Monday, September 15, 2014

Another Suicide of a Gay Teen: Catholic Context

This heart-breaking story of the suicide of yet another gay teen is a reminder of why it matters — why it should matter — that the Catholic church in the U.S. (or anywhere else) is moving backwards  regarding welcoming and including gay members. And this story is a reminder of why it matters that, as Jerry Slevin notes, as the synod on the family nears, Pope Francis appears to be signaling a complete "non-approach" to the families of gay Catholics.

As Thom Senzee is reporting for the Advocate and Adrian Garcia for The Gaily Grind, Sergio Urrego, a sixteeen-year-old teen in Bogotá, Colombia, took his life last month after a teacher at Gimnasio Castillo Campestre saw a photo of him on his cellphone kissing his boyfriend. The teacher reported the photo to school officials, at which point the principal of the school called a meeting of students and teachers, per various published reports, at which he announced that Sergio was an "atheist," an "anarchist," and a "homosexual."

Sergio was sent to the school psychiatrist, his boyfriend was outed by school officials to his parents, who withdrew him from the school, and Sergio was, his mother alleges, hounded in one way after another by school authorities from this point forward. His parents indicate that they requested meetings with these authorities to discuss what was going on, and were told that the problems stemmed from his parents and their unwillingness to accept that their son was gay.

As I say, this tragic story is why it matters that discussions of Catholic families include discussions of gay Catholic families. And of Catholic families who have gay members.

And of Catholic institutions whose coldness and brutality towards those who are gay can make a life-or-death difference, especially for vulnerable young people.

The photo is from Sergio Urrego's Facebook page by way of the Advocate article linked above.

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