In case you missed this in my posting about this topic yesterday, I want to lift this quotation out of the just-published PRRI report about why Americans (in particular, younger ones) are leaving religion behind: about Catholics who have left the church behind, PRRI reports,
Notably, those who were raised Catholic are more likely than those raised in any other religion to cite negative religious treatment of gay and lesbian people (39% vs. 29%, respectively) and the clergy sexual-abuse scandal (32% vs. 19%, respectively) as primary reasons they left the Church.
Notably, those who were raised Catholic are more likely than those raised in any other religion to cite negative religious treatment of gay and lesbian people (39% vs. 29%, respectively) and the clergy sex-abuse scandal as primary reasons they left the church. In my posting yesterday, I point you to Michael Peppard's commentary at Commonweal about these data.
As I noted, Peppard points out that the data on this point are "strong and getting stronger" — they're now incontrovertible — and that they back up the findings of Robert Putnam and David Campbell's book American Grace, which told us already over half a decade ago that churches' abuse of gay people is a primary reason younger churchgoers are exiting the churches.
Peppard ends his commentary by noting that these data have significant implications for Catholic leaders, in particular (he speaks of "church leaders," but it's clear he's addressing the finding that some 40% of Catholics who have left the church cite abuse of gay people as a primary reason for their exiting of the church). But as I noted, the slice of academic and journalistic lay leaders of the U.S. Catholic church represented by those who hang out at the Commonweal blog site has simply chosen to ignore Peppard's proposal that we discuss these data and the finding that some 40% of Catholics who have left the church have done so due to the abuse of gay people by Catholic pastoral leaders — and, clearly, due to the silent complicity of influential Catholic lay leaders in the academy and journalistic sphere, who appear to have been more or less untroubled by this abuse and the exodus it has precipitated, as they appear to have been more or less untroubled by the purge of many gay people from Catholic institutions and parishes following the 1986 Vatican declaration that gay people are intrinsically disordered.
This is not news, really, is it — that Commonweal, which has refused to take a stand in favor of the right of gay couples to civil marriage, or the largely white, heterosexual, and middle-class lay Catholic academic and journalistic leaders who gravitate to that journal's discussion space, simply refuse for the most part to engage open discussion about the abuse of gay people by Catholic leaders, or the complicity of powerful lay Catholic leaders in that abuse? It's nonetheless scandalous, I'd maintain.
Read the discussion thread spawned by Peppard's posting with its proposal that we talk about these findings — Notably, those who were raised Catholic are more likely than those raised in any other religion to cite negative religious treatment of gay and lesbian people (39% vs. 29%, respectively) as a primary reason they have left the church — and you'll hear a lot of discussion about why faith is a challenge to many white, heterosexual, middle-class Catholics in the U.S. today.
But you will hear hardly any recognition of the fact that the abuse of gay people by Catholic pastoral leaders and the complicitous silence of influential Catholic lay leaders present a serious obstacle to gay people, in particular, as they try to maintain faith in a loving God or in a church proclaiming good news about that loving God. And I repeat: this is scandalous. In the extreme. Especially in a period of Catholic history in which there is breaking news on an ongoing basis of yet another gay employee of a Catholic institution in the U.S. booted out of a job . . . .
How do people deprived of a livelihood and benefits like healthcare coverage, when they have worked hard and performed well, for no reason other than prejudice, continue believing in a loving God? And in the credibility of an institution that preaches to them the good news that God is love, while it takes their daily bread from their mouths for no justifiable reason other than sheer prejudice . . . ?
And when and how has it become possible for people shaped by Catholic social teaching, who present themselves as the lay arbiters of what it means to be Catholic in the world today, to imagine that their lives have no connection at all to the lives of fellow human beings shoved to the margins in this way? On what basis do they expect to be credible arbiters of what it means to be Catholic in the American public square when their own behavior towards a group of fellow human beings, fellow Catholics, so grossly belies everything that the Catholic tradition of social teaching is about in its most fundamental sense?
Scandalous. In the extreme.