Saturday, June 30, 2012

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Opting for the Condescending and Charged Term, Homosexuals"

This is one of those good droppings that provide valuable fertilizer: writing at America's "In All Things" blog about Oakland bishop Salvatore Cordileone's attempt to impose an "oath of personal integrity" on the group Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry (CALGM) that would even include forcing them to eschew the term "gay" for "homosexual," Michael O'Loughlin observes,

Many Catholic organizations, whether official or not, usually shy away from even naming gays and lesbians as such, sometimes opting for the condescending and charged term, homosexuals. Does the bishop’s suggestion that employing the words gay and lesbian openly may forfeit Catholic identity suggest that even recognizing these men and women exist is now verboten?

As I keep insisting, I'm convinced that the academically well-grounded top editors at the influential Catholic journal Commonweal who substitute the term "homosexual" for "gay" (and here) know precisely what they're doing when they employ that substitution.  And to whom they're playing.

They know better.  But they don't intend to do better.  They intend to do the opposite.

Because they are far more thickly connected to the political and religious right (e.g., to Timothy Dolan and Bill Donohue) than to their fellow Catholics of a progressive bent, the latter of whom they intend to keep marginal in the conversations of the center. 

And because they do not intend--ever--to subject to any critical scrutiny their own unmerited heterosexual power and privilege within the Catholic context.

Unfortunately, they forfeit academic and journalistic credibility by their deliberate, in-your-face use of a term naming gay people which many of us who are gay have long since put aside and asked others to drop.

And, even worse, they show themselves to be rather seriously tone-deaf to the very real and very painful oppression gay and lesbian human beings experience on a daily basis throughout the world and in American society as well.  Oppression that calls on Catholics to listen, make solidarity, act--to lift injustice and relieve pain.

Not to exclude and further the unmerited suffering of a stigmatized minority group.

No comments: