Monday, April 11, 2016

Keeping the Conversation about Amoris Laetitia Real: "Everyone Uses and Throws Away, Takes and Breaks, Exploits and Squeezes to the Last Drop. Then, Goodbye"

I'm now reading Amoris Laetitia — slowly — and am taking some notes on it. Here's a passage from §39 that makes me stop and think. These statements are embedded in a section of the exhortation speaking about impediments to family life in contemporary culture, and how the church should respond to those. 

Amoris Laetitia states, 

We treat affective relationships the way we treat material objects and the environment: everything is disposable; everyone uses and throws away, takes and breaks, exploits and squeezes to the last drop. Then, goodbye.

Actually, "Then, goodbye" sounds to me like a pretty apt way to describe the message many LGBTQ Catholics have heard for quite some time now from none other than the church itself. Disposable, used and thrown away, taken and broken, exploited and squeezed to the last drop: yes, I think many of us who are LGBTQ and have worked for Catholic institutions that used us and our talents and then threw us away as broken, exploited, squeezed-to-the-last drop disposable human beings might easily recognize ourselves in that very description.

We might easily recognize that this is how the church itself  has chosen to deal with us.

This is the loud, clear message that Catholic institutions keep giving to each and every LGBT person they throw out on his or her ear, stripped of salaries, healthcare coverage, a good professional reputation.

We who are LGBTQ have been hearing the church itself say, "Then, goodbye" to us loudly and clearly ever since Ratzinger issued his infamous Halloween letter in 1986 defining us as intrinsically disordered and ordering bishops around the world to expel Catholic groups ministering to gay folks from Catholic premises, if those groups were judged not to toe Ratzinger's line. 

And as all this has happened, we have certainly not heard some counter-messsage — "Don't leave us; your talents are needed; we'll find a way to make room for you" — from our many "liberal" Catholic brothers and sisters who have so much influence in the Catholic academy and journalistic sector. They have loudly and clearly echoed the message of "Then, goodbye," to us by their silent complicity as we've been singled out and excluded from the church family.

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