Ben McPartland reports at the France 24 website that the French Catholic hierarchy is reviving an old custom of having French Catholics offer a "Prayer for France" on 15 August, the feast of the Assumption.* The impetus for reviving this ancient monarchial custom?
Why, the gays, of course! The gays, who appear positively to be driving almost anything the Catholic hierarchy does these days, as it swats here, bats there, represses hither and yon. As the gays seem to be gaining more and more understanding and solidarity from people throughout the developed nations--outside the American bible belt, of course, where people still gleefully line up in droves in the hot sun to eat chicken sandwiches for Jesus and kick the gays in the teeth. And among duplicitous, self-deceived, power-infatuated centrist Catholic media gurus like Mike and Cathy who line up proudly and defiantly alongside their bible-belt brethren, claiming that they aren't wolfing down bible-belt homophobia and bible-belt ignorance--just protecting religious freedom.
In response to the report from France, a reader named Eric writes:
What they could pray for: they could pray for the poor. They could pray for the sick. They could pray for peace. They could pray for the oppressed. But no, all they can think of is to pray that people they hate are denied equality under secular law. Why does any decent person remain part of this bigoted organization.
Under Pope Benedict XVI (as under Pope John Paul II), the Catholic church has chosen to take a hard-right turn politically and theologically, allying itself with a dying culture of pre-Enlightenment ritualism, pre-Enlightenment autocracy, and pre-Enlightment disdain for reason and science. As the leaders of the Catholic church make a deliberate decision to hinge the future of the church on attacking modernity (they haven't recognized post-modernity yet), they've also made a cynical, ugly, deliberate decision to use a marginalized segment of the human community as human cannon fodder in their political battles.
That marginalized segment of the human community is gay and lesbian human beings, who are treated by the current regime ruling by the church as the subhuman enemy--not as brother and sister Catholics. Not as fellow human beings.
The enemy, against whom the church mounts the heavy guns of its pre-modern pomp and circumstance, seeking to reignite the prejudice and hostility that used to exist against gay and lesbian human beings before we discovered that sexual orientation is innate, and that gay and lesbian human beings are as fully human as anyone else is, and as fully deserving of human rights.
What they could pray for: they could pray for God's mercy on their own sorry selves, when, at the end of their lives, they'll be facing a God who judges us only according to the love we've embodied over the course of our journey through life.
*Thanks to Dennis Coday at National Catholic Reporter for the link to the McPartland article, in Coday's "Morning Briefing" column today.