Detroit Priest Calls Gay Marriage ‘Sacramental’

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by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 16, 2015   

Father Ronald Victor says Church "needs more examples of gay holiness"

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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A priest in the Detroit archdiocese is calling gay marriage "sacred and sacramental," and insists the Church "needs more examples of gay holiness."

Father Ronald Victor, pastor of St. Isidore Catholic Church in Macomb, Michigan, made the remarks while attending the wedding of his gay nephew Bryan Victor earlier this summer. As reported Tuesday by the Detroit Free Press, he said of the couple, "They are two very holy guys. I do see their union as being sacred and sacramental, in the sense that it reflects God's love. ... While it's not necessarily life-giving in a biological way, it's life-giving in other ways."

A longtime priest in the Detroit archdiocese, Fr. Victor has been involved in controversy before. In July, he testified on behalf of a fellow priest convicted of possession of child porn and accused of sex abuse. The priest, Fr. Timothy Murray, no longer in active ministry, was discovered in possession of 685 videos of child porn on seven computers in his home in 2012. He was sentenced to 16 years. The sentencing judge said the crimes were "stomach-churning." 

Murray had been removed as pastor from a parish in 2004 after officials discovered he had sexually abused an altar boy in the 1980s. The statute of limitations prohibited any lawsuits, but Murray did admit to the crime. The Detroit archdiocese currently lists Murray as "permanently removed from public ministry." 

At the court hearing for child porn in July, Fr. Victor appeared on Murray's behalf, submitting a letter to the judge testifying to Murray's "good character." "In spite of his criminal behavior, I consider Mr. Murray to be a person of good character. One of his strongest traits is his honesty," Victor wrote.

And in a mysterious incident in 2005, Victor was the victim of assault by a fellow priest who bore a grudge against Victor. According to a report in the Detroit News, 

Fr. Bondy walked towards Victor loudly stating, "The thief is back. ... Lock everything up, nothing is safe with you around." Father Bondy continued toward Fr. Victor, telling him he was not welcome at St. Clement again. Father Bondy proceeded to grab Fr. Victor around his neck, choke him, push him against a closet door, and slap him twice.

Victor never elaborated on the details spurring the incident, and the archdiocese urged him not to press charges.

As to Victor's most recent comments, he admits that although he once stayed quiet about blessing same-sex unions, he is "comfortable being public with it now." Even so, he expressed frustration that he couldn't bless his nephew's same-sex union in a Catholic parish. "[I'm] a little angry and a little disappointed," Victor remarked, "that we couldn't do it in a church where I could have officiated."

Although he offered to bless the union privately, his nephew ultimately refused the offer because the couple didn't want anything "clandestine or controversial." Victor himself believes many priests would be open to blessing same-sex weddings even though "they can't be real public with that." 

Dissident gay activist groups like New Ways Ministry are applauding Fr. Victor for his gay-friendly stance.

ChurchMilitant.com contacted Fr. Victor for clarification on his remarks but has not received a response. We also reached out to the Detroit archdiocese for comment, but as of press time have also heard nothing.

 

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