Sunday, August 12, 2018

To LGBTQ Young People: If You Want Healthy Spiritual Lives, Walk Away from U.S. Catholicism As Fast As You Can — As Ugly Homophobia Convulses Church Again

It's time for me to issue another of those public service announcements warning LGBTQ folks seeking healthy spiritual foundations and welcoming, affirming, loving religious communities to run as fast as their feet can carry them away from the Catholic church in the U.S. Especially young LGBTQ folks or gender-questioning ones seeking those foundations and those loving religious communities….

American Catholics are convulsed — all over again — by the McCarrick story and now the 2016 letter of Richard Sipe (may he rest in peace; we have lost much with his leaving us) to Bishop McElroy, which was made public following Richard Sipe's death. Catholic-themed social media is ablaze right now with lavender-mafia hysteria regarding both the McCarrick story and the letter to McElroy — and it is not a healthy place for LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ young people, to encounter.

As an example of the kind of hateful filth that's floating around in Catholic discourse communities right now — toxic, dangerous filth for anyone seeking a healthy self-understanding as an LGBTQ person, with spiritual foundations and loving religious community — check out a blog posting that appeared yesterday with the title, "ADULT EYES ONLY: Richard Sipe’s Letter to Faggot Archbishop Robert McElroy – FOR AGGRESSIVE COPYING AND DISTRIBUTION."

I refuse to link to this filth. You can find it easily by googling. You'll know you've landed on a loving Catholic-themed religiously-grounded site (perhaps of the Latin Mass ilk) when you see the Latin inscription emblazoned at the top of the blog: Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta. What this person is verbalizing in cruel, impolite ways is no more than what a whole milieu of Catholic bloggers and Catholic social media users are also saying right now, if in more veiled and "polite" ways.

They're determined to pin the corruption in the priesthood and hierarchy on gays. Period. Never mind the stories of priests raping five-year-old girls or the testimony about priests fathering children they do not acknowledge. It's about the gays.

They're determined to mount a witch hunt to point the finger at gay priests and gay members of the hierarchy and try to weed them out of the Catholic club. They're determined to use McElroy, who wrote a positive blurb for James Martin's bridge-building book, to attack Martin. They're determined to pin all of the corruption on the current pope, though their grand idol Saint John Paul the Great, who shielded Marcial Maciel, made McCarrick a cardinal. Saint John Paul the Great also singled out McElroy as a prelate of honor and his orthodoxy watchdog and successor on the papal throne Benedict XVI made McElroy a bishop.

None of this matters. Nor does it matter that no papacies in recent years have been more resolutely anti-gay, more deeply hostile to gay people, than the papacies of Saint John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI. Nor does it matter that the resolutely hostile approach to gay people in Saint John Paul the Great's papacy was engineered to a great extent by Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Benedict XVI.

Nothing matters for a large slice of U.S. Catholics except asserting all over again that the Catholic club is a heterosexuals-only, heterosexist club in which LGBTQ human beings are decidedly unwelcome. Nothing matters except to fix on the current pope all the blame for corruption rooted in choices that two powerful, resolutely anti-gay Catholic figures, Saint John Paul the Great and his henchman Cardinal Ratzinger, made knowingly.

Nor does it matter to any of those baying for the blood of gay priests and hierarchical figures right now that the letter of Richard Sipe they are using as their blunt instrument to draw blood states explicitly,

It is credibly established that thirty percent (30%) of U.S. bishops have a homosexual orientation. This is not a condemnation nor an allegation of malfeasance. The list of homosexual Popes and saints is long and illustrious.

Check out the response to that statement in "ADULT EYES ONLY: Richard Sipe’s Letter to Faggot Archbishop Robert McElroy – FOR AGGRESSIVE COPYING AND DISTRIBUTION."

If LGBTQ Catholics expect the "liberal," enlightened wing of American Catholics, its intellectual and journalistic elite, to offer a viable, strong alternative to all of this filth, a loving and welcoming one for LGBTQ people, then have a look at the article just published by a leading U.S. Catholic journal America a few days ago, in which two celibate gay Catholics are allowed to speak for all LGBTQ Catholics, as they voice fears of precisely the kind of blood-thirsty witch hunt we now see underway. 

This journal repeatedly features only the voices of LGBTQ Catholics who accept magisterial teaching that calls on them to live celibate lives devoid of intimate, loving relationship — as if those voices, which represent a small minority of LGBTQ Catholics, speak for all LGBTQ Catholics. And as if LGBTQ Catholics who reject magisterial teaching to affirm their God-given nature and to find loving relationships no longer have any right to be heard in Catholic conversations — though I'm completely unaware of any attempt in this journal or other Catholic journals to exclude from conversations about Catholic heterosexual ethics the 90%+ of heterosexual Catholic couples who reject the ban on contraception.

The U.S. Catholic church is a deeply unhealthy, deeply toxic place for LGBTQ people. The twisted lives and relationships of gay men who remain silent on the inside of the clerical system, refusing to acknowledge their sexual orientations in any public way, do no good whatsoever to LGBTQ people seeking healthy self-understanding and loving, affirming religious community. The ugly power-mongering games played by sexually active clerics and sexually active members of the hierarchy — people acting out both heterosexually and homosexually — do no good at all to the entire Catholic community. 

But LGBTQ people are particularly vulnerable to abuse in the American Catholic context, and the sooner many LGBTQ people seeking healthy self-understanding, spiritual foundations, and welcoming and loving religious communities recognize this, the better for them. The heterosexuals-only, heterosexist, homophobic club of American Catholicism is not a safe or good place for you. You'd be well advised to walk away from it as fast as you can. It's showing you its real face all over again in the wake of the McCarrick revelations.

And you will not be asked — not ever — what you think or need from the church, or how you see these issues. America will go right on asking self-denying gay people to speak for you, Commonweal will continue commissioning only heterosexual Catholics to define your humanity and speak about your rights, and National Catholic Reporter will keep on giving a high profile to Catholic journalists who take one pot shot after another at the gay community. 

There are more solid spiritual foundations and loving community to be found elsewhere: seek those places out.

The graphic: the title page from the 7th Cologne edition of Malleus maleficarum, "The Hammer of Witches" written by Dominican priest Heinrich Kramer, that served as a manual for those hunting and murdering "witches" in early modern Europe. The book from which this image is taken is in University of Sydney Library, and has been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons for online sharing.

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