of gay men in the life of the Church. Mr. Corcoran cannot have thought that his efforts would be universally praised and appreciated.
And, as could be expected, several parishoners signed a letter to the Bishop and Corcoran was removed.
So he’s suing.
A gay man has filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against a Catholic bishop after he was removed from his volunteer job as an altar server because of his sexual orientation.
Now in the US, Corcoran would be tossed out on his ear. I hope that in Canada they do the same.
Don’t get me wrong. I think the decision of the Church was stupid. Corcoran probably isn’t even technically in violation of the Vatican policy; he and his partner are chaste. And the motivation of the parishoners appears to have been pettiness and spite and was primarily an attack on the priest.
But the issue isn’t whether the Church is right or wrong. The issue is whether the Church should be allowed to make its own policies, however stupid they may be.
And I come down on the side of self-determination and freedom – both for Corcoran and the Church. St. Michael’s should be entitled to deny liturgical authority to whomever they please for whatever reason they please, and Jim Corcoran should be entitled to cross the street to a church that operates more to his pleasing.