Fr. Warren Hall Q&A: God Loves Me

September 16th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized

Father Warren Hall is the former campus minister at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. Fr. Hall says he lost his job as campus minister after posting a pro-NOH8 campaign message on Facebook. Shortly after this, Fr. Hall came out publicly as gay in an interview with OutSports. Most recently, Fr. Hall was suspended by the Newark archdioceses for supporting a Catholic high school counselor who was in a same-sex marriage. I reached out to Fr. Hall to discuss these and other topics in greater detail.

Q: Why did you support Kate Drumgoole after she was fired from her job as high school counselor at Paramus Catholic High School?

Warren: As someone who was fired from my school position unjustly, I immediately felt a connection to her even though we've never met.

I feel that the injustice of Kate's firing lay in the fact that although she is living in a relationship not recognized by the church, so are any persons who are divorced and remarried, those who are cohabitating, among others. Not that I want to see this happen, but unless we see this action taken against them, then firing a LGBT employee is discrimination. If you single out a lesbian teacher, that's wrong. They have to maintain church teaching across the board. You can't pick and choose. That's not religious freedom, that's discrimination.

Fr. Peter Daly, when writing for National Catholic Reporter in May 2014, stated, "Sacramental heterosexual marriages are not threatened by the civil law's recognition of gay marriage." Do you agree with Fr. Daly's assessment?

Warren: I'm a gay man. If I wasn't a priest and I met somebody for me who was a soul mate, who I enjoyed being with, who had all the things somebody who is marrying looks for in a relationship, I'd want to be married. I'd want to have the ability to marry that person. I'm a priest, so I took a vow of celibacy. But how could I, with integrity, be against gay marriage if it's something, probably in a different circumstance, I would want for myself.

Now, am I saying the church has to bless it? Make it a sacrament? Then the answer to that is no. I don't know why the church has to be so negative towards same sex marriage. Same sex marriage has not threatened heterosexual marriage. As Fr. Daly said, the sky didn't fall. Just people who love each over now have that legal bond, that legal right.

Last July, you wrote to Pope Francis asking him to address the concerns of LGBT Catholics. Do you think Pope Francis has taken steps to address these concerns over the course of his papacy?

Warren: Pope Francis has opened the door for dialogue. That is a BIG step and one that we haven't seen a pope take. Overall the ministry of Pope Francis seems to be aimed at outreach to all those who are on the fringe of the church; divorced, remarried and LGBT people being the most notable. Pope Francis also seems to be making changes in church personnel such as appointing bishops who share his ideas and sidestepping those who are slow to come on board.

Millennial Catholics appear to be overwhelmingly open and accepting of LGBT Catholics. Why do you think this is?

Warren: With the recent phenomenon of people "coming out" at an earlier age almost everyone can say they know someone or know of someone who is gay and that personal experience is what enhances and furthers acceptance.

After you were suspended, you said on Twitter that reforms are taking too long. What reforms would you like to see?

Warren: In regard to LGBT people, I certainly want to see a more welcoming environment. This is already happening in many parishes but it has to come from the Church in general. The language that is used referring to LGBT is insulting and hurtful so that has to change.

You know, there was a time when Catholics only married Catholics. If you wanted to marry a Protestant, you had to be married in the rectory. We look back and we laugh. Now it's not even an issue. Who knows on the LGBT issue and other issues where we'll be in fifty years.

Do you have any advice for LGBT Catholics who feel marginalized and are looking for guidance?

Warren: My message has always been to stay connected to the church especially to parishes that are welcoming and nourishing your faith. Change is slow especially in the church but it's happening.

During these challenging times, where do you draw strength from?

Warren: Of course from my faith. Ever since I was a little kid I had this sense that God loved me and I still have that. When I realized that I was gay I still felt that God loved me. When I was fired from Seton and when I was recently suspended from priestly ministry I still feel that God loves me. The Archbishop may not, but God does.

What inspired you to become a priest?

Warren: As I said before, the overwhelming sense of God's love for me has been a driving factor in all aspects of my life and it is what moved me to seek out priesthood. Now, I feel that formal priestly or not I'm still motivated by that.

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Source: Elder Care Huffington Post

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