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The Double Lives – And Second Lives – Of Gay Priests

Peter Priller was a Catholic town chaplain in Germany until he fell in love with a male parishioner, and was subsequently excommunicated. Though many closeted gay Catholic priests live in “secret societies,” Priller says there are other choices.

Members of the Rosa Alter group at a rally in Germany
Members of the Rosa Alter group at a rally in Germany
Ingrid Hügenell

MUNICH -- Peter Priller is a priest. He's also gay. For a long time he assumed he could reconcile the two by leading a celibate life. So in 1991 he was ordained and became a chaplain in the Bavarian town of Bad Tölz. Soon after, however, he realized it just wasn't going to work.

"I was conducting 11 o'clock mass one morning when I noticed this guy with a mustache," he says, laughing wistfully. The man was Josef Hanfstängl, who became the young chaplain's life partner in 1992. They were still together when Hanfstängl died in 2009.

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Ideas

The Trauma Of War, A Poisoned Guide For Parenting

As a psychoanalyst, Wolfgang Schmidbauer has researched the psychological effects of war on children — and in the process, also examined his own post-War childhood in Germany. In this article, he warns that parents tend to use their experiences of suffering as a method of education, with serious consequences.

Parents traumatized by war make their own experiences of suffering a core principle of education.

Wolfgang Schmidbauer*

As a young married civilian, British poet Robert Graves describes his mental state after World War I. "Shells used to come bursting on my bed at midnight, even though Nancy shared it with me," he wrote in Goodbye to All That, his wartime biography. "Strangers in daytime would assume the faces of friends who had been killed."

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