Thursday, September 22, 2011

Catholic Centrists Keep Dissecting the Gays: I Keep Listening and Wondering

Pastoral Response

As I read the ongoing conversations at the America and Commonweal blog sites about the recent Fordham conference discussing issues of sexual diversity in the Catholic context, I do not think I can feel more distant.  Stultifying.  Beside the point.  Words piled on words, saying little at all.  Absurd, contemptible attempts of the omnipresent right-wing Catholics who (unlike openly gay Catholics) have absolute entree in these "dialogues" to smear the Fordham event by linking it somehow, mysteriously, to Dan Savage.

And all the while, I keep trying to remember as I read, these words piled on words, these slicings and dicings of order and disorder, are about real human beings.  They're about brother and sister Catholics.

They're about people whose lives hang on the words, whose welcome or unwelcome depends totally on these words bandied about by brother and sister Catholics as if the people they are talking about are not in the room, are incapable of speaking.  Have nothing at all invested in these dialogues.

I know: I've said and re-said this.  But I can't help saying it again, as the discussion of the recent conference continues.

I can't help continuing to voice my reaction because this talking about nothing at all is such a disservice to the church, in the final analysis--and that's grievous to me.  This talking as if people are not in the room, this talking as if the people who are implicitly being dissected aren't really fully human (since making people invisible is the ultimate dehumanization): it weakens the fundamental claims made by the Catholic church in a very radical way.

It's not in any shape, form, or fashion a pastoral response to the issues being discussed.  And I wonder how we've arrived at this point, as a Catholic people--at a point at which our instinct when discussing brother and sister Catholics who have been made invisible is not first and foremost pastoral, not first and foremost about including and affirming?

The way in which the Catholic center continues to talk about gay and lesbian human beings says a great deal, I think, about what's wrong with American Catholicism right now, in its very core.

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