As the year 2013 winds to a close, it’s time to review the news of the Catholic LGBT world of the past 12 months. In today’s post, we will look at the stories of the worst happenings of the past year, and in tomorrow’s post, we will look at the best stories. Bondings 2.0 asked you for your feedback on what the worst and best news stories of the past year were, so the ranking of these stories is based on your responses. The percentage following each story is the percentage of people who chose this item as one of their top five. Thank you to all who participated.
One comment before we get to the list. As we prepared the list of 20 “nominees” for the top 10 worst stories, we were struck by the fact that it was difficult to find 20 big stories to fit the bill. As you will note, many of the “nominees” were reports of one-time statements by bishops. Though many of these stories reveal that much work remains to be done in terms of educating the hierarchy and other church leaders about LGBT issues, we thought it was remarkable that there were really only a handful of negative stories that maintained any “staying power” this year.
Conversely, we found it difficult to keep the list of “nominees” for the “Best” list to only 20. We’ll see the results of that survey tomorrow, but on the whole, it looks like 2013 has had more good than bad happen for those interested in Catholic LGBT issues!
The Top 10 Worst Stories:
1. On the day that Illinois’ marriage equality bill is signed into law by its Catholic governor, Springfield’s Bishop Thomas Paprocki holds a public prayer service, including the rite of exorcism, against the new legal reality. 15%
2. The trend of firing LGBT teachers and church workers from Catholic institutions grows markedly in 2013. 13%
3. The U.S. Catholic bishops oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, provisions in the immigration reform bill, and portions of the Violence Against Women Act—all because they would provide equality for LGBT people. 11%
4. Pope Benedict XVI opens the year with a New Year’s Day message on peace which says, in part. that allowing same-gender couples to marry is “an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace. 9%
5. The Parliament of the heavily Catholic nation of Uganda passes its infamous bill to impose life sentences and other severe penalties on those convicted of homosexual acts. 8%
6. New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan says that asking lesbian and gay people to follow official church teaching on sexual expression is no different than asking dinner guests to wash their dirty hands. 7%
7. Detroit’s Archbishop Allen Vigneron states that Catholics who support marriage equality should not present themselves for Communion. 5%
8, 9, 10 (TIE). Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese of Military Services writes a letter to chaplains discouraging them from ministering to lesbian and gay couples. 4%
The Pew Research Center released a report that the overwhelming majority of LGBT people find organized religions “unfriendly,” with the Catholic Church coming in third place behind Islam and the Mormons. 4%
San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who is also the chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for the Defense of Marriage, states “Legislating for the right for people of the same sex to marry is like legalizing male breastfeeding.” 4%
Other Items which garnered votes:
Catholic Campaign for Human Development in Illinois cuts funds from an immigrants’ rights organization because of the group’s tenuous ties to organizations which support marriage equality. 3%
The Dominican Republic’s Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez uses an anti-gay slur to refer to James Brewster, President Obama’s choice to become U.S. Ambassador to that island nation. 3%
Kenya’s Cardinal John Njue criticizes President Barack Obama for speaking out against the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa. 2%
South Africa’s Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier declares “I can’t be accused of homophobia because I don’t know any homosexuals.” 1%
Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the Philippines approves the idea of gay men and lesbian women marrying each other because “The anatomy is there. The possibility of conception is there.” 1%
In Croatia, the Catholic Church hierarchy leads a successful campaign to constitutionally ban marriage equality. 1%
One respondent wrote in what he/she considered to be one of the worst Catholic LGBT stories of 2013:
“U.S. bishops withhold survey, answer it themselves.”
This is in reference to the reluctance on the part of many U.S. bishops to solicit feedback from the laity on marriage and family matters, as requested by the Vatican to help bishops prepare for the upcoming synod on marriage and the family.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry