And still more commentary on the comments of Cardinal Dolan (and see here and here), president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Easter Sunday about loving gay folks, but:
As Peter Montgomery notes at Religion Dispatches, though Dolan got good press (headlines around the country and online said that he was affirming his love for the gays as a Catholic pastor), there are the nice words His Eminence spoke on Sunday, and then there's the reality that gay folks actually have to live within the Catholic institution:
Here’s one problem with the "warm embrace" that Dolan offered to gay people: GLAAD reports that Nicholas Coppola, an active parishioner at St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church on Long Island, has been stripped of all his many roles and responsibilities in the parish because he legally married his long-time partner.
"Being shunned from a community that means so much to me takes a toll, not just to me, but to those around me," Coppola says. "My mom cried. My husband has been a great source of support for me, but he is also struggling with this action. Even my fellow parishioners are hurt and angry that I can’t be involved in the parish anymore."
"We try our darndest to make sure we’re not anti-anybody," said Dolan. Well, if his "we" means the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, their "darndest" hasn’t been all that convincing, as even Dolan admitted. The bishops and their religious right allies have poured millions into campaigns portraying same-sex couples as a threat to children and families; they have insisted that equality for LGBT people is incompatible with religious liberty; and they have pulled out all the stops to prevent same-sex couples from getting married. Sorry, but this happily married gay guy finds that a little "anti-somebody."
At Queering the Church, Terry Weldon also reports on the story of Nicholas Coppola, noting that the blatant and unjust treatment he has just experienced in a Catholic parish in which he served as a religious education instructor, lector, altar server, visitation minister for homebound members, and a member of the Consolation Ministry and of St. Vincent de Paul is "very far from unique."
Terry's right. Though the media want to gloss over stories of the very real injustices real-life LGBT people experience repeatedly in Catholic institutions, those stories are legion. And though the centrist powerbrokers in the Catholic academy and Catholic journalistic venues want to pretend that overt discrimination against gay persons simply doesn't occur within Catholic institutions or is beneath notice (and that they themselves are in no way complicit in that injustice), it's not at all hard to track one story after another demonstrating the opposite.
And as Carl Siciliano reports, write Cardinal Dolan an open letter pointing out to him that his words and actions have real-life effects on real-life LGBT young people, ask him to meet some of those real-life youth, and you're very likely to get a letter back from His Eminence refusing your invitation and informing you that you've personally attacked his character and have used inflammatory, unfair, and unjust rhetoric.
Words are cheap.
And smiling faces on t.v. screens that claim to love, love, love gay folks aren't going to help those gay young people living on the streets one bit--gay young people, not a few of whom have been put out of their houses because of their families' religious beliefs. Beliefs that Dolan reinforces through the words he speaks out of the other side of his mouth when he's not on t.v. beaming his love for the gays. . . .
That memo from the new pope about how "pastors should smell like sheep, not like palaces, altars, and sacristies"? It appears not to have reached His Eminence yet.
At least when the sheep in question are the real-life gay and lesbian brothers and sisters whom he claims to love, but whose face he refuses to see as he continues to hurl down condemnations about assassinating his character when he's invited to walk among those particular sheep.