Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Schofield's Closet?

Over the past many months, I have been an avid reader of many Episcopalians' blogs. Time and time after time, I have heard folks supposedly "in the know" comment that Gene Robinson isn't our first gay bishop, but only the first gay bishop with integrity.

Many a time, I have asked folks to urge these other gay bishops to "out themselves." No one has done so.

And now this Schofield thing has finally reached the point where I just can't stand it anymore!

Something about his demeanor in the Anglican TV interview motivated me to do a bit of research about Bishop John-David Schofield. And I found Meditatio, in which he states:
This is complicated by the bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, being in such poor health. . . . Perhaps even more ironically, Bishop Schofield is a "recovering homosexual" committed to celibacy . . . .
Now, it all begins to make sense to me. I am familiar with this kind of self-loathing person who attacks gay men and lesbians! Lord knows, we saw African-Americans like this during the civil rights movement in the 1960s and '70s. We had a word for them.

It seems to me that an entire volume of psychiatric texts could be written about this guy. Is this the best-kept secret in the Episcopal Church? or does everyone in the House of Bishops know him to be a self-avowed "recovering homosexual"? I would love to hear more about his "manner of life."

It's time he came out of his own precious closet.

[12/12/07 update: See my later essay here. ]


Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, my dear.

I thought EVERYONE knew this about John-David. He's never been in the closet - has always identified himself as a "celibate homoexual man".

Indeed, he's very proud of it. Offers himself as proof that "anyone can be healed." He even claims to have "exorcized" many a gay man.

Even so, this may yet be a news flash to many.

And yes, it does explain some of his behavior.

But, no where near all.

11/22/2006 5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A recovering homosexual?

He's not recovered yet, then.

Perhaps there's no cure!!!

11/22/2006 5:35 AM  
Blogger Milton said...

I never knew nor did it occur to me that +Schofield was a celibate homosexual. It doesn't change my high regard for him one bit, instead I admire him the more for practicing what he preaches even at the cost of the fulfillment of a physically intimate relationship. Lisa, not everyone who makes +Schofield's choice is self-hating, though some undoubtedly are. Self-denying, yes, in the way Jesus said one who would be His disciple must be. You may be familiar with the blogs of two other men who formerly were in same-sex relationships but renounced them for their better spiritual health. I have read many a post with not a trace of self-hatred at David Morrison's Sed Contra ( and Huw Raphael's Doxos ( If you have never read their blogs, I highly reccommend a visit.

11/22/2006 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It only matters if +Schofield self-identifies as a “recovering homosexual;” without his own word in the matter speculation on the subject skirts slander.

11/22/2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Speculation "skirts" slander? You're joking, right? Even if you're not, anonymous, this is a great Freudian "slip" --- as it were.

It's slander only if the courts determine there is something wrong with being gay. And that is the question. Seems to me that if he's "recovering," and you and Milton and others have respect for that, where does the slander lie?

11/22/2006 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now wait a second - if +Schofield's same-sex attraction is public knowledge, then how can +Robinson claim to the the first "honest" gay bishop? Is the claim that +Schofield is not being honest or that he is not gay? He appears to be both to me, and handling it with a great deal of integrity (no pun intended, seriously).

11/22/2006 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether or not Schofield is gay is not really relevant.
He utters slander against others shamelessly.

Allen Mellen

11/22/2006 10:17 AM  
Blogger Bill said...


Would you be kind enough to give specific examples of +Schofield's slander against people.
Thank you.

11/22/2006 11:32 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, talk about Freudian slips!

I just noticed that I wrote that John-David is a "celibate HOMOEXUAL man."

Leave off the "S" and I suppose one doesn't need to modify it with the word "celibate."

I may have created a new word.


I kinda like that.

Come to think of it, I know lots of homoexuals. Most of them live in religious communities as monks or nuns.

It's almost as good as the new descriptive sexual orientation making the rounds: "Metrosexual"

And, as far as I know, John-David's sexual orientation is not rumor - malicious or benign.

It is John-David himself who has spoken of his being a "celibate homosexual."

Not "recoving" my brave sister "Anonymous." (since women rarely get credit for any wisdom, I always assume that Anonymous is a woman - but, I'm sure if you are not, you'll be a big brave man and let us all know your true identity).

John-David NEVER says he is "formerly" or "recovering" or even "gay."

"Celibate homosexual" is what he says. "Healed" is another term he uses.

Big difference. He uses the sterile medical terms - not political.

And, actually, come to think of it, an interesting "message" in there as well.

Not the "I am a Gay American" coming out spin of Jim McGreevy, former governor of NJ.

Perhaps he has more integrity than many of us are willing to credit him for having.

11/22/2006 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I prefer the label "post-gay" for someone like myself or John-David.

But what I really don't get about your post is this. If it's self-hating to be celibate instead of sexually active, why isn't your blog full of criticisms of Mother Teresa?

11/22/2006 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am an unmarried heterosexual woman who choses celibacy because I believe that God, through the Scriptures, has made it clear that this is the best and safest path for me, and taking another path might even be ::gasp:: sinful. If I share that belief with others, and state that I think that it would be best for them too, does that mean I am hateful or hypocritical? No, not at all. I don't need to be "healed" of being hetero, I just need to limit the physical expression of my sexuality. I imagine I won't die from it, nor will +John-David.

11/22/2006 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's some free publicity for you and your blog:

11/22/2006 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cranmer49: In the community where I live, it is slanderous to tell someone who they are over, and possibly against, who they say they are; forgive me for imposing the standards under which I live on another.

Elizabeth Kaeton: if Anonymous wants to be known, she/he will identify his/her self.

11/22/2006 2:22 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Slander tends to have a legal connotation, Anonymous. Personally, I think it's inappropriate for anyone to try to define another with labels. That has nothing to do with the law but is more emotional abuse and aggression. If that the place from which you were coming rather than a legal base.

It's not self-hating to be celibate, Peter, but it is hateful to judge others based on your own self-esteem issues. If you're a celibate gay or straight person and are comfortable with yourself, there really is not reason to verbally or emotionally abuse someone else's sexual orientation, is there? I'd say Mother Theresa was probably quite comfortable with her humanity, sexuality included. At least she didn't appear to let the issue of sexuality get in the way of her ministry. But that's just an assumption on my part....

11/22/2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oooops. The last sentence in the first paragraph was supposed to be: Is that the place from which you were coming rather a legal base?

11/22/2006 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, darlings.

I give the liberals about another 3-5 days

before they post pictures apparently showing Scofield naked in a steam room with five other men!

11/22/2006 5:18 PM  
Blogger Muerk said...

What closet? The man is open about his sexual attractions and is celibate. I'm failing to understand the issue with that.

Why do people _have_ to act on their sexual desires in order to be "true" to themselves? Desire is something we have, it isn't something you are.

11/22/2006 6:52 PM  
Blogger Muerk said...

This issue and rumor came alive again on the HOB/HOD list a couple of years ago from some guys out of El Camino Real. I was an active participant on that listserv at that time. I asked the bishop, he said “no.” I posted it back to HOB/HOD listserv. They weren’t sorry for posting what they had heard from somebody else.
Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 11-22-2006 at 02:56 PM [link]

I read the above on "Stand Firm"

It worries me in terms of justice that we are speculating about this man's sexual attractions.

I posted the above comment on the basis of what Elizabeth Kaeton said "...always identified himself as a "celibate homoexual man"."

It seems she may be wrong and thus please read my above comment in light of my trust of EK's comment.

11/22/2006 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mean to take a stand here on +Schofield's sexuality, or whether or not he's self-hating, healthy, morally correct, or whatever, because I kind of don't care. But I am interested in the categories "celebate" and "self-hating" homosexuals.

To be celebate, rather than sexually active, because you are an unmarried heterosexual, is a decision based on a particular moral position. If a gay person is celebate because s/he is unmarried/unpartnered, this seems to me to be based on the same type of moral position. Such a position says, "God doesn't want me to be sexually active generally, but God does think it's okay for me to be sexually monogamous, within the bounds of marriage or partnership."

Obviously, the position I just outlined, for gays/lesbians, assumes that a monogamous partnership is in the same moral position as a heterosexual marriage. This is another question, and I'm not going to get into it in this comment.

Another possible reason for G/L celibacy, though, is the position that all sex between persons of the same gender is always wrong. (This position assumes that the monogamous gay partnership is not morally equivalent to marriage.) It's this stance that is likely to get a G/L person labelled as "self-hating."

So yes, it's possible for +Schofield, or any gay man, to be celibate and not self-hating, in the same way the anonymous unmarried heterosexual woman commenter is celebate and, presumably, not self-hating.

I guess the question is, when it comes to a person's healthy attitudes towards his/her sexuality, whether that person refrains from sex because s/he doesn't want to be promiscuous, or because s/he feels that his/her sexuality is generally sinful, in and of itself.

11/25/2006 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand the analysis of the recovered or reformed person being the most zealous voice against the evils of anything that we may seek to resist as evil or less than what we aspire to be. You can see this in many reformed addicts etc. The problem with the freudian type analysis about repression leading to denial and hostility is that its a circular argument. Anyone who does not acknowledge the base instincts that we are all susceptable to is somehow suspect and open to being targeted as a person of divided character. A repressed individual. This has become our modern equivalent of sin, to be repressed and acting out some unconscious hostility toward homosexuals, women, children, women, you name it. We love to expose the closet vice because it makes us feel more honest and free from hypocrisy and denial.
If we are against something that used to be called "evil" then we are suspect for being a closet "insert the vice of choice". WIthout knowing more about the man I would be careful about jumping to that conclusion.

11/26/2006 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a person like me who has no idea how to register on a site (because maybe I did once and can't remember my login info) it's easier just to post as "Anonymous".

I am not the other Anonymous person that Elizabeth mentioned. Just thought I'd put in my two cents.


11/27/2006 11:47 PM  
Blogger W said...


The issue is that Paul says that few people are called to celibacy. I've heard it said that yes, homosexuals have equal rights as anyone else: they can marry someone of the opposite sex, or remain celibate. The church has used celibacy as a weapon against LGBT people. An abuser in an abusive relationship may forbid their partner to spend time with or even talk to some people that the abuser is insecure about; the celibacy situation can be seen as a parallel.

I have on my desk a short blurb from a Fransiscan monk who's a superior in his order, and is gay. He knows that God loves all humankind, regardless of sexual orientation. He says "I love God, God loves me, and I am gay." Presumably, being a monk, he's celibate.

I personally believe that the requirement for RCC priests and monks/nuns to be celibate is not reasonable. But what do I know, I'm obviously not called to celibacy. If they truly are called to celibacy as part of their vocation, then that's fine with me. They're certainly not seeking to impose that on the rest of the world.

Schofield is, apparently, seeking to impose celibacy on anyone whose attraction is solely to those of the same sex. That's my problem with him. So far as I know, he denies that living in a monogamous sexual relationship can be a godly way of living. Perhaps he has not known same-sex couples who are trying to live godly lives. Perhaps he has avoided knowing such couples. The latter, I believe, would be a sin - Jesus tells us to love our enemies, and how can you love someone without knowing them, without listening to them? That's speculation, of course - I do not know Schofield as a minister.

11/30/2006 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we are getting lost in the little strings holding together all this. Condeming a person for any reason "judgement" you know judge not love your brother or sister live your life give forgivness. To say you understand what god has told you completley is crazy. I feel these issues should be of your least concern. The lord sent his only son to die on a croos freeing us from sin perhaps the only sin left in this world is the distaste othiers feel when looking upoun there brother.

3/11/2007 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/09/2007 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gay or not, the man certainly continues to revel in the sin of gluttony. With so many starving, he sins each time he places food into his mouth. Having conquered his one sin by ignoring it, perhaps it's time he fast.

12/24/2007 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be mistaken, but did John-David Schofield once run a club called the "Androgeny Center" in San Diego in the mid 70's. It promoted bi-sex

1/11/2008 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my response to Fr. John and his site, Meditatio:

My family and I are close friends with the Bishop and have a close relationship with him, and anyone who has heard his testimony would surely know that he is not homosexual or even struggled with homosexuality.

At his early years as a Priest he had an encounter with Christ and before that encounter he was depressed and was determined to leave the Priesthood and be married in order to give expression to his heterosexual feelings within the bonds of holy matrimony. It was precisely about Bishop Schofield's heterosexual urges that Jesus confronted him. In this vision, Jesus came to him and told him to remain in the Priesthood which John-David, by his own testimony, refused to do. He wrestled with this vision of Christ and going back to the chapel that evening, heard the Lord say to him, "Don't you think that if I'm calling you to be a celebate Priest that I can make it possible for you to experience a life of sexual purity in body and soul?" Upon that promise Schofield said yes and recommited himself to live the rest of his days as a celebate Priest. There's no admission in his testimony to ever suffering from homosexual dires. His admission was to heterosexual dires. This is common knowledge and anyone who knows the Bishop would also know this. No doubt there are many gay "hitmen" like yourself who have found an additional calling besides their Priesthood to defame, defraud, and assasination the character of men like Bishop Schofield who stand in the way of the kind of reprobate and heretical Priesthood and Christianity men like you both represent and feel their calling to spread.

The Bishop has said time and again this whole issue has not been against homosexual Priests but for the inerrancy of scripture.

2 Timothy 3:12-13 tells us that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse deceiving and being deceived."
Titus 1:15-16 "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are currupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciousess are currupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestible, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good."

Nicolas Bertolero
Knights of the Order of the Green Cross

4/18/2008 3:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Mr. Bertolero, I also have friends with first-hand reports of Schofield telling them he is a "cured homosexual." He brags about it, and uses it as evidence that they, too, can be "cured."

4/18/2008 4:06 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

If he is not gay, why is he not married? If he chooses not to marry, then why is he not a professed monk?

4/26/2008 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had the privilege of knowing Bishop John-David Schofield for over 20 years. During this time, we have had many conversations about his life. It is sad that people don't understand what is involved in a call to celibacy from the Lord. God gives those called to celibacy supernatural abilities in the area of temptation. John-David+ has never been inclined in the least toward homosexuality. He's never married because God clearly called him into celibacy. That wasn't John-David's plan. Regarding his obesity. Weight has always been a fight for him. One might call it a sin, or might call him a glutton, but then he who is without sin is always ready to cast the first stone. And then there's this little item, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not is in us." And another little item, "He who says, 'I know Him' (Jesus) but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him;..." Since we are all sinners and each have our own areas in which we constantly struggle, we need not bite and devour one another or make up lies or suppose that we know some dirty little secret about another because they don't agree with our theology. Additionally, there is nothing self-hating about John-David.

4/30/2008 12:47 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Dear most-recent-anonymous poster:

You're ignoring the facts. There are first-hand reports of Schofield claiming he is a "cured homosexual," and he's in print as claiming that label. He brags about it, and uses it as evidence that others, too, can be "cured."

To me, he exhibits self-loathing behavior. He wraps in the garb of celibacy. Of course he has the right to do that. But I'm adjudging him by his fruits.

4/30/2008 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in this diocese. So much money was wasted on parties at the bishop's retreat by invitation only - involving homo and hetero sexuals) that he sold property to meet diocesan budgetary needs. The thing that concerns me the most, though, was that John David started out as a Roman Catholic priest. I have to ask myself - what were his romantic relationships like before he swore celibacy?

6/02/2008 3:24 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Anonymous, I don't think you're correct about Schofield's being an RC priest. (Of course, I could be wrong.) Schofield was "affiliated" for a long time (and at least up through his deposition) with a Roman monastic order, in the same way that lay and ordained (including married) Episcopalians are "affilate members" of a convent or monastery. But I don't recall ever hearing he was Roman himself.

6/02/2008 5:49 PM  
Blogger John M. said...

I have seen this blog rather late in the conversation for which I apologize. I have been a licensed lay reader and licenses eucharsitc minister both pastoral and liturgical for many years. I was licensed in and lived in the Diocese of the San Joaquin from 1987 to 1994 and had many dealings with Bishop Schofield. He is a political animal and can be incredibly nasty and vicious in his dealings with those he feels are against him. In his case, if you are not for him you are deemed to be against him no matter how moderate your point of view. A true follower of Christ he is not! My second point is more general. For all of you homophobes out there, do you honestly believe that God doesn't have better things with which to concern himself than what set of genitals is banging away against each other? Take a look at the vastness and mystery of the Universe, my friends, and tell me that there are not much bigger and more important things out there than this!

12/07/2009 10:18 AM  
Blogger teener said...

From another anonymous:
I too personally know Bishop Schofield. In fact, if it had not been for this man I would probably not be a Christian today. He was my spiritual director in the early 1980s and he is the one man I know who I can honestly say about: "One look at his joy and you know this man knows God personally". If you spent time with him in a Church setting you would all know the same thing.

I have had him to many dinners at my home and used to cook for the retreats that were held at the Church he pastored prior to being elected Bishop. He loves good food and has said that too many people want to feed him. They want to feed him because they desire his company and that is one way to get him to socialize with you. I suppose he has always been much too busy to exercise. I've never seen a busier man.

I have heard his testimony many times and have it on tape as well and I have NEVER heard that he was a celibate homosexual come from his lips. If this were true I'm very sure that he would have used the experience as part of his ministry to help others come out of the life style. That is who he is as a person.

I do remember him talking about the woman he was in love with and his vision of God which told him that the ministry God needed from him would have no room for a wife.

From what I know about Bishop John-David, I know that his first love is God and God's Word. He is very charismatic and if he wanted to have a ministry to homosexuals he would have it, do it better than anyone else and would use his own life as an example.

3/06/2012 12:34 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

LOL, I think we only need to see photos of Schofield to know how much he loves dining.

As to whether he is a faithful spiritual counselor, I will let the record stand for itself.

He will have to stand before God for the sins he has committed, as will we all.

3/11/2012 10:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

BTW, Teener, I am amused that you felt a need to comment on this five-year-old blogpost. How big a torch are you carrying for the former Episcopal Bishop Schofield?

3/11/2012 10:43 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

After numerous conversations with Bishop John David, I don't believe he was gay. I never heard him say, nor anyone who knew him say that he was a celibate homosexual man. Is it impossible for you to believe that a heterosexual person could chose a celibate life upon entering the priesthood? If you don't think so, maybe you need to look at your own bias attitude. Cyndy

10/21/2014 7:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Dear Cyndy, I'm not the one who described him as a "recovering homosexual" committed to celibacy. Those were his words.


10/23/2014 8:48 PM  
Blogger Stephen E said...

Dear friends, I'm just reading this blog after having searched for Bp Schofield's obituary, not having read it previously. I feel compelled to add my two cents from Texas.

I met him but one time: when he came to Fort Worth, Texas in 1995 to preach one Sunday. I was fascinated by this man's heart, his sensitivity, and his desire that each of us have a relationship with the Living God - and, amazingly, his ability to preach two entirely different messages without any notes whatsoever. As a member of the vestry at the time, the rector asked that, if I had no plans after the last service, I might be willing to take the Bishop back to DFW Airport for his flight home. We had a spirit-filled ride to the airport whereupon arriving and parking at the curb - as it was before 9/11 - I offered to help him with his luggage to the ticket counter. He checked in, and we had a few minutes more before he had to go through what minimal security there was at the time. We talked about the future of the Church, and of the church. As he was preparing to leave, he asked if he might pray for us, for me and my family, and for our parish. What happened was something I will never forget; he prayed for a moment, and then, laying his hands on my bowed head he blessed me and my family. I felt a rush of heat go through me as I had never felt before (and only two other times since).

Regardless of what Bishop Schofield was or might have been, he recognized that we are all the same: we are all creations of God (that is by His design), we are sinners saved by His Grace through the Holy Spirit and thus made children of God.

May God's Peace be with you all.

9/20/2016 11:14 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm glad you shared that story, Stephen. Too bad the bishop would never have blessed a gay person.

9/21/2016 8:07 PM  

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