Friday, November 21, 2014

Archbishop Chaput's Forecast for the 2015 Synod on the Family: Gays Out of Sight, Out of Mind

For Religion News Service, Josephine McKenna reports that Archbishop Charles Chaput told the Vatican colloquium on gender issues this week that, at its final meeting next year, the synod on the family will not focus on "neuralgic sexual issues." As David Gibson reported recently, at their meeting in mid-November, the U.S. Catholic bishops elected Chaput a member of the delegation of bishops they'll send to the synod on the family, though — or because? (as Gibson also notes) — his record as a "culture warrior" is well-known.

For New Ways Ministry, Francis DeBernardo interprets Chaput's comment to mean that LGBT issues (and LGBT people) will be ignored by the synod on the family. Chaput implies that gay people are tantamount to "sexual issues," and that gay families aren't the kind of real families with which the synod and Catholic pastors need to concern themselves. 

Out of sight, out of mind. 

As Jean Ann Esselink notes for the New Civil Rights Movement, Chaput is saying, in essence, that "gay families will not be on the agenda" because gay families give him a pain. 

It appears that in the Catholic world, we've gone in very short time from 

a) gay human beings might possibly sometime, somewhere be welcomed in Catholic communities, to

b) gay human beings might possibly sometime, somewhere be "provided for" by Catholic communities (since we just can't say the word "welcome" when it comes to "these people") to 

c) (final draft of synod's relatio) the gays just don't exist.

The point Archbishop Chaput is now reiterating.

Out of sight, out of mind.

This is, of course, hardly a new approach to the gay community on the part of the Catholic hierarchy. It has been the default stance for quite some time now. As the hierarchy talks about family, or welcome, or human rights, or economic and social justice, or the poor, we aren't in the room.

Out of sight, out of mind.

None of those things apply to the gays.

As the hierarchy talks about going forth and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ to all the world, we who are gay simply don't exist for the hierarchy. We're not there. We're not in the room.

It's easier by far to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all the world and to pretend that the gays don't exist, since by their very existence, they present a "neuralgic" problem to the church and its proclamation of good news to all. Never mind that the "neuralgic" problem has been there for quite some time now, insofar as married heterosexual Catholics reject magisterial teaching about contraception — the "neuralgic" problem that results, in the mind of the Catholic hierarchy, from the de-linking of marital love from conception.

For which the hierarchy chooses rather exclusively to blame gay folks while ignoring the huge percentage of straight married folks who went down that road long before the movement for gay rights came on the scene . . . .

This is a shoddy, a shameful, a deeply unpastoral and cruel way to deal with a segment of the human community. The shock to many people watching the Catholic church from the outside is, I suspect, that so many Catholics continue to permit this way of dealing with gay people to continue on the part of Catholic pastoral leaders.

P.S. Have you noticed how, for all intents and purposes, the mainstream Catholic media have acted in the past week as if the Vatican colloquium on male-female complementarity just didn't take place?

The painting of the elephant in the room is by artist Leah Saulnier, whose website provides information about how to purchase prints or cards of it.

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