Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quote for the Day: "Are We to Infer that the Catholic Bishops in America Really Don't Want to Welcome Gay People?"

Andrew Sullivan on how the U.S. Catholic bishops (spearheaded by Cardinals Burke and Dolan, according to numerous reports) are trying to rewrite the relatio document issued by the synod on Monday, with its pesky word "welcome" re: the gays:

The hierarchs largely appointed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI have amended the English translation in ways that are unfaithful to the original Italian – and all as a way to tone down any outreach to gay people. So the section titled “Welcoming Homosexuals” has been changed to “Providing For Homosexuals.” So we are to infer that the Catholic bishops in America really don’t want to welcome gay people.

The answer to Andrew Sullivan's final question seems obvious to me: no, many members of the U.S. hierarchy don't want to welcome gay folks at all. Not if welcome means what it should mean: that is, that gay folks are fully welcome in the church, with all the rights and privileges of other members of the church. 

For that kind of welcome, the bishops know full well they have to pay a price. That price is respecting the full human rights of those who are gay. And they do not intend to pay that price, since it would compromise their "right" to see gay Catholics working in Catholic institutions fired at the will of the church's rulers.

And it should be noted that far too many lay Catholics, including many so-called "liberal" ones who have long since taken for granted their own right to use contraceptives and not be shamed as public sinners and barred from communion as they do so, are perfectly willing to permit the leaders of the church to play these ugly games with the lives of their fellow human beings who happen to have been made gay by God. Thereby demonstrating that the state of understanding of what it means to be either Catholic (in any authentic sense of that term) or Christian is abysmally low among even educated Catholics at this point in history . . . . .

Because a church that refuses to welcome is, quite simply, no church at all — not if the term "church" means that a Christian institution is rooted in the life and teaching of Jesus as we find those remembered for us in the Christian gospels . . . . The scandal many leaders of the church and those lay Catholics who permit them to engage in the ugly games they play with gay lives cause by their betrayal of something so fundamental to the gospel message as All are welcome here. Period, cannot be overstated.

It drives people from the church — has done so for several decades now, and will continue to do so at an accelerated rate, as the grave men running things ponder whether the word "welcome" really means "welcome," after all.

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