Awkward Walks: The Transfiguration, Coming Out, and Pope Francis

March 16, 2014

Periodically in Lent, Bondings 2.0 will feature reflections by two New Ways Ministry staff members:  Matthew Myers, Associate Director, and Sister Jeannine Gramick, Co-Founder. The liturgical readings for the Second Sunday of Lent are  Genesis 12:1-4; 3:1-7; Psalm 33: 4-5, 18-19, 20, 22; 2Timothy 1: 8-10; Matthew 17:1-9.

The walk down Mount Tabor must have been awkward.

Scripture does not record what Peter, James, and John were thinking after the Transfiguration.  Perhaps they were edified by the mystical experience of God’s favor resting upon Jesus, alongside Moses and Elijah.  Or, more likely, I think they probably felt confused, frightened, and a bit distrustful of Jesus.  And that’s the real Transfiguration story – how the disciples struggled in their relationships with Jesus after the revelatory mountaintop experience – not the revelation itself.

Peter, James, and John ascended Mount Tabor with their own clear ideas of who Jesus was – friend, teacher, and fellow Galilean.  But now he’s suddenly different.  Whatever happened on that mountain, their perception of Jesus was changed in a profound way.  Jesus was still the same person as before the Transfiguration experience, but he was something more in their eyes as well — something which they had not known previously.

In their struggle to understand the Transfiguration, I wonder if the disciples felt a bit betrayed by Jesus, as if Jesus had intentionally withheld some big part of himself for all the time they had known him.  Maybe Peter, James, and John looked at Jesus and wondered with a certain sense of disbelief, “I thought I knew this guy.”  Perhaps they questioned, “Why didn’t he tell us sooner?” or “What else is he hiding from us?”  Or maybe, “Gee, this is more than I can handle.  I should go back to my fishing nets!”  These thoughts are why I imagine the walk down Mount Tabor was pretty awkward and filled with long silences.

I can think of two contemporary examples that illustrate transfiguration experiences – and the over-riding importance of a revelation’s impact on relationships compared to the revelation itself.

First, “coming out” by LGBT people to family and friends can be a transfiguration experience.  Disclosure of one’s own sexual orientation and/or true gender identity to loved ones is a big revelation.  However, it does not change the individual, but rather how others perceive and relate to them.  Like Peter, James, and John, family members and friends might experience feelings of confusion and mistrust.  They may experience similar questions as the disciples.  But, like the disciples, they must find ways to understand and incorporate this “coming out” revelation into their own perception of their loved one if the relationship is to continue.

Second, institutions can have transfiguration moments in the same way as individuals.  The first year of Francis’ papacy has been a transfiguration experience for me.  Pope Francis has revealed to me a new way of being pope that is profoundly different from his recent predecessors.  Now I find myself in the role of the apostles – afraid and distrustful – because I am not sure how to relate to this new Pope.  I love Pope Francis and want to be his cheerleader, but my negative experiences of previous popes have made me wary of religious authority figures.  It is taking me time to sort my own feelings between what I thought the papacy was and what Pope Francis is showing us it can be. 

The time following a transfiguration experience can be confusing and awkward – like the long walk of the disciples down Mount Tabor.  We may not be sure how to respond or how to relate to new revelations.  But it is important that we keep walking, keep talking, and remain open to see what happens next.    

–Matthew Myers, New Ways Ministry


Weighing Pope Francis’ Impact on Transgender Issues

October 14, 2013

Hilary Howes

Many have embraced Pope Francis for his welcoming remarks and actions towards gay and lesbian people, but what about transgender people? Two commentaries reveal both the positive effect the pope is having on issues of gender identity and the tremendous work remaining to make Catholic communities more inclusive for all.

Hilary Howes writes from the perspective of a trans Catholic woman in a post titled, “Oh What a Difference a Pope Makes…” She recalls comments by former Pope Benedict XVI who once condemned sex reassignment and shifting gender identities, contrasting this with Pope Francis in the America magazine interview:

“The pope comments: ‘St. Vincent of Lerins makes a comparison between the biological development of man and the transmission from one era to another of the deposit of faith, which grows and is strengthened with time. Here, human self-understanding changes with time and so also human consciousness deepens. Let us think of when slavery was accepted or the death penalty was allowed without any problem. So we grow in the understanding of the truth…The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong.’ “

In light of the pope’s dynamic viewpoint on Catholic teaching, Hilary asks what this could mean for transgender people if the Church can change:

“Could our new pope be speaking to transgender people (among others)? He sites slavery and the death penalty that were once supported by the church to show that the church can be wrong and can change. It’s a reading that looks for the loving embrace of god to deepen with the maturity that comes with science and social development. Not the retreat from science and social development that is fundamentalism. The mistreatment of transgender people by the church comes from out of date science and the most fundamental interpretation of church dogma, not even theology. This can end now, with this Pope’s leadership and given the overwhelming support of socially conscious American Catholics.”

Too many Catholics feel excluded from local churches because of their gender identity. With this exclusion in mind, Pope Francis’ interview spurred even conservative blogger Elizabeth Scalia to ask whether the Catholic Church has room for transgender people.

Elizabeth Scalia

Writing in First Things, Scalia speaks about a friend, Sarah, who was a trans woman attracted to the Catholic faith, but who declared “she could never convert because ‘the church wouldn’t have me, as I am.’ ” Of this Scalia writes:

“It broke my heart that Sarah believed this. I urged inquiry with a priest, but this child of God was convinced that there was no room for transgendered persons in the Catholic church. I thought there might be, and made a few discreet inquiries of my own; what I encountered was a general sense of dis-ease among the clerics and theologians I asked. None of them said ‘No, there is no room’ but none of them would definitively say ‘yes’ either…

“May Sarah be admitted into this field hospital for sinners? I considered my job, and the job of the church, as being first of all to love the person before me; to see Sarah, as Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Deus Caritas Est, ‘not simply with my eyes and feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ’; to respect the dignity of this human person seeking a relationship with Christ and then offer an arm of support for the journey. This might mean challenges down the road, certainly, but first and foremost it would require an unambiguous welcome.”

Scalia’s full post is flawed in its welcome because it perpetuates a negative belief that transgender people are in some way sinful or should be counseled out of their true identity. Yet, this questioning by even defenders of the hierarchy’s strict sexual ethics suggests that Pope Francis is having a positive effect on LGBT issues. In past years, such questions would have been dead on arrival, if they ever emerged at all.

Hilary’s faith comes through at the end of her post, and is a call for all Catholics:

“My god is the Creator. I believe our highest calling is to create. Our humble attempts at art, engineering, commerce, and social inventions honor our creator…Understanding creation as opposed to procreation as a central theme of faith helps us to appreciate the spectacular diversity of nature and humans and gender expression.”

By educating themselves, Catholics can overcome existing prejudices and misinformation about transgender people and participate in creating parishes, dioceses, and eventually a broader Church that is, in the words of Pope Francis, a “home for all.”

One start could be attending New Ways Ministry’s upcoming workshop, “Trans-forming Love.” You can find more information about the event here.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


Reflecting on ‘Coming Out’ to Celebrate National Coming Out Day

October 11, 2013

Today, October 11, is National Coming Out Day and though widespread acceptance of LGBT people is common, the process of coming out remains both difficult and sacred for many. Bondings 2.0 provides excerpts from several coming out accounts published recently that deal with coming out and Catholicism.

First, there is Jonah Saribay, a gay man from a traditional Filipino Catholic family, who shared his story in Honolulu Civil Beat about the coming out process, and how marriage equality could affect this. The news site reports:

“During Saribay’s sophomore year at Farrington High School in 2010, he was conflicted. He had hidden his sexual orientation for years — and then, for a while, tried to convince himself and his friends that he was bisexual.

‘I was so unhappy that I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live. I was gay, and I wanted to live my life as a gay man.’

Toward the end of that school year, he finally found the courage to tell his parents something that he had long known about himself. And when he did, he was in for a surprise: They were fine with the news and they said they loved him unconditionally.

The greatest challenge, he recalled, was ‘accepting myself. I was trying for years to get out of my own shell.’ “

Set amid a piece on Hawaii’s potential passage marriage equality, Saribay believes legalized marriage for same-gender couples would ease coming out for other LGBT youth by advancing the type of social acceptance he received even in a conservative Catholic family. Passing marriage equality could also curtail all-too-frequent bullying and harassment aimed at youth for their sexual orientation or gender identity. You can read more about how Hawaii’s educational system is working towards these goals already and the state’s push for equal rights on the Civil Beat website.

Second is the story of Derek Schell, who is the first openly gay male player in NCAA Division II basketball and who wrote an account of his coming out for OutSports this week. In the essay, Schell touches upon his Catholic schooling and Christian faith, as well as his renewed passion for the sport. After expressing the pain he underwent as young person growing up in a conservative area of the US, he writes about the decision to come out and how grateful he is to have made it, saying:

“In experiencing opposite ends of the spectrum in homophobia and in unconditional love, I have learned so many things from so many different types of people and haven’t been limited to just one way of thinking. It has been a blessing in disguise…Not only is life too short to dwell on other people’s expectations for you, but it is your decision to choose your attitude and how you react to your surroundings…

“Sometimes the darkest times in life are only doorways to the best moments of your life, the ones you were meant to experience and live to see…My challenge to you, whoever is reading this, is to be honest with yourself and how you’re feeling. God doesn’t make mistakes. Don’t keep saying you’re fine. You can be who you are and still be an athlete. You can do all the things you want to do and live a beautiful life that you’ve imagined for yourself. Find your peace of mind knowing you are giving your best self to the world. Be brave. Be love. But most of all, be you.”

Lastly, Daniel Reynolds, a staff member at The Advocate, writes about how his Catholic identity positively influenced his coming out experience. An altar server from age seven, Reynolds speaks about the belief in miracles he was imbued with when learning the faith and continues:

“As I grew older and taller, and my white robes began to cover less and less of my legs, I began to realize that I was attracted to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (in the biblical sense, indeed). At the time, it was a horrifying revelation. As I prepared for confirmation, the sacrament that asks a young person to pledge himself or herself to the church, I considered my sexuality to be an insurmountable obstacle in admission to the fold…

“It was around this time that something miraculous occurred.

The miracle was Antioch, a youth group Reynolds attended semi-annually where taboo topics were discussed over weekend retreats, leading him to come out eventually:

“For the first time in my life, I had entered a circle where I was entrusted with the secrets of others. Through Antioch and my church, I received one of the most powerful and most influential lessons of growing up — the cognizance that other people struggle with pain, and the responsibility of a community to help its members overcome it.

“Until Antioch, I had only shared the secret of my sexual orientation to one or two close friends…I began to realize that sharing my story would serve a purpose. In my heart I knew that other people in my group must be going through the same struggle, or they knew or were related to a person in the same situation. With this in mind, I decided that I would come out to my church. I believed that it was what God wanted me to do.”

Reynolds came out to his church and was warmly welcomed by the hundred people in attendance including his priest.  Now, the criticism Reynolds receives is often from the LGBT community who cannot understand his participation in the Catholic Church. While validating these criticisms, Reynolds concludes:

“But the truth is, the Catholic Church is a large part of the reason I am an openly gay man today. It has helped me to become a better person. Perhaps my experience is the exception rather than the rule, but I can’t help but believe that the love and support I received in the room that day — and that I continue to receive from my Catholic friends — outweigh the words of old strangers in Rome. I have yet to find sufficient reason to abandon the faith that has guided my parents, grandparents, ancestors, and myself toward a brighter star…

“For a gay Catholic, the words of the new pope are reason to be hopeful. Perhaps, in my lifetime, the church will recognize the sanctity of same-sex marriage. Perhaps not. In the meantime, I have to reach my own new balance of faith and love. I am gay. I am Catholic. And after all, miracles happen every day.”

Writing in the Winona Daily News, John Rupkey asks each of us, gay and straight, an important question on this day. Calling to mind both the wounds a homophobic hierarchy inflicts on the LGBT community and the wounds born by closeted gay priests, he address the laity:

“Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day. I would like to suggest that on that day the non-gay people of God consider coming out in support of gay people. Coming out doesn’t mean shouting from a soap box. The first step in coming out is coming out to yourself.

“When asked if he approved of homosexuality, Pope Francis replied with a question: “Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?”

“On Oct. 11, how will you answer that question?”

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


QUOTE TO NOTE: Don’t Be Ashamed to Come Out

July 12, 2013

computer_key_Quotation_MarksTheologian Father Gerald Coleman, S.S., recently commented on athletes Jason Collins and Robbie Rogers coming out as gay men.  In reflecting on the announcements of these celebrities, Fr. Coleman also commented on the proper response of the Catholic faith community to anyone who comes out.  In an article in Catholic San Francisco, he writes:

‘When a person chooses to reveal that he or she is gay/lesbian, sometimes at great personal risk, that person deserves the respect and support of others. Speaking the truth about one’s sexual identity is consonant with, and not opposed to, a life of integrity and faith. No one should be pressured to reveal his or her sexual orientation, but no one should be ashamed to do so either.”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 


Robbie Rogers: Soccer Star, Devout Catholic, and Now Openly Gay

May 29, 2013

Robbie Rogers

Robbie Rogers was at the apex of a professional soccer career when he came out last February as a gay man and simultaneously retired from the sport he loved. Now, this self-described devout Catholic is returning to the pitch, and may make LGBT sports history here in America.

Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy signed Rogers over the weekend, and an article in The Nation reports on the significance:

“Robbie Rogers has officially un-retired and will become the first openly gay male North American athlete to take the field in one of the ‘big five’ sports…Rogers’s return is a testament to how much has changed since NBA player Jason Collins came out last month. Rogers saw how much support Collins received and was moved from his previous pessimism that he would never be accepted…

“But just as Collins’s announcement made it easier for Robbie Rogers, this latest news will make it easier for the next person to be honest and public about who they are…It will continue to develop until, in a not-to-distant future, the issue of having a gay teammate simply won’t be an issue at all.”

As with Jason Collins, who noted the central and affirming role Christian faith played in his life, Rogers publicly speaks about his Catholic identity as affirming this decision to ‘come out:’

“Another sign of the times is that Rogers was raised in a very religious home and still considers himself a devout Catholic. As he said, ‘Being Catholic—and people may disagree—but we are called to love everyone. Be honest. Be true in your relationship with God. I’ve always lived that way.’”

The theme of honesty, especially in a religious sense with regards to God, was evident from the start of Rogers’ coming out, as he wrote in a blog post last February:

“People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently…

“Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest.  My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.”

The advancements in sports for LGBT people should not be understated, but from my perspective both Robbie Rogers and Jason Collins reveal a far great development in the struggle for equality. In coming out, these athletes acknowledged the important role faith plays in their lives — and the harmony they find between faith and sexuality. Although Catholic bishops and other religious leaders often are the loudest voices against LGBT rights, Rogers’ story reveals just how deeply and broadly the pro-equality gospel message has spread.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Father Gary Meier, In His Own Words

May 28, 2013

Father Gary Meier

Father Gary Meier

Last week, we reported on the story of Fr. Gary Meier, a St. Louis archdiocese priest who came out as gay by publishing a memoir, Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest. 

Since that post, Fr. Gary has published a reflection on HuffingtonPost.com, which explains his decision to come out at this time.  He has also appeared on HuffPost Live.  

In addition, Bondings 2.0 asked Fr. Gary to answer questions about his experience, and he has responded affirmatively.  The exclusive interview follows.

The Interview:  Father Gary Meier

What is different about your life now that you are known publicly as a gay priest?

Being known as a gay priest is not that much different than when I wasn’t known as such.  What’s different is the response I’m getting from all over.  My story has gone viral on the Huffington Post and the attention that story created is different for sure.  I’ve been hearing from people all over who have been suffering in silence and who feel rejected.  They feel betrayed by a church they have supported for years – a church that will not support them – it is so incredibly sad.    

How did you come to the decision about coming out? Why did you decide to do this at this particular point in your life?

The decision to come out was made through years of prayer, spiritual direction and reflection.  It was not an easy or short process.  Why now?  As I told a reporter recently, “Why not now?”  Saint Catherine of Siena once said, “Speak the truth as if you had a thousand voices.  It is silence that kills the world.”  So, why not now?  I do feel some shame and embarrassment that I didn’t speak sooner.

How have fellow priests responded to your decision? How have lay people responded?

Both lay people and priests have been incredibly supportive of my decisions and actions.  It is amazing.  In the first few days, I received more than a hundred communications – all of which were supportive with the exception of two – just two!  That’s insane!  I realize that this has only just begun, but I didn’t expect such an outpouring of support.  The emails and communications that have come to me directly have been overwhelmingly supportive. 

 What has been the biggest surprise or most unexpected thing to happen to you since making your announcement?

The fact that this story is viral on the Huffington Post has surprised me.  But to me, that simply affirms that because our church is unwilling to have a discussion about this topic, when someone starts a conversation, people want to be heard.  The other surprise has been some of the emails I’ve gotten.  The atmosphere of silence and shame that our church has created regarding homosexuality is bigger than I thought and the pain we have caused is real.

What can lay people do to help more gay priests come out of the closet?

Let them know they are loved and supported.  It has been truly a blessing to have had so many lay people I’ve ministered to in the past 15 years be so incredibly supportive.  We don’t have to make this journey alone.  There are lots of people who will support us and stand with us.

Do you expect any retribution to come from your announcement?

I keep getting the question, “what do you expect?”  And to be honest with you, I don’t have any expectations.  I know I am not willing to ‘recant’ my position or my beliefs.  I suppose we have to wait and see.

If you had the opportunity to advise the pope about gay priests, what would you tell him?

We are here!  We’ve always been here and it’s time to for a new understanding regarding homosexuality and what it means to love and to be loved.

How do you think our church would change if more gay priests came out? How do you think your personal ministry will change?

The church will dramatically change if every gay priest came out.  But I’ve also come to understand that coming out as ‘gay’ is one thing.  Coming out as gay and pro-gay is another.  While I don’t know where my personal ministry is going to take me, I do know that advocacy for the LGBT community will be part of it. 

Do you plan to be more involved with Catholic LGBT issues?

Yes

How can people get a copy of your book?

You can find the book on amazon.com and kindle.  You can also borrow the book through kindle.  Or, go to my website www.fathergary.com and click on the amazon logo. Or click the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Voices-Reflections-Catholic-Priest/dp/1484106792/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369340840&sr=8-1&keywords=gary+meier .

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Jason Collins Deserves Catholic Support, Says Fr. James Martin

May 1, 2013

Jason Collins

Splashed across the cover of Sports Illustrated this week is Jason Collins, the first athlete on a male professional sports team to come out as gay. Collins has been celebrated across the sports world and the internet, but he has also faced harsh criticism. Jesuit Fr. James Martin posted the Collins’ story, and then provided lengthy remarks about why Catholics should support the athlete’s coming out without reservation. Fr. Martin writes:

“There are many times that Catholics are called to support their gay brothers and sisters wholeheartedly, unreservedly and publicly. This is one of them. All of us are created by God, and all of us have an undeniable and unassailable human dignity. And part of that dignity is accepting that you are a beloved creation of God. For many gays and lesbians, however, accepting that they are beloved creations of God is a

very difficult task, made more difficult by a variety of social pressures. ‘Coming out’ is often an important step, sometimes the most important step, to a deeper relationship with God, and to spiritual wholeness…

James Martin, SJ

James Martin, SJ

“Loving means first accepting a person, in all their complexity and beauty, as God has created him or her. This kind of love precedes questions about judging the actions of any person–straight or gay. Besides, we know how Jesus felt about our judging others. Love precedes all of that. True love means loving a person as he or she is–not as we would wish them to be, or as we think they should be, or worse, as we think God should have created him or her. But as they are.

“As the Psalmist says, ‘I praise you God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ We should be grateful to Mr. Collins for reminding us that all of us are indeed ‘wonderfully made.’”

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


QUOTE TO NOTE: Catholic Senator Comes Out to Support Marriage Equality

April 24, 2013

computer_key_Quotation_MarksDuring the Nevada Senate’s debate to repeal the state’s heterosexual definition of marriage, Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, a devout Catholic, came out as a gay man.

According to USA Today:

Senator Kelvin Atkinson

Senator Kelvin Atkinson

“In emotional comments, senators told of family members who are gay; their own conflicts between religion and social justice. For Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, it was a coming out of sorts when he announced to many, ‘I’m black. I’m gay.’ “

According to ThinkProgress.org:

” ‘I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay male.’ Atkinson pointed out that his father’s interracial marriage would have similarly been banned decades ago, suggesting to detractors, ‘If this hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place.’ ”

The Senate voted 12-9 to repeal the heterosexual definition of marriage.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Italian Catholic Priest Comes Out

October 23, 2012

Don Mario Bonfanti

A Catholic priest in Italy made headlines recently for coming out as a gay man on Facebook on October 11th, International Coming Out Day.

According to GayStarNews.com:

Don Mario Bonfanti, 41, is a priest in Pagnano, near Lecco, in the Italian region of Lombardy. And his openness about his sexuality is something of a revolution.

Openly gay priests, in Italy, are a rarity. The Italian Catholic church is know for not being tolerant of LGBT people.

In announcing his sexuality, Bonfanti stated:

“Truth makes us free, so Jesus said. But, strangely, the Church denies this sentence. Catholic LGBT people must come out. They have to accept the truth.”

Bonfanti had been transferred to another parish in March after he publicly endorsed same-sex unions.  His parishioners protested the bishop’s decision to move him.

A Facebook page entitled ‘Io sto con don Mario’ (‘I support don Mario’) has been established for people to show their endorsement of his coming out.  It has over 2, 000 “Likes.”

Complimenti (congratulations) to Don Mario!  May his courage inspire other Catholic priests and lay people to take similar steps!  May his action spark greater discussionof LGBT issues  in the Catholic Church in Italy!

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Is It a Coincidence that Coming Out Day and Vatican II’s Anniversary Are Today?

October 11, 2012

Today is special for two reasons.  For the LGBT community in the United States, it is National Coming Out Day.  For the Catholic community worldwide, it is the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II.    Just a coincidence?

Well, probably, but there’s something interesting about this coincidence. National Coming Out Day is a time to celebrate the “coming out” process for sexual and gender minorities: that coming to awareness, acceptance, and announcement of their true identities.

Five decades ago, the Catholic Church embarked on a project of pastoral and theological reform at the Second Vatican Council which was, in one respect, a coming out process:  an emergence from calcified traditions into a liberating recognition of its true identity. When Pope John XXIII announced the Council, he said he wanted to open some windows in the church.  In the process, it seems, he also opened some closet doors.

Vatican II

But the connection between these two celebrations is even more cohesive than the metaphors described above.  In one respect,  the movement for LGBT liberation, equality, and justice in the Catholic Church is a direct result of Vatican II.    The Council’s reform of theology, its updating of scriptural interpretations, its openness to scientific knowledge, its invitation for participation by the laity, its clarion call to work for justice in the world and the church–all these things were part of the 1960s Catholic zeitgeist which resulted in a burgeoning movement to be involved with, and work for justice for, LGBT people.

It’s no accident that both two of the oldest Catholic ministries to LGBT people–Dignity and New Ways Ministry–emerged from this era and as a direct result of priests and religious following the call of Vatican II.  Similarly, it would have been unimaginable that John McNeill’s theological groundbreaking work, The Church and the Homosexual, could have been written before the Council.

And let’s not forget the important contributions of liberation and feminist theologies which flowered because of Vatican II, both of which have had a direct positive impact on the Catholic LGBT movement.

Although Vatican II’s documents do not mention homosexuality or transgender topics at all, the spirit of justice and human dignity which infused those texts have had a tremendous effect on why so many Catholics are passionate about working for LGBT equality.  We are finally seeing the fruits of Vatican II, as the generation that was raised in its wake are now in their maturity and speaking out for LGBT justice in the church and society.

As those LGBT people who have “come out” know, “coming out” is a continual process that keeps continuing long after everyone knows about your identity.  It’s the continual process of having the courage to stand for truth, dignity, and equality.  Let’s pray that on this 50th anniversary of Vatican II, the Catholic Church will continue its “coming out” process begun in 1962, and will learn to live up to its best principles and ideals.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


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