LAKE GENEVA, WI – Father Joseph Klee of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, has been “sidelined” for an indefinite period of time by his bishop, Robert J. Brennan. I’ve featured the staunchly pro-life, pro-family priest-activist in four of my past columns: here, here, here and here. In 2017, Klee was hit by a car driven by an angry abortion supporter during a pro-life demonstration. Klee has also contributed articles to Homiletic and Pastoral Review.
The following statement was released by the diocese on June 22, 2020:
The Catholic Church proposes a beautiful, life-giving and liberating vision to the world based on the truths about the human person, human sexuality, marriage and the family. We proclaim with one breath the Splendor of Truth and the Joy of the Gospel. The fundamental truth is that every human person is created in the image and likeness of God and as such, must be treated with dignity and respect. While not everyone shares the Church’s vision, I hope we can all show that respect.
While Father Klee has been permitted to live in the rectory at St. John the Baptist, he is not assigned to the Parish of St. John the Baptist nor to the Parish of the Sacred Heart. He does not represent either of these parishes nor the diocese. Father Klee has shown a pattern of making communications to a broad audience on a variety of contemporary issues which are frankly divisive. While these communications seemingly present Catholic moral teaching, they are often offensive and disrespectful to the human dignity of persons.
Father Klee has been repeatedly warned about making these divisive communications and ordered to cease doing so. Further steps are being considered at this time.
I contacted Klee for comment, and he provided me with the following statement (lightly edited):
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I write you in these closing days of the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray for the grace to truly respond to His lament so evident in our world today, namely, that the greatest outpouring of love on Good Friday goes largely ignored if not repudiated. Hence, let us make our lives an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart even after June!
I really shouldn’t disclose details [of my current situation], although a wise and holy pastor counseled me shortly after my priestly ordination, ‘If you don’t fill in the blanks, the people will.’ Suffice it to say, please pray and make sacrifices for the following two intentions in addition to praying that I will be a truly holy priest – that’s all I want.
1) For a tremendous outpouring of graces upon the spiritual leadership of the Church, specifically upon bishops and priests, that they be empowered with the cardinal virtue of fortitude. That they implore the intercession of the martyrs lest they go from being potential victims of satan’s attacks to being actual instigators and accomplices like the Pharisees in Our Lord’s day. Please pray that they be freed from a subtle resignation to despair — specifically of falling into discouragement by believing the authentic Gospel of Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Faith are not the answer, but atheistic socialism is.
2) For men and women – and, increasingly, boys and girls as well — deluded by the false promises of the homosexualist agenda, and especially those in the active homosexual lifestyle, that they be given the grace to break free from the devil’s grasp. We pray they acquire the theological virtue of hope, becoming inspired to believe they can be freed from the sinful enslavement the practice of sodomy entails. We pray that many come to understand that the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession are indispensable for receiving the necessary graces to resist grave sin.
Regarding homosexuality, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which contains the Church’s official teachings, states (paragraphs 2357–2359):
Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Regarding gender issues, in 2019, the Vatican released a document titled “Male and Female He Created Them.”