Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quote for the Day: Church Claims about Respect for Gays Frequently Belied by Catholic Practice

Catholic teaching on LGBT people is crystal clear: we are to be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, should be free of any unjust discrimination, and must be protected from any malice or actual violence, in speech or in action. It also includes, as Pope Francis recently reminded us, that it is not up to anybody else, even for himself, to judge others – including gay and lesbian people. 
The experience of far too many gay and lesbian Catholics sadly, is that very many ordinary Catholics, and some priests and even bishops, simply ignore these compassionate elements of teaching to focus exclusively on the best known part of Vatican doctrine – that all genital acts outside of marriage and not open to procreation, are prohibited. That prohibition of course, applies equally to everybody – but those who rant and rail so frequently against homosexuals in the Church, are usually strangely silent on that.

As Terry goes on to observe (and wisely so), the disconnect between the ideals of respect, compassion, and sensitivity proclaimed by the Catholic church, and the actual treatment of LGBTI human beings by many Catholic communities, causes many of us who are Catholic and LGBTI to look for Catholic liturgical communities that welcome and affirm us precisely so that we can cherish our God-given natures--and heal the wounds inflicted on us by both society and many communities of faith. And so the Catholic church does an added injustice--and a serious one--to its LGBTI members when its leaders seek to thwart the formation of such liturgical communities and to shut down parishes or liturgies that are actively welcoming to these individuals.

To which I'd add: the problem is compounded for many Catholics when we meet hate speech of the sort we can encounter at very many Catholic blog sites on a routine basis. Hate speech coming out of the mouths of self-professed "orthodox" Catholics whose Catholicity, they maintain, is of a higher and purer brand than that of the rest of us . . . .

That kind of thing, or even headlines reading "Pope on Homosexuals: 'Who Am I to Judge?'" when the pope has just said gay!: their effect is to run LGBTI folks away from the Catholic community. Since these messages tell us, over and over again, that we're second-class citizens in our church, that our voices count for nothing, and that Catholic newspapers which claim to defend human rights for everyone don't care much at all for our human rights or about the pain they inflict on us by treating us as subhuman.

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