Now, every Catholic person who has ever practiced the faith could technically be called a "would-be saint," since the call to holiness is both personal and universal and we're all supposed to be trying to get to heaven. But in this case, Time is talking about someone specific:
Newman, whose ideas on conscience and faith have influenced Christian theology ever since, is expected to be beatified next year following the Vatican's recent certification of a Newman miracle — when a Boston man's cure from a crippling spinal disease could not be explained medically. The final step of canonization — full Sainthood — will require proof of an additional miracle achieved through the intercession of Newman's spirit. The Vatican announced plans this month to move Newman's remains from a small gravesite in the central English town of Rednal to a specially built sarcophagus in the Oratory Church of Birmingham, where, officials say, they will be more accessible for venerating faithful.
But British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell sees ulterior motives in exhuming the Cardinal: "embarrassment" because of his relationship with St. John. "They were inseparable, they lived together for half a century, effectively like husband and wife," says Tatchell. "There were repeated allegations during [Newman's] lifetime about his circle of homosexual friends. It is uncertain whether their relationship involved sex. It is quite likely that both men had a gay orientation but chose to abstain from sexual relations. But abstinence does not alter a person's sexual orientation." Tatchell says that the two men's bond, and Newman's abiding wish to have his final resting place next to St. John's, make separating their remains "an act of dishonesty and betrayal by the homophobes in the Vatican."
First off, let me answer Time's question: Was a would-be saint gay? The answer: No. If I were feeling particularly impolite, I'd expand on that answer: No, you idiots.
Did Cardinal Newman suffer from same-sex attraction? I don't know. I'm not a Newman historian, I haven't examined the evidence, and frankly I doubt if any really compelling evidence even exists. But I can assert with full confidence that Cardinal Newman wasn't "gay."
Why? Because to be "gay" means more than suffering from the affliction of same-sex attraction disorder. It means more than embracing the often agonizing cross of strong affectionate feelings for members of one's own gender while living a life of committed celibacy. It means more than dealing with the quite-often painful realities that the disorder may bring in its wake, while placing one's humble trust in God and seeking to serve Him and to follow His commandments, including the ones about sexual activity.
No, being "gay" means insisting that the disorder which causes one to be sexually attracted to one's own gender is no disorder at all, that it is perfectly normal and healthy not only to have these feelings but to act on them, that sexual activity with the members of one's own gender is something to which one is entitled, that society must conform by marginalizing all those who disagree and by redefining and reordering such institutions as marriage and the family to accommodate one in these beliefs, and that any detriments one suffers, whether physical, mental, emotional, or all three, stem from "homophobia" and not from the naturally negative consequences of engaging in dangerous sexual activity with members of one's own gender or in equally dangerous rationalizations of the fear, self-loathing, anger, emptiness, and destructiveness that rise up again and again no matter how affirming and congenial the people around one are.
So Cardinal Newman can't possibly be described as "gay." But the gay activist quoted in Time fits the definition of "gay," especially as he sees the decision to move the grave of Cardinal Newman not as being an ordinary step in the canonization process but a calculated move to separate the cardinal from his lifelong friend, with whom he pretty much certainly did not have any kind of illicit sexual relationship. Then again, Mr. Tatchell thinks that Pope Benedict XVI is also a closeted "gay," and says this about him:
Pope Benedict he (sic) is the ideological inheritor of the Nazi homophobia. He’d like to eradicate homosexuality, but since he can’t put LGBT people in physical concentration camps, is doing his best to put them in psychological concentration camps.
Frankly, one would think that Time could find somebody other than a pope-hating gay activist to complain about the Cardinal Newman grave move; or that if they couldn't, they'd realize that there really wasn't any story here. But I've learned never to underestimate the mainstream media's commitment to advancing the gay agenda or to bashing the Church, and I know that they absolutely love it when the opportunity to do both lies buried in the same ground.