Three instructive comments by Catholics discussing the Orlando massacre at Catholic news and blog sites:
Here's a reader with the username Sonus Silentium responding to Mark Pinsky's article at National Catholic Reporter about the religious response to Orlando:
The Catholic Church is very good (in most cases) at offering prayer and comfort to gay people and their families once we're dead or seriously injured, but while we're still alive - not so much. And that makes reading an article like this seem to me, as a gay person, more than a little ironic in light of the Church's centuries-long persecution of gay people in myriad ways.
Several years ago Jesuit priest James Martin wrote a wonderful piece for America Magazine entitled "What should a gay Catholic do (with their lives)?" It can be found here.I urge anyone who's at all sympathetic to the plight of gay Catholics (at least those remnant few who remain) to read that article and ask yourself how you would comport your life if you happened to be gay and Catholic. It's very easy for straight Catholics to smugly and reflexively say that of course you would abide by the church's teachings and avoid any sexual intimacy and even the prospect of love, the one thing that the church is supposed to be all about and something for which all human beings yearn. But the fact remains that until you're faced with such a reality yourself you'll never know what it's really like - you simply have to take our word for it - and so far, that's something the institutional church has not been willing to do. The result has been a pastoral failure of monumental proportion, one which the church isn't anywhere near confronting.
Here's Michael Boyle at his Sound of Sheer Silence site describing what it was like to drive to Cleveland to attend his first same-sex wedding in the days after Orlando, and, while driving, turn on the radio and hear a man named Al Kresta commenting on the Catholic network EWTN about how same-sex marriages aren't "real" marriages at all:
The bottom line is that Mr. Kresta and his fellow-travelers are wrong; the love I saw on Saturday is real. It is as real as that of anyone else's love I have been privileged to see and feel. It was as real as the earth and sky on my drive up to Cleveland. If I can't trust what I saw on Saturday, I can't trust anything at all. And I cannot fathom how anyone could be there and not come to the same conclusion. If you were there, and you were willing to see, then you would know. It doesn't matter where you come from or what pre-existing ideas you bring to the table; if you are willing to look, then you will see, and you will know.
And here's a regular commenter at Catholic blog sites, Nancy/Anne Danielson, who is said to have, as I've noted here previously, a gay child, but who is bitterly opposed to LGBTQ people and rights, in the name of Catholic values. Nancy is responding to the "Queer Lives Matter" posting at dotCommonweal to which I pointed you several days ago:
Why not tell those men and women who have developed a same-sex sexual attraction the truth? It is because we Love you, and respect your Dignity as a beloved son or daughter, that we cannot condone the engaging in or affirmation of any act, including any sexual act that demeans your inherent Dignity as a beloved son or daughter. The desire to engage in a demeaning act of any nature, does not change the nature of the act. We Love you, and because we Love you, we desire that you will always be treated with, and will always treat others with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public. We will not tolerate the engaging in or condoning of sexual behavior that does not reflect the upmost respect for the human person.
Think about Nancy's comment in light of the testimony of the two other Catholics in the thread here, one a gay person (Sonus Silentium), the other (Michael Boyle), a straight ally of LGBTQ people. Sonus speaks in his first-person gay Catholic voice about the considerable pain inflicted on LGBTQ people in the name of what Nancy Danielson wishes to call "truth." As he says, "It's very easy for straight Catholics to smugly and reflexively say that of course you would abide by the church's teachings and avoid any sexual intimacy and even the prospect of love, the one thing that the church is supposed to be all about and something for which all human beings yearn. But the fact remains that until you're faced with such a reality yourself you'll never know what it's really like - you simply have to take our word for it - and so far, that's something the institutional church has not been willing to do."
Michael speaks about what he saw at a same-sex wedding: love. Real love, pace right-wing Catholics who wish to demean LGBTQ human beings by saying that our loving, committed relationships are not real.
Nancy then tells us — she tells her own gay child! — that superimposing her "truth" on the life of her gay child is an act of love, even when that "truth" cruelly informs her child that he/she debases his/her humanity by acting in love on the basis of his/her nature.
I love you so much I need to hurt you to get you to see my truth: that you have been made, in your very nature, wrong. And to act on that wrong nature compounds the wrong.
I haven't seen Nancy proclaiming this same "loving" "truth" on Catholic blog sites, as she condemns the "demeaning acts" of heterosexual couples who use contraceptives — a far greater challenge in the Catholic church right now, when the vast majority of married Catholics do, in fact, contracept, violating the very same moral norm that people like Nancy want to apply unilaterally to LGBTQ human beings to inform them that their sexual acts are demeaning, unloving, a violation of the dignity of the human person.
What I would like to tell Nancy — and have, in fact, said to her directly at various Catholic blog sites in the past — is this: I'm sorry, but you don't get to redefine the term "love." What you're doing to your gay child and to LGBTQ people in general as you use your "truth" as a hammer to hit us over the head is the antithesis of love.
And we have the right, as those being hammered, to tell you that the effects of your words are violent and hateful, the opposite of love.