Saturday, July 6, 2013

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Mary Ann McGivern Speaks of Brothers' Death from AIDS, Fellow Catholics Pile On

Sister of Loretto Mary Ann McGivern publishes a thoughtful (and anguished) statement about how her family's struggle to deal with the death of two of her brothers from AIDS brought them into close contact with real-life gay folks. She points out that the experience of rubbing shoulders with real human beings who happen to be gay has significantly changed how many American Catholics think about issues of sexual orientation.

And then she concludes,

I am thinking a lot of my brothers Joe and Frank as I listen and read about the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and varied responses of gays, politicians, leaders in various faith communities. Joe and Frank died when they were 33 and 30. They should have had more hope for happiness than the world gave them. I am so grateful that the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered communities can be open about their sexual orientation and that today the joys of family life are open to them. 
Where does that put me within the moral teaching of the church? Count me as someone with difficulties.

And here's how some of her fellow Catholics choose to respond to Mary Ann McGivern's thoughtful and painful cri de coeur--this is Sala Martin:

I'm sorry for your pain, but your brothers didn't die because of anything the world did to them. They died because they had unprotected sex with multiple partners.

That's kind of her point, isn't it? If the Church had been there to tell her brothers (when they were younger) that they should embrace the fidelity of a monogamous relationship they would have been in a safer, healthier relationship. They might still be alive.  
It's what we Catholics tell hetero kids, right? 

And then our old friend Purgatrix Ineptiae (aka Felapton, aka Amy Ho-Ohn, aka multiple other usernames at various Catholic sites), who never misses any opportunity to try to link gay males to disease, death, and pedophilia, chooses to pile on:

And because they almost certainly engaged in acts of a particularly risky and unhealthy nature. If you love somebody, you don't take chances with his (or her) life. Not for any amount of physical pleasure. That is the teaching of the Church. Not coincidentally, it also happens to be the truth God has revealed.

And I'm downright embarrassed for the sake of these fellow Catholics, whose hearts are so stony and whose intent to demean and isolate gay men (since gay women never enter the picture when people use disease to stigmatize those who are gay) is so naked, so transparent, and so utterly at odds with the gospel message to all human beings. In the name of defending Catholic values, they completely betray them, and succeed in making it well-nigh impossible for many gay folks seeking to hear the good news of the gospel to listen with any interest at all if the lips proclaiming that news happen to be Catholic lips.

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