A Two-Hour Line of Support

A music director from the other side of the line declines to give a three-pronged reassurance to a new pastor. So he loses his job.

“I’ve done nothing illegal, nothing immoral,” said Nadeau, who takes the national stage soon as musical director for the closing ceremonies in July of the Gay Games in Chicago. “I’ve kept my private life separate from my work at the church.”

Yet can one keep various compartments of one’s life separate from each other? I asked our organist to cover for me for this past weekend’s two evening Masses. (Usually we split them.) Saturday, we were invited to a friend’s place for a home Mass, home blessing, and a cookout. (Rubbed shoulders with the KCK archdiocese’s VG, by the way.) Wouldn’t you know that the cantor hired for that Mass didn’t show up. (Our organist, who does the cantor scheduling, was scrambling to hire folks to fill in spots while many regular parishioners were off to holiday fun.) Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday, so I was far away from church after our afternoon concert. (I shudder to think of what might’ve happened at the Mass I missed yesterday.) I’ve never managed to keep my family life separate from my ministry or work. One always intrudes on the other.

Some people have the delusion that their private lives are private. I could tell you stories, especially from my days as a single person.

Nadeau, 36, came to Kansas City eight years ago to lead the Heartland Men’s Chorus. He needed a second job to supplement his income, so he applied for the music director job at St. Agnes Church, a parish next door to Bishop Miege High School. He said he told the pastor, the Rev. Donald Cullen, that he led the Heartland Men’s Chorus, saying he shouldn’t be hired if that posed a problem. He was hired.

A group of parishioners complained then, but Cullen rebuffed them. When a new pastor was appointed, the protesters reemerged. Nadeau was given three conditions for keeping his job:

He would have to end his affiliation with the Heartland Men’s Chorus, promise to refrain from sex, and state that homosexuality is a disorder.

I can think of some clergy who would have a tough time with such a confession. Most parishioners obviously did:

“It was a two-hour line to say goodbye to him,” said parishioner Bill Vogt. “I think he knows that the overwhelming majority of the parish love him and support him.”

Does this affair leave you with questions and concerns?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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