Friday, October 26, 2018

We / They: How Refusal to Include Queer Voices in Synodal Conversations Undercuts Claims of Church about Itself as Sacramental Sign of Redemption

In response to a question from Deborah Rose-Milavec of Future Church about how the Youth Synod is dealing with women's and LGBTQ issues, delegate Yadira Vieyra states,

In terms of the topic of the LGBTQ community, we discussed how do we better minister to a group that feels attacked, that often times were ministered to in a poorly manner. They feel like they are displaced and that the church doesn't want them. We know that's not true.  Any Catholic knows that is not true. But our doctrine isn't going to change. We just need to find a way to make them feel that Jesus loves them. We hold them to the same standard as any heterosexual person who is having extra-marital relations. So it's important that we communicate that. The Church is here for them, but it's tricky ministering to a group that already feels attacked (emphasis added to original).

We and they: us and them

We are the Catholics. They are the problem for us Catholics.

We the Catholics are heterosexual. They, the problem for Catholics, are not heterosexual.

They are not church. Certainly not in the same way we are church.

Doctrine? It's our doctrine. We define the doctrine of the church.

When the church speaks, it speaks with our heterosexual voice. This must be taken as a given.

They are outside the church and must be addressed by our heterosexual voice in a way that lets them know we want to include them, problematic as they are.

They do not get a voice in the conversation defining the church, or the conversation defining what redemption means or what welcome means.

We cannot allow them to have such a say when they are outside looking in, not able to understand what it's like to be inside and what we see from the inside. Only those on the inside truly understand what Catholic doctrine and Catholic identity are all about.

What they might say to us as outsiders might, in any case, turn our presuppositions upside down, so that we might begin to see that the very way we frame the conversation — We are church, they are not; doctrine belongs to us and not to them — is outrageously cruel, outrageously unwelcoming.

It puts the lie to our claims to be loving, inclusive, concerned to maintain a catholic vision in which everyone belongs by baptism, so that there is no we and they, no us and them.

So that there are no problematized others about whom we have to anguish, as we, the chosen, the graced, the superior, try to figure out a way to welcome them, the unchosen, the ungraced, the inferior.

I will say it again: all of this — the way in which they, the heterosexual members of the church who unreflectively identity the church and its teaching with themselves while pretending to condescend and reach down to us, the non-heterosexual baptized — all of this undercuts the most central claims made by the Catholic church about itself in the most radical way possible.

You cannot profess to be a catholic church, a redemptive, a welcoming one, and behave this way.

Period. Bottom line. 

Until you stop this toxic nonsense, you will not be a credible sacramental sign of God's all-encompassing, redemptive love in a very fractured world. Because you are fracturing the church by this language and this behavior….

The preceding statements by Yadira Vieyra to Deborah Rose-Milavec are in a posting by Francis DeBernardo at Bondings 2.0, to which the link above points.

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