WHEN I FIRST read Father Renckens' article I felt heartened that a priest has the courage to speak his mind. I felt dismay when I read the many responses which seemed more like knee- jerk reactions.

I am a homosexual, and have had to deal with discrimination in its myriad forms. Many of the priests that I have spoken to in the sacrament of reconciliation have been less than kind and rather judgemental. I was called a number of derogatory terms and described as someone "obviously in need of professional help" and someone "who obviously doesn't pray".

For the record, I am a virgin, have sought counselling before and prayed fervently for the removal of such a condition. Sometimes, after the confessions, instead of feeling cleansed and reborn, I was left feeling dirty.

This psychological damage that the priest can inflict on his flock is very real, as Francis Pushpam so aptly puts in his letter, "the priest is still regarded as the teacher of the faith".

    A Struggling Catholic


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