“The Gift of Gay”: Father Matthew Kelty, Confessor to Thomas Merton, Dies at 96


“People always leaving just as other folks arrive.” That is the line that suddenly came to mind when I learned that Father Matthew Kelty left this world peacefully at noon on Friday last. This is a great loss to those of us newly, and not-so-newly, arrived, and I wanted to try to explain why I think this is so. This remarkable monk spent fifty off-and-on years at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where he was the last confessor that Thomas Merton ever had; and if that wasn’t enough to warrant further discussion, he was also a gay priest who came out in one of his most eloquent essays at the ripe old age of ninety. We will not soon see the likes of such monks again.

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