WASHINGTON -- For 13 years, Fr. Joseph Palacios lived, prayed, and studied with the Jesuits. But he left the Roman Catholic order in 2005 because he would not profess a vow of obedience to the pope.
“I felt that I could still be a Catholic priest,” Palacios said, “but I could not deal with that kind of scrutiny and command from the top.”
Now, the 59-year-old priest and adjunct professor at Georgetown University, the nation’s oldest Catholic university, is again at odds with the church’s hierarchy, this time on one of its signature issues: the definition of marriage.
In recent years, Catholic bishops have used their moral influence and deep pockets to push for bans on same-sex unions in states from California to Maine.
But a new corps of increasingly vocal Catholics is urging a “mutiny” against the hierarchy, in the words of one activist, particularly on gay marriage and related matters.
For example, on Sept. 14, Palacios and other advocates launched Catholics for Equality, a group that aims to persuade believers in the “movable middle” to defy the bishops and support civil rights for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.