“The Nashville Statement,” the Evangelical anti-LGBTI manifesto which made headlines recently, has been roundly denounced by many religious leaders in other Christian denominations. Instead of persuading others to join their bandwagon, the authors of the document seem to have repelled many religious-minded people. Their over-the-top reach to use Scriptures, natural law, and what they believe they know of the mind of God has backfired and they have ended up isolating themselves more than accomplishing anything else.
Catholic gay writer Andrew Sullivan critiqued “The Nashville Statement” (“NS”) recently in an essay for NYMag.com entitled “The Religious Right’s Suicidal Gay Obsession.” His thoughts provide some good ways to argue against the kind of rhetoric that the statement exemplifies. This is especially important to note since, though no Catholic leaders signed the statement, the same rhetoric often appears in Catholic discourse about LGBTI issues.
Sullivan starts off with a familiar argument: why pick only on LGBTI people? He writes that after one reads “NS”:
“. . . [Y]you immediately wonder if the statement is going to condemn divorce or contraception or multiple successive marriages or pornography or masturbation or countless other questions of sexual morality that heterosexuals grapple with. And you can search the document for any thoughts on these questions. In fact, it has almost nothing to say to 97 percent of humanity on sexual matters.
“What it does instead is condemn the 3 percent.”
I have never read a satisfactory response to this kind of argument. I don’t believe there is one.
But Sullivan goes deeper, hitting on the core of the “NS’ ” structure, which, he observes is to make LGBTI people invisible. He points out that the authors try to deny that LGBTI identity exists:
“[The Nashville Statement] erases our self-understanding entirely. Money quote: ‘We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.’ It is not just what we do that these Evangelical leaders object to; it is who we are. Our very ‘self-conception’ is a defiance of God’s will. We sure aren’t part of nature, even though scientists have observed variations on the sexual norm in countless other species.”
What I found most interesting about Sullivan’s commentary is that he uses the example of intersex people (those born with both male and female biological characteristics) as the linchpin to topple all of “NS’ ” arguments. Sullivan writes:
“When nature produces intersex people, the Evangelicals therefore have a bit of a problem. It’s very hard to simply say that intersex people have chosen some kind of sin by being neither male nor female, because their identity cannot simply be ascribed to their minds and souls, but to their bodies. Nature, i.e. God, surely made them. So what does the statement say? ‘We affirm that those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. They are acknowledged by our Lord Jesus in his words about “eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb.” With all others they are welcome as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and should embrace their biological sex insofar as it may be known.’ I’m afraid to say I actually chuckled at this obvious cop-out. Even when confronted with the undeniable visible fact that God does not always create human beings who are clearly male or female, they simply say: Well, they are. Pick one.”
Sullivan very pointedly sums up the blindness inherent in this kind of thinking:
“What Evangelicals cannot seem to accept is the possibility that for the vast majority of humankind, male and female self-conception does indeed come completely naturally, that it is clearly integral to humanity’s reproduction and rearing of the next generation, that the sexes are indeed complementary rather than interchangeable … but that this is not the entire story. A small minority does not quite fit this rubric. God’s creation — a function, we now know, of evolution and natural selection — is more complex, and more wonderful and diverse, than most of us used to understand.”
I would add that a number of Catholic leaders also have problems accepting this reality.
Sullivan concludes by noting that the Evangelical thinking in “NS” is basically “suicidal,” because the younger generation is so far ahead of this anti-LGBTI mindset:
“I believe that for an entire generation, this question is a litmus test for whether Christianity really is about love, and whether the Gospels (which have nothing to say about homosexuality) should even get a hearing. I can date my own niece’s and nephew’s rejection of Christianity to the day the priest urged them to oppose equal rights for their uncle. That’s why Evangelicalism is dying so quickly among the young. The latest PRRI surveyshows that only one in ten Evangelicals are now under 30. It is no accident that the generation that has come to know gay and transgender people as people also finds it hard to dehumanize us in the way the Nashville Statement does, and see a church leadership that still treats us in this fashion as inimical to their own, yes, Christian values. And they are right to. This is what the signers of the Nashville Statement do not quite grasp. They just signed one of the longest suicide notes in history. Because what they’re saying is not merely callous. It is manifestly untrue.”
By extension, Catholic leaders who continue using the same or similar arguments in their statements about LGBTI issues are hurting not only LGBTI people (which is bad enough) but the whole possibility of reaching the next generation. Unlike Evangelical thinking, Catholic leaders have a long social justice tradition in their belief system which supports equality and justice and can easily be applied to LGBTI topics and people.
If nothing else, the Nashville Statement should serve as a wake-up call to Catholic leaders who still maintain an anti-LGBT stance to mend their ways before it is too late for the church.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, September 13, 2017
Here’s what (we hope) is the final installment of immediate Catholic reactions to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. Since the Catholic debate on this issue is not over yet, Bondings 2.0 will, of course, continue covering any ensuing controversies based on this decision as they develop. [All previous Bondings 2.0 Catholic reaction compilation posts can be found at the end of this post.]
Andrew Sullivan, Writer and Political Analyst, The Dish:
Sullivan, one of the first people to propose the idea of gay marriage as a serious legal possibility (and certainly the first Catholic pundit to do so), provides a poignant brief memoir of the struggle to arrive at the Obergefell v. Hodges victory. I found this to be, perhaps, his most stirring passage:
For many years, it felt like one step forward, two steps back. History is a miasma of contingency, and courage, and conviction, and chance.
But some things you know deep in your heart: that all human beings are made in the image of God; that their loves and lives are equally precious; that the pursuit of happiness promised in the Declaration of Independence has no meaning if it does not include the right to marry the person you love; and has no force if it denies that fundamental human freedom to a portion of its citizens. In the words of Hannah Arendt:
“The right to marry whoever onewishes is an elementary human right compared to which ‘the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one’s skin or color or race’ are minor indeed. Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ proclaimed in the Declaration ofIndependence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs.” (from a blog post on The Dish)
Matthew Boudway, Associate Editor, Commonweal:
Boudway categorizes the Obergefell v. Hodges case:
“. . . [It] was not about Constitutional theory or the burdens and perils of democracy. Nor was it about sex. It was about honoring people who promise to take care of each other and encouraging them to keep that promise.”
Yet, he disagrees with the outcome because on procedural grounds:
“Wherever possible, the Supreme Court should try to get out of the way, so that voters and their elected representatives can do the difficult work of democracy. If we want to change the definition of civil marriage so that it can accommodate gays and lesbians, there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent us, but neither is there anything to compel us. Why pretend otherwise?” (from a blog post on Commonweal)
Margery Eagan, Columnist, Cruxnow.com:
” ‘The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,’ wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy explaining, if inadvertently, a big part of the problem for the Catholic hierarchy. They can’t recognize that injustice, even in 2015, because they live apart, isolated from, and largely ignorant of, the real, changed world.
“They do not see the gay parents chaperoning the apple-picking field trip in kindergarten. They do not see the son of those parents grow up to captain the football team and marry his college sweetheart. They do not see the life-long devotion of gay couples, in sickness and health, or in the mundane particulars of everyday life. Cooking, cleaning, planting the garden, mowing the lawn, driving the carpool, helping with the homework, wanting the best for their families, just like everybody else.” (From a column on Crux)
Bill Baird and John Kennedy, Retired Gay Catholic Married Couple in Santa Rosa, California:
” ‘It’s important to realize how many people are not happy about the decision,’ Baird said, ‘so we have to find a way to work together to promote marriage equality. . . .’
” ‘We’re lucky here in the Bay Area, but in many parts of the country you can be fired for being gay, and landlords may refuse to rent to a lesbian or gay couple,”’Baird said.
” ‘There really is a lack of protections for gay people, and while we’re delighted by the ruling, there is still a lot of education to do,’ Kennedy said.” (From a feature article in Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Our Church teaches a preferential treatment for the marginalized. It teaches the dignity of all human beings. It teaches the primacy of conscience — the idea that it is our obligation to prayerfully consider tradition and doctrine, as well as our experience and the experience of those around us, in discerning what is moral and just.
My conscience has been formed with the help of family, friends, teachers, clergy, theologians, and strangers. Most of all, it has been formed through my relationship with God and my Church. . .
I hope and pray that Church leaders will hear and understand the majority who support those in loving same-sex relationships. Love is of God and adults who have formed their consciences in faith are very capable of making good decisions about how to express their love for other human beings. (From an op-ed essay on Philly.com)
Read more at
Archbishop Blase Cupich, Archdiocese of Chicago:
In an earlier post, we noted Archbishop Cupich’s reconciliatory statement following the Supreme Court decision. Cupich’s follow-up comments in an interview with The National Catholic Reporter about the statement are also worth noting. The archbishop stated:
“My concern is that we don’t lurch in one direction or another in terms of reaction, but that we really have a sense of serenity and maturity and keep ourselves walking together.
” ‘I think that’s the most important thing,’ the archbishop said, using the example of a family that discusses issues they face together.
” ‘When they have [a] crisis, when they have something new happening, a good, mature, serene family says, “OK, take a breath, everybody. We’re all in this together. We’re going to help each other,” ‘ he said.” (From a news story in The National Catholic Reporter)
In Boston and northern New Jersey, reporters visited local Catholic parishes to gather a wide variety of reactions which are chronicled in these two articles:
America magazine enlisted a variety of Catholic legal scholars and analysts to respond to the decision. Their opinions and topics are diverse. The legal arguments are difficult to summarize, so, instead of attempting to do so, we will just provide links to the complete essays.
The music director at St Victoria parish in Victoria, Minnesota, has resigned after marrying his husband last weekend, and the resignation was ordered by embattled Archbishop John Nienstedt. But as LGBT-related employment disputes top twenty in 2014 alone, are these firings and resignations making it more difficult for LGBT people and allies to remain Catholic in any capacity?
The church’s pastor, Fr. Bob White, wrote to parishioners explaining that upon hearing their music director, Jamie Moore, had entered into a same-gender marriage, the archbishop demanded his resignation and Moore complied. White added that Moore would “be sorely missed…we wish him every happiness.” The pastor said he would address the situation from a “pastoral perspective” during upcoming weekend Masses.
Nienstedt released his own statement, citing a document unusually titled “Justice in Employment” which allows church workers to be fired immediately for public conduct inconsistent with Catholic teaching. The archbishop added that his role was to make “painful and difficult” decisions to uphold Christian values.
However, St. Victoria parishioners do not quite see the archbishop’s actions in keeping with Christ’s message. Some compared this incident to the firing of Kristen Ostendorf, a lesbian teacher, from a Minnesota Cathoilc high school last year. Others like Chub Schmeig criticized the action outright, telling Fox 9 News:
” ‘I believe the church has more serious problems to be concerned with than whether a gay or lesbian person is in the church…It has lots of other issues to handle first.’ “
What might those problems be for Minnesota Catholics? Archbishop Nienstedt, a leading anti-LGBT bishop in the US, is facing increasing calls for his own resignation over his mishandling of clergy abuse that included moving a priest convicted of sexual abuse and offering secret payments to priests who admitted to the sexual abuse of children. As far as LGBT issues are concerned, Nienstedt has called marriage equality the “work of Satan” and spent tremendous resources mailing more than 400,000 DVDs during Minnesota’s debate on that matter. He has also been accused of making sexual advances on priests and seminarians, charges which he denied this summer.
And what to make of this situation, where an archbishop under pressure to resign personally forces a gay musician out?Two prominent gay Catholic writers, Frank Bruni and Andrew Sullivan, are tackling this question in the wake of so many LGBT-related employment disputes with church workers. Writing in his column for theNew York Times, Bruni recalls the recent Communion denial and dismissal from volunteer services of two longtime gay parishioners in Montana, Tom Wojtowick and Paul Huff, who quietly were married. He continues:
“Such punishment has befallen many employees of Catholic schools or congregations since the legalization of same-sex marriage in many states allowed them civil weddings. Teachers long known to be gay are suddenly exiled for being gay and married, which is apparently too much commitment and accountability for the church to abide. Honesty equals expulsion. ‘I do’ means you’re done…
“The Catholic Church does incalculable good, providing immeasurable comfort — material as well as spiritual — to so many. But it contradicts and undercuts that mission when it fails to recognize what more and more parishioners do: that gay people deserve the same dignity as everyone else, certainly not what happened to the Montana couple. If Francis and his successors don’t get this right, all his other bits of progress and pretty words will be for naught.”
Andrew Sullivan of The Dish writes about how these incidents have shifted his thinking about being gay and Catholic, moving from a minor blemish amid much greater goodness to a “defining wound…[that] may slowly wreck the whole church.” Writing about the Montana couple, Sullivan says:
“It’s kinda hard to portray these two as some kind of subversive force…And the action against the men came not because they are gay but because they decided to celebrate their love and friendship with a civil marriage license. So they’re not really being targeted for sex; they are being targeted for their commitment and responsibility and honesty. And the only reason they have been excluded on those grounds is because they are gay.”
“If the church upholds this kind of decision, it is endorsing cruelty, discrimination and exclusion. Pope Francis’ view is that this is exactly the kind of thing that requires the church to exercise mercy not rigidity. But allowing a married gay couple to sing in the choir as an act of ‘mercy’ would merely further expose the fragility of the church’s thirteenth century views of human sexuality. It would put the lie to the otherness of gay people; to the notion that it is essential or even possible for a tiny minority to live entirely without intimacy or love or commitment. It also reveals that gay men have long been a part of the church – and tolerated, as long as they lied about their lives and gave others plausible deniability with respect to their sexual orientation. It is an endorsement of dishonesty.”
Sullivan goes on to point out that these dismissals and firings are inconsistent with Catholic moral teachings on compassion, mercy, inclusion, and fairness — and that young Catholics view this “as barbaric and inhuman.” He concludes:
“There is only so much inhumanity that a church can be seen to represent before its own members lose faith in it. I recall the feelings of my own niece and nephew who lost a huge amount of respect for the church when they heard a homily denouncing the civil marriage of their own uncle. I notice the outcry among Catholic high school students when a teacher was fired for the very same reason. When a church responds to an act of love and commitment not by celebration but by ostracism, it is not just attacking a couple’s human dignity; it is also attacking itself.”
One final note is that Sullivan captures the hypocrisy in these situations perfectly when he writes: “Yes, the church is now in favor of divorce as a condition for being a Catholic!” (Divorce is required of the Montana couple to be allowed to return to communion.) Indeed, there is neither logic nor just cause for these dismissals.
As Pope Francis calls for greater mercy and his top US adviser, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, says these employment disputes “need to be rectified,” the hypocrisy inherent in denying Communion to LGBT people or forcing church workers out for their sexual orientation, marital status, or personal views only becomes more fully on display. I reiterate the prediction of former San Francisco Catholic Charities director Brian Cahill that these disputes will cause the church to become a ‘shrinking cult.’
For the sake of LGBT Catholics, their allies, and the good of the whole church, let us pray and act so this hypocrisy will end. Please consider beginning a discussion in your parish to enact employment non-discrimination policies. You can find out how to do that by clicking here.
Human dignity is in the headlines after the Supreme Court ruled favorably on marriage equality last week. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s use of it in a decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act was noted by many. Blogger Andrew Sullivan points out the central role ‘human dignity’ as a concept has had in conversations around marriage equality and LGBT rights at large.
The decision against DOMA was written by Justice Kennedy, a Catholic, who placed human dignity at the heart of the ruling as he has done before. How closely his use of dignity is with contemporary Catholic understandings may be disputed, but has roots in the faith. National Public Radio reports:
“The concept appears no less than nine times in the landmark 26-page decision…It’s not the first time he’s rolled it out to explain his views on the protections guaranteed by the Constitution. A decade earlier, Kennedy referred to the ‘dignity of free persons’ in his majority opinion in another landmark case that voided a Texas law targeting gay citizens by criminalizing sodomy.”
“My own impression of [Kennedy’s] text is to note how Catholic it is. I mean by Catholic the sense of concern for the dignity of human beings that still resonates among the average Catholic population and, mercifully, now with the new Pope. This is the true measure of our shared faith: not a desire to use its doctrines to control or constrain the lives of others, but seeking always to advance the common good while leaving no one behind. No one.
“The Church hierarchy’s Ratzingerian turn against this minority in 1986, its subsequent callous indifference to us during the plague years, its rigid clinging to 13th Century natural law rather than what or rather who was right in front of them … these were all tragic failures from the top. But not in the pews; not among lay Catholics; not among many of our families and friends. And that humane Catholicism is embedded in paragraph after paragraph of Kennedy’s text. He is talking about us, our relationships and our children as if we were human beings made in the same image of God with inalienable dignity.”
Blogger Andrew Sullivan, a gay man and practicing Catholic, picked up on this trend while he live-blogged the Court’s decisions. In an interview on CNN, Sullivan was asked how he responds to Christians leading the efforts against marriage equality. Sullivan noted Justice Kennedy’s use of “dignity,” identifying how important “human dignity” as a concept is within theology. Sullivan proceeded to flip the question though. He articulated what many affirming Christians profess, namely that support for LGBT rights is because of their faith, not in spite of it and for Catholics this is rooted in the dignity of each person. He says:
“But I do believe also that a lot of [expanding LGBT rights] was driven by many of us who do have faith and who really believe deep down that God loved us and that what we were doing was God’s work. And I think the critical work we did in the ’90s and early 21st century was to bring the religious groups, and reach out to religious groups…And if you look at the polling, you’ll find that Catholics are the second ethnic group most likely to support it.”
Polls back Sullivan’s claims again and again, and there is the growing reality that LGBT issues are a primary reason former Catholics have left the Church. Sullivan is expressing the beliefs of large majorities of Catholics that civil marriage must be afforded to same-gender couples, but he also speaks personally about his family:
“And my experience was, as a Catholic in the pews, was callousness in the rhetoric from the Vatican, but incredible compassion and support from the people right and left of me in those pews celebrating the same God, wanting the same communion.
“And I’ve see my own family, an Irish-Catholic family, very religious in many ways, come around. I saw when I first went to Christmas with my in-laws after I had proposed to my now husband. And before that, I had been Aaron’s kind of friend that they don’t kind of deal with and as soon as we said we’re engaged, they had the vocabulary, the language. They knew who I was. They knew what our relationship was. They knew how to deal with me.”
And Sullivan had these comments to Catholics about accepting marriage equality:
“I would say the religious arguments are more based in fear than in the actual teachings, that they’re based upon stray texts that actually don’t mean what you think they mean, and that Jesus himself only said one thing about marriage, which is that you can’t divorce. And we live in a country were countless people are divorced and that doesn’t seem to threaten the religious liberty of Catholics, and it’s as fundamental an issue.
“So if Catholics can live with religious liberty with divorced people, they should be perfectly able to live with gay people, I mean, as married, as a civil marriage.”
You can view the full video of Andrew Sullivan’s remarks on CNN below:
As the Conclave to elect a new pope approaches, intensifying public speculation about the papabile is met with increasing silence from the cardinal electors themselves. The world will soon closely observe a chimney for white smoke, and while no one predicts a papacy that wildly diverges from that of Benedict XVI, many LGBT individuals and advocates in the Church remain hopeful.
“A homosexual pope would be a magnificent thing. The essence of the Gospel is that we are all God’s sons and daughters and we are all equal as God’s children…The homosexual priest must be free to express his identity and his sexuality…”
Others write more prgamatically of expectations for a pastoral pope, who, even if he does not change the teaching of the hierarchy, can most definitely change the tone and emphasis. The Los Angeles Times profiled notable Catholic voices about their desires for the coming papacy. Fr. Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, writes of a papacy ruled by love:
“We need a pope to oversee not simply a modernization of the church but its total transformation…We need a pope to usher in a new era of inclusion, the end of a sinful clericalism, and a strong sense of duty to those on society’s margins. The 1 billion faithful long for a leader who is fearless and driven, not by terror but by love.”
Margaret Susan Thompson, a professor at Syracuse University, considers a humble and listening pope as what is needed:
“I dream of a pope who listens and appreciates that he still has a lot to learn, who trusts in the primacy of conscience and appreciates that the Holy Spirit empowers the whole body of believers, not just himself. I hope for someone who is collegial and consultative, not just with cardinals and clerics but with people in the pews (female and male) and with those outside the church.”
“Imagine a pope who held monthly dialogues with lay Catholics and overworked pastors who live out Gospel values from the barrios of East Los Angeles to rural villages in Kenya. Instead of silencing theologians and nuns, a pope could make it known that discussion and debate are signs of a vibrant faith…Gay and lesbian Catholics who love their church but often feel marginalized should be made to feel more welcome. Finally, a new pope might…take a cue from the simplicity of Jesus and St. Francis of Assisi. Neither had a princely residence or even a Popemobile, but their spirit and humility sparked a revolution that still lives today.”
The narrative of a Catholic hierarchy opposed to full LGBT equality and inclusion needs no illumination, and many wonder how Catholics hope for improvement given recent history under popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. A former Catholic priest from Brooklyn, John Lazar, identifies the source of any hope that a new papacy would progress on LGBT issues. In a piece in the Washington Blade, he writes:
“Yet for Catholics, there is a belief that the Holy Spirit can break through all of the Vatican politics and the sinful components from which even the leadership is not immune. Many yearn for the likes of a Pope John XXIII, who surprised the world by opening the windows of the church by convening the Second Vatican Council. Many of the teaching documents from that Council formed great pastoral leaders, like Chicago’s late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who promoted the “seamless garment” model of moral behavior promoting the total good of the individual and Brooklyn’s Bishop Francis Mugavero, whose letter on sexuality was a breath of fresh air for gay Catholics. The Holy Spirit’s work is cut out…
“The hope expressed by many LGBT Catholics, for the new leader that will be chosen by the College of Cardinals, may not have the best odds in their favor this time around. But Catholics do know that the Holy Spirit can pull some surprises, and perhaps, this Papal Conclave may result in just a few.”
As the Cardinals are sealed into the Sistine Chapel to deliberate and vote, LGBT Catholics and advocates must join with the them and Catholics worldwide in praying, “Come, holy Spirit!”
Is Benedict XVI gay? Gay Catholic writer Andrew Sullivan thinks so. Last week, Sullivan blogged about his impression that the resigned pope is gay, making headlines in the LGBT press with this speculation.
Sullivan uses as his evidence the fact that Benedict’s secretary, Msgr. Georg Ganswein, will continue working for the new pope, while he lives with Benedict in the monastery on the Vatican grounds where the former pontiff plans to retire. Sullivan writes:
So Benedict’s handsome male companion will continue to live with him, while working for the other Pope during the day. Are we supposed to think that’s, well, a normal arrangement?
Sullivan fills out his evidence with a book review written by Colm Toibin of Angela Quattrochi’s book Is the Pope Gay?:
“When asked if he felt nervous in the presence of the Holy Father, Gänswein replied that he sometimes did and added: ‘But it is also true that the fact of meeting each other and being together on a daily basis creates a sense of “familiarity”, which makes you feel less nervous. But obviously I know who the Holy Father is and so I know how to behave appropriately. There are always some situations, however, when the heart beats a little stronger than usual.’ “
Sullivan comments on this quotation:
“This man – clearly in some kind of love with Ratzinger (and vice-versa) will now be working for the new Pope as secretary in the day and spending the nights with the Pope Emeritus. This is not the Vatican. It’s Melrose Place.”
While the possibility that Benedict is, in fact, gay is certainly a viable one, speculation such as Sullivan’s tends to make me uneasy for several reasons. First, there is a subtle presumption that any male-male relationship has to prove that it is not homosexual. If the gay movement can make any contribution to the world, I think one of those is that it can help males see that they need not be afraid of being close to one other and expressing affection for one another. Speculating that all male-male relationships are potentially homosexual creates a climate of suspicion, which is, in fact, homophobic.
Second, while it is very true that many people with strong anti-gay stances are, in fact, gay themselves, I also know that such is not always the case. Straight people can be homophobes, too.
Third, speculation about a famous anti-gay person’s sexuality leads nowhere. It is Benedict’s policies, not his orientation (however repressed it may be), which make him a harmful influence to pro-LGBT initiatives. Let’s suppose for a second that Benedict is gay. His orientation wouldn’t make his policies any more or less harmful. Yes, there would be a certain amount of hypocrisy involved, and that would be difficult to accept, but I don’t think it would change the pope’s policies any.
Last week, when Bondings 2.oposted about the accusations of sexual misconduct by Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, one of our loyal blog readers, Bob Miailovich, commented:
“Self-hatred and internalized homophobia among gay folk is something we are well acquainted with. O’Brien deserves our pity as a gay man who hates himself so deeply.”
If Benedict is, in fact, gay, then he must be living with an incredible amount of cognitive dissonance in order to so publicly and vehemently denounce LGBT people. He is causing great harm to himself, as well as to others.
Is Benedict gay? I would hope that if he is gay that people in the Catholic LGBT movement would express attitudes toward sexual orientation and secrecy that would allow him to “come out” when he is ready to do so. That is the approach that I suggest we do with all people, regardless of their station in life.
Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Dish, housed at The DailyBeast.com is running a series of nine short videos with Sister Jeannine Gramick, New Ways Ministry’s co-founder, on a variety of questions concerning LGBT issues, Catholic church and U.S. politics, and the LCWR crisis and American nuns. The videos are running every day from June 18-24, and then two more on June 30 and July1. The video for the day is posted at 12 noon, Eastern Time.
So far, two of nine questions for Sister Jeannine have been posted there. You can view the video by clicking on each of these two questions:
The blog offers the following short bio of Sister Jeannine:
“Sister Jeannine Gramick is a Roman Catholic religious sister and a co-founder of the activist organization New Ways Ministry, a Catholic social justice center working for justice and reconciliation of lesbian and gay people with the institutional Catholic Church. After a review of her public activities on behalf of the Church that concluded in a finding of grave doctrinal error, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) declared in 1999 that she should no longer be engaged in pastoral work with lesbian and gay persons. In 2000, her congregation, in an attempt to thwart further conflict with the Vatican, commanded her not to speak publicly about homosexuality. She responded by saying, ‘I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression by restricting a basic human right [to speak]. To me this is a matter of conscience.’ “
As always is the case when listening to Sister Jeannine, you should find the video interviews informative, respectful, forthright, and inspiring.