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Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church by [Wagner Ph.D., Rev. Richard]
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Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Length: 255 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The publication of my dissertation broke the seal on the Vatican's gay secret. The press dubbed me "The Gay Priest," but my research and what it implies made patently clear that I wasn't the only gay priest. In fact, there is a sizable segment of the clergy population that is gay and these men are forced to live duplicitous lives of repression in secret.
The Church's single-minded effort to quash the emerging story and silence me showed that I needed to be "dealt with" in the most severe fashion; an example had to be made of me. If other priests started coming out of the closet, demanding to be treated with dignity and respect it would certainly undercut the entirety of Catholic sexual moral theology--there is no place for non-reproductive sexuality in that paradigm.
The irony is that at the same time my story was unfolding an unimaginable scandal, involving hundreds of Catholic priests across the globe, was also brewing. Cardinals, bishops and provincials worldwide were, and still are, furtively shuffling pedophile priest from one crime scene to another. They were, and still are, involved in a massive corporate cover up of their own crimes and those of their brother clergy.
While I am being singled out for 13 years of Church vitriol, public character assassination and communal shunning--my superiors claim that they are simply trying to protect the Church from scandal--these same Church leaders and others are lying, prevaricating and sabotaging any effort to uncover the burgeoning clergy sexual abuse scandal that would soon rock the front pages of newspapers all over the world.
The public panic, among Church officials, exhibited toward me--a single up-front gay priest in their midst--is in stark contrast to their apathetic and anemic response to the systemic clergy sexual abuse that engulfs them.
I am confident making the comparison between my struggle and the clergy sex abuse scandal, because I have first-hand knowledge of this abuse criminality. I was repeatedly sexually molested as a 14-year-old boy in an Oblate seminary in southern Illinois.
My story is the story of a Church that will go to any length, even to violate its core principles--Gospel values that form the fundamental tenets of faith--to protect its public image. In other words, this is a story of a Church out of control.

About the Author

Richard Wagner, Ph.D., ACS -- Psychotherapist, Clinical Sexologist in private practice for over 30 years.

He is the only Catholic priest in the world with a doctorate in Human Sexuality. His practice includes a special outreach to survivors of clergy sex abuse and has had many opportunities to work with clergy offenders. He is available as an advocate for clergy abuse survivors -- as a consultant, expert witness and/or therapist.

He is currently working on a follow-up book detailing the sexual molestation he endured at the hands of his Oblate superior while a 14-year-old seminarian in Southern Illinois. And how all subsequent religious superiors he told about these incidences did nothing. The book will investigate the psychological and emotional trauma of clergy sex abuse and its impact on the psychosexual development of abuse victims.

Richard designs, develops and produces long and short-term seminars and workshops for healing and helping professionals including religious leaders. He has provided individual therapy and facilitated support groups for gay clergy of numerous denominations.

He's also been involved in many other sex education and sexual enrichment projects. He's been writing an online sex advice column for over 15 years. His column and weekly podcasts can be found at: He also contributes to several other websites as a guest columnist.

He is developing a new site,, which is a clearinghouse for news and information about gay clergy worldwide.

He often writes and speaks in the public forum on policy issues related to religion, human sexuality, aging and death and dying. He has been a keynote speaker and/or presenter at numerous conventions and symposia.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1140 KB
  • Print Length: 255 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1610982126
  • Publisher: Nazca Plains (June 13, 2011)
  • Publication Date: June 13, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0058EUL48
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,586,300 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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A few preliminary thoughts:
1 - Richard Wagner has my sympathies for his ten years of exile; living in a state of insecurity and tenuousness is not easy for anyone.
2- That the Catholic Church hierarchy should obfuscate is not terribly surprising; that Wagner's own religious congregation should treat him so shoddily (at least by his own telling) is unconscionable. The brotherhood they professed to each other should have risen above any other considerations, even the paranoid Roman fear of "scandalizing the faithful lambs" whom they claim to love and want to shelter from the reality of their clergy's personal/sexual lives. (That neurosis is the same root of the sexual abuse crisis that has crippled the church in this century.)
3- The attitudes of the church and the Oblates toward homosexuality foster, in unassailable ways, the sort of hatred and prejudice that gay people suffer daily and that can result in horrors like the Orlando massacre of gay people in June 2016.

Even with all this said, Fr Wagner's book was a major disappointment to me. The first half of it, after an interesting intro about the circumstances that led to his ten-year ordeal, is a repetitious and petulant representation of what might well have been an unfair ostracism of Wagner by the Oblate order. But his insistence that his expectations (and his alone) must be met, without any give or compromise, is grating and eventually unconvincing. This was a real case of the old chestnut: The story teller's plaint might be correct but, at some point, he has browbeaten you so hard that you just stop caring. Sorry, Richard, your arguments wore me out and I stopped caring or at least siding with you.
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As a former Catholic priest, I thought that I would find some similarities in what I went through in my departure process with Richard's story. I did not leave for the same reasons. Well, not exactly. But Richard's written sharing of his experience resonated with me as a human being, and as a former Catholic, and a former Priest. He is almost overly kind, tolerant, and forgiving of the mean-spirited bureaucrats of his own order as well as with the Church Hierarchy. His experience is remarkably similar to the treatment experienced by lay Catholics going through the struggle of their lives. It is my view that even the term "lay Catholic" is symptomatic of the attitude and practice of the clergy and hierarchy in their self-serving sense of superiority. As painful as it was to be brought so close again to the self-satisfied, mean, even inhumane way Catholics are treated this book made me realise just how much so many Catholics are despised by those in power. So, just because you might not be a priest, former priest, Catholic or even gay, Richard's shared experience will touch your heart as you share the confusion, disbelief, pain and resolve he has been through. I loved this book.
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Richard Wagner, the author of "Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church" is a psychotherapist, a clinical sexologist in private practice for over 30 years and the only Catholic priest in the world with a doctorate in Human Sexuality. His practice includes a special outreach to survivors of clergy sex abuse as well as clergy offenders. Although Dr. Wagner remains a Catholic priest, as he always will in the light of the Church's teaching, he has been deprived of his `priestly faculties' and expelled from his religious order, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, following the publication of his doctoral thesis dealing with the issues of mental health, emotional well-being and self-fulfillment as they affected his brother gay Catholic priests.

"Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex" is a chilling account of the author's decade-spanning battles with his religious order following the publication of his thesis. The work offers a series of glimpses into the inner-workings of the Catholic Church that depart radically from its publicly-espoused moral positions and ethical standards. It is primarily a story about how a secretive, profoundly self-involved institution whose highest ideal is that of self-protection deals with dissent in its midst, and of the sometimes criminal and very often near-criminal extent to which that institution will go to will go to silence a whistle-blower.

Following the 1981 publication of the author's doctoral thesis there was a firestorm of international publicity, the press dubbing its author "The Gay Priest.
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The thesis seemed to draw him into the spotlight of the press but they condensed modified his statements to bring into the displeasure of his superiors. Then brings in the following.

The book shows how the priest had been shuffled from one level of his order to the other while Richard Wagner was trying to be patient. The order also kept changing the charges to put him out. From that he was gay and did not practice chastity. When that did hold he was charged disobedience to that he would not come back to the main place of residence of the order. He tried all along during 13 years for them to make up their minds of what they wanted while still remaining true to both himself and the church before they finally made up their minds.

The is also the section that seemed to start the whole thing started with a thesis he had written of a survey he had taking that the order had endorsed of 50 gay priests within the Catholic church. He had several insightful questions of conflicts within the priests minds and the teaching of the church on celibacy and the thinking of what they thought the gay movement at time.
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