Vatican Wants to Hear from Youth for 2018 Synod

In 2014, there was great excitement when the Vatican announced that in preparation for the extraordinary synod on the family,  it would be sending out a questionnaire to local bishops to solicit opinions and perspectives from the people in their dioceses.

In the U.S., at least, the excitement soon fizzled when it soon became apparent that many bishops were not distributing the survey broadly, but instead, some handpicked responders.  In 2015, with a similar Vatican questionnaire, there was wider distribution, but still pockets of reluctance on the part of some bishops to really listen to what people were saying about family, marriage, children, sexuality, gender.

Pope Francis poses for a selfie with young people at World Youth Day in 2013.

As the Vatican prepares for the 2018 synod on youth, officials in Rome have decided to bypass the bishops in terms of soliciting the opinions specifically from youth in the Church.  Instead of distributing a survey or questionnaire for bishops to disseminate, the Vatican has set up a website for youth to speak their minds directly to Vatican officials. The website, http://www.sinodogiovani.va, (Translation: “youth synod”) will not be live until March 1, 2017.

Robert Mickens, a longtime Vatican observer, reported in his “Letter from Rome” column posted on the Commonweal website:

“Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, head of the Rome-based secretariat that coordinates the Synod’s activities, told journalists on Friday that his office was launching a website in March that will allow youngsters to honestly raise questions and share their views about life and faith inside the Catholic church.

“He said their input—in addition to a questionnaire sent to bishops and heads of religious orders—would then form a substantial part of the working document (instrumentum laboris) that will frame the discussions when Pope Francis convenes the XV General Assembly of the Synod in October 2018 around the topic, ‘Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.’ “

In a letter addressed to youth, released when the website was announced, Pope Francis encouraged their participation in the electronic forum, stating:

“A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master. The Church also wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls. St. Benedict urged the abbots to consult, even the young, before any important decision, because ‘the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.’ (Rule of St. Benedict, III, 3).”

Why is this development important for LGBT issues?

First, a number of observers had commented that during the 2014 and 2015 synods on the family, the data collection and summarization was potentially and very probably biased toward what local bishops wanted to hear.   Since the questionnaire was distributed by bishops, and then the answers collected and summarized by the same officials, people’s voices were filtered. Such filtering would be the case even from the most open-minded bishops because filtering is inevitable when collating and summarizing responses.

Second, as survey after survey has shown, young Catholics, here in the U.S. and in many nations abroad, take LGBT equality and justice much more seriously than older generations and church officials.  By allowing youth to speak for themselves directly to the Vatican, the likelihood that there will be strong voices for greater acceptance of and advocacy for LGBT people will surely come through loud and clear.   Not to mention that youth have a much different attitude toward sexuality and gender generally than Church leaders typically do.

Mickens notes that the Vatican may be in for an earful, but that this might be exactly what they want.  He commented:

“Giving such a prominent voice to the young people themselves (which the Vatican identifies as between ages sixteen and twenty-nine) could open up a can of worms. In fact, the internet initiative has the potential of soliciting a whole range of opinions and criticism that the church’s pastors may not want or be prepared to hear.

“But, no doubt, that’s what the pope wants. And he may see the younger generation as a resource and ally in bringing change to a church that too often seems stuck in stale formulas from a bygone period that no longer have meaning for contemporary people.”

According to the plans for the synod so far, young people will also participate as auditors, similar to the way married lay people participated at the synods on the family.  Unfortunately, during the family syonds, there were no voices that disagreed with church teaching allowed to speak. At the 2015 synod, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago commented on this absence, stating that he thought church leaders would have gained from hearing differing perspectives.  He explained:

“I know that myself, when I did the consultation in my diocese, I did have those voices as part of my consultation, and put that in my report, and so maybe that’s the way they were represented.  But I do think that we could benefit from the actual voices of people who feel marginalized rather than having them filtered through the voices of other representatives or the bishops.  There is something important about that, I have found personally.”

It looks like the Vatican may be more open to hearing these diverse voices for the 2018 synod.  If they don’t take these voices seriously, at least giving them an open airing, the synod on youth will simply fall flat as an evangelizing moment.  The Vatican has taken steps in the way of openness to young people’s ideas. Let’s hope and pray that they continue in this direction. And let’s hope and pray that Catholic youth will participate robustly in this exciting project.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, February 21, 2017

New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis, is scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, Chicago, Illinois. Plenary speakers:  Lisa Fullam, Leslie Griffin, Rev. Bryan Massingale, Frank Mugisha. Prayer leaders:  Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv.  Pre-Symposium Retreat Leader:  Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS.  For more information and to register, visit www.Symposium2017.org.

 

Discussion and Diversity Bring Unity, Not Schism

I read a commentary this past weekend about the Anglican Church and marriage equality, and one of the points made has me thinking about why the Roman Catholic hierarchy has been so negative on LGBT issues.

An essay by Alf McCreary in Northern Ireland’s Belfast Telegraph responded to the Church of England General Synod’s recent rejection of a bishops’ report re-affirming marriage is only between a man and a woman.  McCreary’s evaluation of the decision is:

“. . . [T]he Church is in a no-win situation. The latest developments in the Church of England , following a three-year process that had attempted to solve this most divisive issue, merely showed how difficult it is, if not impossible, to satisfy both sides.”

McCreary steps back a bit from the Anglican debate to look, somewhat wistfully it seems, at the Roman Catholic situation in regard to marriage equality:

“This [marriage equality] is one of the most difficult issues facing mainstream churches the world over. With the exception of the Roman Catholic Church – it is still firmly against same-sex marriage and gay ordination, despite the fact that many of its clergy and laity are gay and lesbian.

“The Catholic Church’s attitude is the easier to live with. Its overwhelming opposition to LGBT issues stifles open debate, and it presents on the surface at least a united opposition to change.”

I admit that I chuckled a bit when I read these lines, thinking to myself, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  But then I wondered if maybe McCreary might be onto something.  Is the Roman Catholic hierarchy just afraid that if they open the discussion on this issue that major confusion will break out in the Church?

I have to admit that I often assume that the reason Catholic leaders won’t discuss LGBT issues is because they believe that they know all there is to know and that they are right in their position. McCreary’s essay has me wondering if perhaps another motivation might also exist:  they don’t want division in the Church, which is what is happening in many other Christian denominations, including the Anglicans, who have had the courage to open a discussion.

The synods on the family in 2014 and 2015 are examples where open discussion was finally allowed in the Church, and bishops spoke their minds.  The world did not end.

Granted, LGBT issues received short shrift at the synods, but other contentious issues like divorce/remarriage did get more comprehensive discussions.  And disagreement was enormous, but the Church, as an institution, stayed strong. No schism happened.  In fact, the unity of the Catholic Church probably was strengthened by the discussion.

If Roman Catholic bishops and Vatican leaders think that they will contain the debate on LGBT issues by not providing it an official forum, they are sadly mistaken.  The discussion is happening in all areas and levels of the Church.  It has been going on for decades, even under the previous two popes who actively tried to silence the debate.  Stifling or ignoring the discussion are the things that endanger the unity of the Church, not participating in free and robust discussion.

The universal Christian Church, born on Pentecost, was born amid a diversity of languages, not a single, authoritative one.  The power of the Catholic Church, which claims to a universal one which embraces all cultures and languages, is in its diversity, not its uniformity.

The Catholic discussion of LGBT issues is blossoming and growing. The Spirit will not be silenced. If bishops choose not to be a part of it, they will be the ones who are diminished by their absence.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, February 20, 2017

New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis, is scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, Chicago, Illinois. Plenary speakers:  Lisa Fullam, Leslie Griffin, Rev. Bryan Massingale, Frank Mugisha. Prayer leaders:  Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv.  Pre-Symposium Retreat Leader:  Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS.  For more information and to register, visit www.Symposium2017.org.

 

Former Miss Universe Reconciles Catholic Faith with LGBT Equality

Pia Wurtzbach relinquished her crown as Miss Universe on January 29, 2017, but right before doing so, the model/actress posted a message on a Time magazine website in which she explained that her support for LGBT equality was not in conflict with her Catholic faith.

Wurtzbach, a citizen of the Philippines, who became Miss Universe in 2015, wrote a post for Motto.Time.coma website owned by Time which allows celebrities to state their opinions on whatever subjects they choose.  Wurtzbach began by describing the culture in which she was raised:

“I am Filipino, and like the vast majority of people in my country, I am a proud Catholic. I have a steadfast faith, and my religion is an essential element of who I am. Growing up, my family regularly attended mass, and I studied at a school that taught Christian fundamentals.”

It was exactly those “Christian fundamentals” which shaped Wurtzbach’s inclusive attitude:

“Religious establishments including the Catholic church teach that they are the one true faith, but the values instilled in me as a Christian have encouraged me to respect all beliefs and opinions. Growing up, my family taught me that to receive respect, you must first offer it.”

Wurtzbach is proud that “the Philippines is every day becoming a more tolerant community,” but she also notes that “my liberal opinions on many social issues sometimes conflict with Christianity’s teachings.”  Still, she holds firm to her opinions because they are rooted in her experience and her faith.   Having been raised by a single mother, her childhood was one of struggle. Wurtzbach notes how her experiences shaped her attitudes:

“Perhaps my nontraditional family unit allowed me to accept others’ differences without judgement and has made me proud to advocate for LGBTQ rights as a Christian. In fact, I find the strength to do just that through my faith. Undoubtedly, there will continue to be times when my faith and secular opinions clash, but in those moments, I find comfort in an old saying: ‘Live and let live.’ “

But her views were also shaped by her experience of LGBTQ people:

“I myself owe a lot to the LGBTQ community, many of whom are my closest friends. Without their accepting attitudes toward my own flaws and struggles, I would not be where I am today.”

Wurtzbach has used her celebrity to help those less fortunate.  In December 2016, she met with Manila’s Archbishop Luis Tagle to present the proceeds from a fundraising event she sponsored to be used for Caritas Manila.  Tagle gave her a rosary blessed by Pope Francis.

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, February 12, 2017

 

 

 

 

Will Catholic Boy Scouts Ban Trans Youth? Maybe. Maybe Not.

The National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) has reacted to the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) policy change to allow transgender boys to participate in local troops.  The NCCS statement, vaguely worded, does not explicitly say they will not honor the new policy, but the import of the message is that they will not.  How local parish troops will respond, however, remains to be seen.

According to a Catholic News Service story posted on The National Catholic Reporter website:

“The [BSA’s] change in policy ‘has no impact on the operation and program delivery of Scouting program(s) in Catholic-chartered units,’ said a Feb. 4 statement issued by the Catholic Scouting committee.

” ‘Scouting serves the Catholic Church through the charter concept, which is similar to a franchise,’ it said. ‘The units chartered to a Catholic institution are owned by that organization. The BSA has stipulated that religious partners will continue to have the right to make decisions for their units based on their religious beliefs.’

“The statement was signed by George S. Sparks, national chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, and Father Kevin M. Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, who is national chaplain of Catholic Scouting. The statement was approved by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston, South Carolina, who is the episcopal liaison between Catholic Scouting and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

The new BSA policy said that the organization would honor the gender listed on a youth’s application, not the gender listed on a birth certificate.  Since the NCCS statement said the policy change would have no effect on Catholic-chartered Scouting units, it can be presumed that these units will still use birth certificates as evidence of gender.

Just before the new Scouting policy was announced, a New Jersey regional council of the BSA expelled a transgender boy from a local cub scout troop.  The troop was chartered by a local Catholic parish, indicating that the local community saw no problem with accepting a transgender boy.

So, we have an interesting situation here.  The BSA has enacted a new policy.  The NCCS says that its organization does not have to change its policy because the BSA allows local control for religiously-based troops.  Yet, in at least the New Jersey example, a local community’s actions were more in line with the BSA’s new policy.

So, will the NCCS policy ban transgender youth from Catholic sponsored troops?  Perhaps not. It seems likely that according to the NCCS’ own reasoning, local authority, if it is inclusive and welcoming like the NJ parish was, might make their own decisions about what evidence of gender they will use to determine admission.   Outside the U.S., we recently witnessed Ireland’s Catholic Girl Guides, a scouting organization, announce that they are developing a policy and practices to welcome transgender girls.

Make no mistake, though:  it would have been much better if the NCCS statement had simply welcomed the BSA policy change.  Once again, we have an example of a secular group being more welcoming than a religious one, which is a truly sad and shameful situation.  Moreover, we will still have to worry about how the NCCS will respond to Catholic scouting troops which do welcome transgender youth.  Will the NCCS disassociate from these groups?

The NCCS’ vaguely worded statement shows that they are not engaging the transgender issue directly.  Their reticence is not helpful because it does not reveal their full perspective on the matter.  Instead of addressing the substance of the issue–gender identity–they rely on a procedural topic–local control of policies.  Is it possible that they did this to allow the possibility of local Catholic troops to accept transgender youth?  Or are they simply reluctant to express an anti-transgender sentiment explicitly?  Their future actions will reveal their intent.  For now, we hope that the defense of local control will allow many Catholic parishes to show their support of transgender scouts.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, February 9, 2017

 

 

Under Trump, Will Transgender Lives Matter for Catholic Hospitals?

With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) under siege by the new U.S. president, many people in the U.S. are worried about changes in their healthcare, especially LGBT communities for whom access to competent and affordable healthcare can sometimes be more problematic than for most people.

transgender-surgery-lawsuit-01e678155bbfc3a6
Jionni Conforti

Of concern to Catholics is the unclear position that church leaders and church-affiliated providers will take towards LGBT people in this unfolding situation. A closer look into one transgender man’s experience with a Catholic hospital reveals just what is at stake in the coming months.

Bondings 2.0 reported last month about the lawsuit filed by Jionni Conforti against St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in New Jersey. You can read an initial report by clicking here. The suit alleges that the hospital refused to perform a hysterectomy which was a “medically necessary as part of [Conforti’s] gender transition.” Conforti’s lawyer, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of Lambda Legal, told the progressive media outlet Rewire:

“‘For them to say, in writing, we’re not going to do this service, or provide the ability to have these facilities available for this service, because it has to do with your gender identity, and it has to do with the medical treatment for your gender dysphoria, really is discrimination at its core. . .And for them to use religion as an excuse for this discrimination, I think, is something that cannot be accepted.'”

Conforti said the alleged discrimination has been especially painful because St. Joseph’s was his “neighborhood hospital,” where family members have been treated and “where I feel comfortable.” For this reason, though he underwent the hysterectomy elsewhere, Conforti remains troubled:

“[He said,]’My main concern right now is that I still live in Totowa and I’ve lived here my entire life, so in the event of an emergency, the only place that an ambulance would take me is to St. Joseph’s. . .And, you know, I worry that, God forbid something happened, what would I do, how would I be treated? So it’s a constant fear.’

“In October 2016, that fear partly came true. Conforti was in a car accident in Wayne, New Jersey, and suffered minor injuries. The emergency service technicians recommended he get emergency care, but said they could only take him to the two St. Joseph’s locations nearby. If he wanted to go elsewhere, he would have to hire a private ambulance. Afraid to seek care from St. Joseph’s, Conforti instead asked his wife to drive him about 25 minutes away, to another hospital in Montclair, New Jersey.”

Sadly, Conforti’s circumstances are not unique. Many trans people cannot access competent and affordable healthcare, or may even avoid healthcare fearful of discrimination. Rewire cited data from the National Center for Transgender Equality that reveals “23 percent of trans people avoided going to the doctor because they feared discrimination; one-third of respondents had at least one negative experience with their provider, including having to educate the provider on trans people in order to receive appropriate care.”

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 helped to improve healthcare for trans communities, especiallly since Section 1557 established non-discrimination protections based on sex, a class that was interpreted by the Obama administration to include gender identity. It is unclear whether such protections would still hold if the ACA is repealed and replaced by an as yet uknown program devised by Republican legislators.  Even if the ACA is not repealed, it is uncertain whether the Trump administration will interpret the non-discrimination protections in the same way as the Obama administration did.

Even if the ACA and its non-discrimination protections remain in place, will religiously-affiliated providers be allowed to discriminate under existing or even expanded exemptions? St. Joseph’s cited the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” to justify its refusal to provide care for Conforti, guidelines which dictate care for “one in six hospital beds nationwide,” according to Rewire.

Just two weeks after Inauguration Day, efforts to repeal the ACA are well underway. There are more questions than answers about what comes next. But church leaders and Catholic providers do not have to wait and see what happens nationally. They can decide right now to provide high-quality, lifesaving care for LGBT patients.

Catholic hospitals and health systems can choose freely to adopt non-discrimination protections inclusive of gender and sexual minorities. They can train providers to be informed about the unique health needs of LGBT patients, and to provide additional services and programs that may be required. The complexities of law, ethics, and institutional bureaucracies are real, but there is wisdom, too, in Conforti’s statement:

“If there is a procedure that is medically necessary, there should be no question whether or not they will do it. . .No one should be rejected or denied care, especially just for being who you are.'”

Nothing in church teaching restricts more inclusive policies and practices from being enacted in church-affiliated healthcare. Indeed, the Catholic identity so often cited to deny care to patients like Jionni Conforti is the very mandate for why such actions must be now taken. With LGBT communities under attack, this is a moment in history for Catholic hospitals to state decisively that transgender lives, and the lives of all LGBT people matter immensely.

And if inspiration is needed, Catholics can look to St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City which, in 1973, adopted a non-discrimination policy inclusive of sexual orientation.

To get started on an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policy at your Catholic parish, school, hospital, or social service agency, contact New Ways Ministry at info@newwaysministry.org or (301) 277-5674. You can also find more information on making this change here.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, February 6, 2017

 

New Ways Ministry Responds to Trump and U.S. Bishops on Employment Action

On January 31, 2017,  the White House posted the following statement on its website:

“The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump. “

President Donald Trump

That executive order was issued by President Barck Obama, and a number of religious leaders including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, opposed the measure.  Two leaders of U.S. bishops’ committee expressed disappointment in Trump’s decision to maintain Obama’s executive order.  Archbishop Charles Chaput, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop William Lori, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, issued a joint statement which said, in part:

“The new administration’s decision not to rescind Executive Order 13672 is troubling and disappointing.”

In response to Trump’s decision and the bishops’ reaction to it, New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director, Francis DeBernardo, issued the following statement:

“I am surprised that President Trump has decided to enforce President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBT people working for federal contractors. Trump has included in his administration many people with long records of anti-LGBTQ policies and attitudes—including Vice President Pence. Trump’s electoral campaign and the first two weeks of his administration have shown a stunning lack of sensitivity to diversity issues. He should apply his instincts in this decision to other civil rights issues, including immigration, health care, and labor law.

“Protecting the vulnerable and those in need are solid American values.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Archbishop Charles Chaput, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop William Lori, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, responded negatively to Trump’s decision. The U.S. bishops fail to see that employment protections to LGBT people are no threat to religious liberty. On the contrary, protecting LGBT people in the workplace is just putting the Catholic Church’s worker justice teaching into practice The majority of U.S. Catholics see this, as poll after poll has shown. sSupporting LGBT equality and justice is a solid Catholic value.”

Interestingly, a Washington Post news article reported that Trump’s decision was not a foregone conclusion. Even up to this past weekend, the decision may have gone in the opposite direction:

“A draft of a potential executive order that began circulating in Washington over the weekend called for overturning then President Obama’s directive barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the federal workforce and by federal contractors.

“The draft order included multiple provisions, such as possible exemptions that would allow adoption agencies and groups receiving federal funds to deny services to LGBT Americans based on their beliefs. The White House statement did not address those possible changes.”

The Washington Post article also carried a reaction statement from a U.S. LGBT political organization:

“Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement Tuesday he and other activists remained concerned that the new administration could still undermine other legal protections based on sexual orientation or gender identify.

” ‘Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar. LGBTQ refugees, immigrants, Muslims and women are scared today, and with good reason. Donald Trump has done nothing but undermine equality since he set foot in the White House,’ Griffin said. ‘Donald Trump has left the key question unanswered — will he commit to opposing any executive actions that allow government employees, taxpayer-funded organizations or even companies to discriminate?’ “

Bondings 2.0 will try to provide more Catholic perspectives on Trump’s decision, as they become available.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, February 2, 1017

 

 

Where LGBT Equality and Women’s Equality Intersect

One word that was emblazoned across protest signs at Women’s Marches around the U.S. this week was “intersectionality.”  For those unfamiliar with the term, the website GeekFeminism.wikia.com defines it as:

“A concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another.”

In the coming months (and maybe years) ahead, this term is going to be key to working for LGBTQ equality.   Last Saturday’s Women’s Marches were a testament to the fact there is a new awareness growing in the progressive consciousness that we cannot only be focused on single issues, because, in fact, so many of the issues of oppressed populations intersect with each other.   Oppression is oppression.

While “intersectionality” may be a new term in our language, it is certainly not a new concept. Oppressions have always been connected to each other.  In naming this connection with the term “intersectionality,” we are made more aware of these connections.

As Catholics who work for LGBT equality in the church, we have an important call to work intersectionally with those Catholics who work for women’s equality in the Church.  Justice demands that we do so, but so does the fact that discrimination against LGBT people is intimately connected with discrimination against women.

For example, so much of the religious prohibitions against male homosexuality have to do with the mistaken belief that gay men are putting themselves in the position of women.  Why is this bad?  Because, in this anti-gay type of thinking, being a woman is an inferior status.  So, a gay man is seen as foregoing his “natural” superior position to become more like a woman.

Similarly, lesbian women are denigrated because they are seen as not “naturally” subordinating themselves to men.  They are seen as being rebellious by not acquiescing to men, which is seen as the “natural” role for a woman.

It cannot be overstated how much homophobia and transphobia are based in the more general prejudice of sexism.

On the positive side, feminism has contributed greatly to the LGBT movement, particularly in the Catholic Church.  Feminist theology about the importance of basing sexual morality on the quality of interpersonal relationships, instead of on sexual activity has paved the way for a new Catholic sexual ethic which could approve of same-gender relationships.

More basically, feminist theory has presented new understandings of gender and gender roles which are liberating for all people, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or heterosexual. Feminist ideas provide new ways for understanding our sexuality and our place in society which are liberating and loving.

More concretely, at least in the U.S. (and I imagine in many other nations, too), it is Catholic nuns who have been among the most outspoken and forthright opponents of homophobia and transphobia in the Church.

Helping to liberate Catholic women also helps to liberate Catholic LGBT people.

On this past Sunday, the Bondings 2.0‘s post suggested that we all make a resolution to “Oppose racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of exclusion.” That’s a tall order, of course, and we must be alert to all forms of oppression.

But, as Catholics who seek LGBT justice, we must be particularly opposed to the second-class status that women have in our Church.   We need to be vigilant against sexism, in all its forms, including the ban on ordination to the priesthood.  Our quest for justice must be a quest for justice for all.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, January 24, 2017