Saturday, July 11, 2015

Former Jesuit Ben Brenkert Asks, When Will the Catholic Church Stop Firing Gays?

At the Daily Beast, Ben Brenkert, whose Catechism of the Heart: Memoir of a Gay Jesuit, will be published next year, asks when the Catholic church will stop targeting and firing gay folks working in its institutions. In his estimation, "Far from becoming more open [at this point in its history], the Catholic Church is doubling down on its homophobia." 

As he notes,

Even after the victories on same-sex marriage in Ireland and America, gay Catholics are still plagued by witch hunts. 
Married LGBTQ people are being fired from their jobs in high schools and/or parishes, and they are denied tenure at higher institutions of learning. 
Universities like Notre Dame and Seton Hall shamefully recruit gay athletes to fill stadium seats, to sell tickets, but they cannot guarantee the safety or well-being of these "fringe characters" on campuses where student populations are often hostile, believing that they are being faithful to Church teaching.

Brenkert maintains that the Catholic hierarchy have chosen to make the issue of homosexuality a noble (or ignoble, depending on one's perspective) "last stand" on that high hilltop from which they do futile battle against modern culture, with its embrace of science and reason. As he points out, Catholic pastoral leaders justify singling out and firing openly gay employees of Catholic institutions, especially ones who marry now that this is an option, because they contravene the stipulation of Catholic moral theology that sexual acts be open to procreation and occur in the context of a lifelong union of one man with one woman.

Obviously,  however, these norms are not applied in the same rigid way to heterosexually married employees of Catholic institutions using contraceptives, or to heterosexually married employees of Catholic institutions who divorce and remarry — or even to heterosexual employees of Catholic institutions living with a partner without the benefit of marriage.

As they have long been, gay people are singled out for special disdainful cruelty in Catholic institutions, and as these institutions target and purge gay employees, those gay employees cannot count on the solidarity of even their "liberal" straight colleagues who freely and openly maintain their right to use contraceptives in contravention of official Catholic teaching about the need for every sexual act to be open to procreation. All of which may go a long way toward explaining why Americans rank the Catholic church as the religious group most hostile to gay people among all religious groups in the U.S., with Mormons next and evangelicals following them.

The photo of Ben Brenkert is from a previous Daily Beast article.

No comments: