Thursday, November 11, 2010

Minnesota Catholics Respond to Anti-Gay Marriage Video: So Much Needless Pain

I just wrote,

Gay and lesbian people are frequently made homeless today by their brothers and sisters in Christ.  And that pain--the pain of exclusion from home and family--is at the heart of the problem of suicides of gay youth.  It is a terrible indictment, indeed, of Christianity as it is now understood and practiced by many Christians, that many of its adherents seem unable to understand the cruelty and hurt they are inflicting on other human beings by their commitment to a ruthless border logic that turns some human beings into unwelcome outsiders, simply because of who God has made them to be.

The pain of expulsion, when followers of Christ treat other followers of Christ as threats to the ritual purity of the community and make these imagined threats homeless, is on full display in the video featured in Michael O'Loughlin's recent discussion of the anti-gay marriage video the Minnesota Catholic bishops sent to all the state's Catholics prior to the recent elections.  

As I watch, I'm struck by the comments of Jan Buczek, the mother of a gay daughter who is a faithful Mass-goer at the cathedral in St. Paul.  Buczek prefaces her comments about the video distributed by the Minnesota bishops by noting, "I can't explain the pain."  And then she goes on to say, 

There's so much pain.  Needless pain.  And our archbishop and the pope, they're supposed to be loving shepherds.  And they're not.

And when she writs to her bishop, John Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul, who spearheaded the political video campaign, the response he shoots back is, 

Your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversion of heart on this topic.  

Buczek has a gay daughter, whom she will not repudiate.  Because she is a mother.  Because she is a good, faithful Catholic mother.  Her pastoral leaders' repudiation of that beloved daughter stabs this Catholic mother's heart.
And when she shares that pain with the pastoral leader who presides over the cathedral at which she attends Mass several times weekly, how does he respond?  Does he assure her that he understands her pain and struggles alongside her?

No.  He threatens her.  He bullies.  He tells her that her eternal salvation is at stake.  And that it hinges on obeying him.  Not on loving her daughter.

Jan Buczek has it absolutely right: "Our archbishop and the pope, they're supposed to be loving shepherds.  And they're not."  Not when it comes to their treatment of their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ, and the families and loved ones of those brothers and sisters.

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