Thursday, September 13, 2018

My Twitter Conversation with Catholic Democrats about "Tremendous Push Back" Against Viganò Crowd's Homophobia: Where Is That Push Back Taking Place?

Here's an exchange I had on Twitter yesterday with Catholic Democrats:

The exchange began with Catholic Democrats responding to Christopher Stroop, who had tweeted the following:

A Catholic priest in Chicago planned to burn a Rainbow flag. The archdiocese stopped it, but this is tellings, as the church is trying to shift the blame for abuse to homosexuality. Nice exposé, Carrie Maxwell and @WindyCityTimes! 
#EmptyThePews #LGBTQ

Catholic Democrats replied:

Let's be clear, though - there are some, especially a faction of right wing ideologues, who are trying to shift blame for crisis to gay priests. There has been tremendous push back from others w/in the Church. It's not accurate to say "the Church" as a whole is trying to do so.

To which I said

1) I'd say that "tremendous push back" is a relative term. Where is this tremendous push back taking place? Who's pushing back tremendously? 
I see some push back. 
2) But I also hear a lot of hate being poured out in Catholic circles, and notice a lot of silence on the part leading Catholic journalists about the homophobic hate connected to the Viganò charges — even when those journalists are pushing back against Viganò's false charges.

Catholic Democrats then responded to me, telling me that "some push back = tremendous push back," and, when I reiterated that the term "tremendous" seems to me a stretch and that even among journalists challenging Viganò's "testimony," I don't see a lot of attention to the homophobic basis of that "testimony," he responded,

We respect your opinion, but honestly, we disagree. We've seen a lot of very vocal push back from academics, journalists, etc., at least here on Twitter. No doubt, though, that there could be a lot more.

And, because I'm not one to leave things like this alone (my own humanity is at stake in these exchanges), I of course kept right on needling, telling him that he might do us all a service by compiling a reading list of all the vocal push back from Catholics academics and journalists to the homophobia pouring out in Catholic circles in the wake of the Viganò letter, and that it might be a good idea to call together a representative group of out queer Catholics and ask us — for a change — what we think and how we feel about the homophobic hate washing through U.S. Catholicism all over again now, and the usual silence of the Catholic intellectual sphere (media, academics, leaders of Catholic political groups) about that hate.

In other words, it might be a time to let us speak for ourselves, and to listen respectfully, and not dismiss our testimony out of hand. All of this might go a long way to shifting the dynamics that caused 6 in 10 white Catholics to vote for Trump.

It's time for such discussion.

Catholic Democrats thought that was a good idea. I have yet to see the reading list demonstrating the "tremendous push back" against the wave of homophobic hate now sweeping through U.S. Catholicism. And I won't hold my breath as I wait for Catholic "liberals" to create a forum in which we, the constantly defined and voiceless, finally get a chance to speak back to them in our own voices, as they make claims on our behalf that radically impinge on our lives and our connection to the church, but do not invite us into these defining conversations.

There has been a lot of nice talk for years about how this is a "good idea."

It's never followed by action.

And the same old voices — overwhelmingly heterosexual male ones — keep right on speaking shamelessly on behalf of those of us who are queer, as if we're voiceless and too dumb to speak for ourselves, and knocking us back into place the moment we open our mouths and ask to be included in the conversations that define us and our connection to the church.

You'd think after 6 in 10 white Catholics chose to vote for Donald Trump, and he is stacking the Supreme Court with more right-wing white Catholics and has surrounded himself in his federal administration with right-wing white Catholics, those fellows might finally have realized that their approach to these and other matters of inclusion, catholicity, standing with and listening to those on the margins, is a tad bit flawed. Is not working….

But they go right on doing the same old thing despite how it's not working, hoping to produce good results that simply don't come — because their conversation remains so stiflingly narrow, riddled with injustice, and uninformed by critical awareness of how their own unexamined unmerited power and privilege as heterosexual males cripples their vision of the world around them. 

Unexamined power and privilege are enormously blinding. You can't see far and wide when you take for granted the limited perspective afforded to you by your unmerited and unexamined power and privilege, and when you knock right back into place those "beneath" you as they try to offer you wider perspectives that come from positions of vulnerability and marginality.

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