My apologies to all of you who have left comments here in the past several days that I haven't been responding to and acknowledging your much-appreciated remarks. I am nursing a somewhat mangled right hand (nothing serious: the result of having my fingers carelessly wrapped in the dogs' leashes when one of them decided to lunge suddenly on our walk in the park several days ago). So typing is a bit difficult for me right now.
More than that, though, I'm tired and rather disspirited as I see how little the recent events in Ireland have opened any really new conversations among American Catholics. We seem inured to recognizing that our version of Catholicism, which is so heavily influenced by American-style individualism rooted in our Puritan culture, simply does not easily get what Catholics in many other places in the world including Ireland get: namely, that I connect to you and am responsible for you, and what you do affects me and vice versa.
We don't get, that is to say, that the question of equality for LGBT people is a human rights issue first and foremost, and not an issue of sexual ethics first and foremost. That is, many of us don't seem to get this in American Catholicism, and so we go right on blithely excluding from our conversation the very voices we need most to hear, if we're to address this human rights issue with any real intent to make headway against marginalization and discrimination.
We simply don't want to hear, many of us, what LGBT people have to say to us and to our church. And as I have repeatedly argued here, this is as true of many educated "liberal" Catholics in the U.S. who have long taken for granted their right as heterosexual people to ignore church teaching in the area of contraception as it is true for many reactionary ones.
In fact, I think the former group of Catholics are even more of an obstacle to frank, meaningful conversation about these issues than the latter are. The former have much more institutional influence, after all.
Hard to write much when I feel what I have to say is not heard or taken seriously, and that I myself just don't count very much to a lot of people who talk about Catholicity and morality. Hence my silence these days. Thanks for understanding.