Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Call for Charity: Michael O'Loughlin and America Magazine on LGBT Catholics

I’ve complained on this blog about the tendency of the knowledge class at the center of the American Catholic church to suppress open discussion of gay people and gay lives—in particular, any discussion that allows those of us who are gay to speak in our own voices. And in those complaints, I’ve even gone so far as to mention the blog of America magazine, a journal to which I used to subscribe and which I’ve long respected.

Since basic decency (not to mention Christian charity) demands that we praise as freely as we critique, when praise is due, I want to mention an outstanding posting at yesterday’s America blog by Michael O’Loughlin ( Entitled “A Call for Charity,” it makes a strong appeal for a revision of the official Catholic stance (and the attitude promoted by millions of Catholics at the center) towards gay and lesbian persons.

O’Loughlin argues, as I have also done frequently on this blog, that the treatment the Catholic church dishes out to its gay members vitiates the church’s claim to defend the human rights of every human being. O’Loughlin notes the refusal of the Catholic church to endorse a recent U.N. declaration calling for decriminalization of same-sex relations. France offered this declaration to the U.N. in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (

As O’ Loughlin maintains,

There are millions of gay and lesbian Catholics in this country and around the world, and rather than seeing the church as a spiritual sanctuary, they often see the church instead as emblematic of the hostility that they face each day in their lives. Imagine the powerful message of Christ’s love for all people that would have been manifested had the Catholic representative to the UN supported the EU declaration. Imagine if instead of pouring millions of dollars into the fight against same-sex marriage, Catholics had spent that money to care for gay and lesbian teens made homeless by non-accepting families. The church is consistently a tireless advocate for human rights, unless, it now appears, those rights are to be extended to this increasingly marginalized group of people.

I recommend Michael O’ Loughlin’s posting, and I applaud America for publishing it.