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Archdiocese spurns sermon on homosexual 'disorder'

The New York Archdiocese distanced itself yesterday from a high-ranking official's sermon that blamed the Catholic Church's sex scandals on homosexual priests and American immorality.

Monsignor Eugene Clark, who was filling in Sunday for Cardinal Edward Egan at the pulpit of St Patrick's Cathedral, gave the sermon without consulting Cardinal Egan, the archdiocese said.

"He was speaking for himself," spokesman Joe Zwilling said.

Monsignor Clark, the rector of St. Patrick's, called the United States "probably the most immoral country in the Western Hemisphere," labeled homosexuality "a disorder" and said that admitting homosexual students into seminaries was a "grave mistake."

In a statement yesterday, Monsignor Clark said his homily had been "misconstrued and misinterpreted."

Monsignor Clark celebrates Mass at St. Patrick's when Cardinal Egan visits other churches in the archdiocese. The monsignor is not expected to consult the cardinal about the content of his homily, Mr. Zwilling said.

Monsignor Clark is known in the archdiocese for being conservative and unafraid to criticize the church hierarchy for liberalism, said Tom Reese, editor in chief of the Jesuit weekly America.

"It's clear that Monsignor Clark is speaking for himself and is expressing the views of very conservative Catholics," Fr Reese said.

Catholic League President William Donohue said he would be surprised if Cardinal Egan disagreed with Monsignor Clark's statements, which he called long overdue.

Archdiocese of New York
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24 Apr 2002