A preliminary report from the Catholic Church’s most recent Synod (meeting of the clergy) signals a change in church ideology on the topic of gay and lesbian Catholics. Three paragraphs, under the heading, “Welcoming homosexual persons,” was lauded by many LGBT advocacy organizations and media outlets as being a massive leap forward for the church.
[blockquote source=””]Welcoming homosexual persons
50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
51. The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.
52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.[/blockquote]
Honestly, I don’t see what’s so positive about this. “The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman.” That’s not exactly progressive, buddies.
The language used is really little more than the church asking itself if maybe, juuuuuust maybe, they shouldn’t be so blatantly hostile to LGB individuals (be more subtlely hostile, I suppose). “The Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.” That’s basically the church saying, “So hey there, yeah, we think you’re totally gross, and when we say you’re not really a family and that you shouldn’t have children, we’re just doing it for the best interests of the kids, right?”
Yet, the Human Rights Campaign could hardly control their excitement of this milquetoast news: “Seismic Shift in Rome: New Catholic Church Document Praises Committed Gay and Lesbian ‘Partnerships'”
Hold your horses.
“Praises?” What document did you read? You keep using that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means, HRC.
“HRC today commended Catholic leaders meeting in Rome for using new, inclusive language in referring to the LGBT community,” the blog reads. “The preliminary but potentially ground-breaking document released today by the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops asserted that LGBT people have ‘gifts and talents to offer the Christian community,’ and, for the first time, referred to LGBT couples as ‘partners’ instead of ‘sinners.'”
“Gifts and talents,” like… donations!
“For the LGBT Catholics in the United States and around the world, this new document is a light in the darkness—a dramatic new tone from a Church hierarchy that has long denied the very existence of committed and loving gay and lesbian partnerships,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
Well, Mr. Griffin and HRC, if I may ask, how does this impact “LGBT Catholics?” I mean, yes, the document suggests that committed couples should be able to donate their money to the church (how kind of them!), but what exactly did it say about individuals who aren’t in committed relationships? What did it say about bisexual members of the church? What did it say about transgender members of the church?
If your response is “Well, nothing,” you’re missing one key line:
“The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.”
Right there, the church reaffirms its insistence that governments not make financial aid (i.e. tax breaks) “dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.” “Gender ideology,” what a weird phrase. If I hadn’t been keeping tabs on the Catholic Church’s statements about trans individuals, it might have passed me by.
This is a callback to Pope Benedict’s 2012 homily about trans individuals (and how we threaten the very existence of the human race — side note: Benny, you might have wanted to avoid cribbing from the language of eugenics, given your own personal background; but hey, that’s just my two-cents).
[blockquote source=””]“[Bernheim] quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: ‘one is not born a woman, one becomes so’ (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: ‘male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female — hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defense of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.” [Emphasis added.][/blockquote]
Since then, the church has largely avoided making mention of the existence of trans individuals. Pope Franky hasn’t chatted us up (LGB folks, atheists, etc.; he’s walked back positions about them, but hey, not us disgusting trans monsterpeople). This document was the first time in nearly two years that the church made mention of trans people (albeit indirectly), and it’s only to further dig their heels in.
But hey! Who cares, right? I mean, marriage! That’s what really matters! *rolls eyes*
Most LGBT outlets were oblivious to the dig at trans people. HRC ceratinly didn’t care (I reached out to HRC VP and Chief Foundation Officer Jeff Krehely, though he declined comment on the basis that I’d criticized HRC publicly…). Even The Advocate, a site I’d written for on hundreds of occasions, didn’t seem to notice (or care) about this.
Please, folks. Stop throwing trans people under the bus. Please stop praising an organization that still contributes to the deaths of trans individuals, that treats people like me as though we’re some sort of monsters. If you care, it’s time to show it.