Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-11-27
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Spirituality: GLBT Catholics
by AMY MATHENY
2005-05-01

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


People from around the world mourned the passing of Pope John Paul II. His funeral was one of the largest gatherings of our time, as Catholics and people touched by his life's work gathered for a special last mass with him. Many GLBT Catholics struggle with the strictures of the Catholic institution and yet some have joined together to make their own way with their faith. Bryan Cones from Dignity Chicago joins us to discuss this complicated loss. Much like our biological family, our family of faith brings us sorrow and joy.

Bryan Cones

A long way to go for GLBT Catholics:

GLBT Catholics, like many other church members, have mixed emotions on the death of Pope John Paul II. On the one hand, he was Catholicism's most recognizable figure, at times prophetic in his call for greater economic and political justice, and personally engaging to a fault. On the other hand, many Catholics — women, Catholics both married and divorced, and many proponents of the reforms initiated in the 1960s by the Second Vatican Council — see John Paul's pontificate as a singular defeat for the changes many hope for, from an inclusive priesthood to increased authority for lay people. And there are, no doubt, some who are simply relieved this long papacy is finally over.

We GLBT Catholics, however, no matter what our personal feelings about the pope as a person, have suffered some of their hardest knocks under John Paul II. Among the earliest was the 1986 'Letter to the bishops of the church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons,' which labeled homosexuality itself — as opposed to same-gender sex acts — as an 'objective disorder' to an 'intrinsic moral evil,' a declaration that resulted in the expulsion of Dignity, a Catholic GLBT advocacy group, from church property. Further statements, from the 1993 Catechism of the Catholic Church to the 2003 Vatican condemnation of same-sex marriage and the adoption of children by same-sex couples, were equally if not more negative. The latter even suggested that placing children with same-sex couples was actually a form of violence against them.

Although it's hard to trace these documents straight to John Paul himself, he certainly did nothing to prevent his administration from upping the ante on gay issues. He did issue one particularly disappointing statement on the occasion of a gay pride festival in 2000. He expressed 'deep bitterness at the affront to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and the offense to Christian values' that the festival represented. That statement could well summarize his administration's general attitude to gay issues as a whole.

Some no doubt wonder why GLBT Catholics bother to continue membership in an institution that seems so dead-set against their interests. Many of us point out the fact that John Paul, as a man of a certain age, simply carried the same visceral prejudice against homosexuality and negativity about the sexual revolution in general as many in his generation. Indeed, no one who questioned the Vatican line on sex, birth control, and marriage fared any better under John Paul II. Besides, there is much more to Catholicism than sexual teaching, and the church, the whole community of baptized people, is a lot bigger than the pope.

Still, it seems unlikely that a new pope, even if he had the inclination, would be able to alter John Paul's 26-year course in any reasonable amount of time. Indeed, few GLBT Catholics hope for much from the next pope on their issues. The first step of reversing the 1986 letter declaring a same-sex orientation a 'disorder' seems far away; gay marriage is a complete non-starter. None of the recognized papal candidates has expressed anything other than the party line regarding sexual matters.

There is a hope, however, that the election of a pope from the developing world, while not resulting in any real change in teaching, may draw attention away from arguments about sexuality to the more pressing global issues of economic justice. [ See related story on the new Pope. ] Removing that pressure would give GLBT Catholics, as well as pastors and theologians who support them, time to find ways to engage the larger church in a more constructive way. Indeed, in many places in the United States, Catholic parishes have quietly accepted GLBT Catholics, their partners, and their families into the community.

In the meantime GLBT Catholics will continue to do what we've always done: Be involved on the local level, in parishes and groups like Dignity, as priests and parish ministers, as teachers, writers and theologians. Change in an ancient, tradition-bound institution like the Roman Catholic Church doesn't often come through democratic action in the political sense but in the progressive change of attitudes at all levels. Few would be surprised if in a number of years some church document began, 'As the church has always taught, homosexual members of the church possess the full dignity of the baptized,' followed by a substantial change in direction. Until that day, we, like most Catholics and other Christians, trust in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit to guide the church to gospel fullness. In other words, we live in hope.

Bryan Cones holds a master's degree in theology from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and is a former board member of Dignity/Chicago, a chapter of Dignity/USA ( www.dignityusa.org ) , an advocacy organization for GLBT Roman Catholics founded in 1969.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

MOMBIAN Childhood stories of LGBTQ, other social justice activists 2019-11-26 - Every social justice hero was once a child. Some became activists as children; others did so as adults because of things they experienced ...


Gay News

LETTER GroceryLand anniversary 2019-11-26 - Dear Editor: Twenty-five years ago, our beloved GroceryLand opened its doors and served its first participants! On Christmas Eve in ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL The Terminator 2019-11-13 - This week I went to the movies. It's been a long time since I've said that. Do people even say "the movies" anymore? ...


Gay News

LETTER Voice your choice 2019-11-13 - Dear Editor: On Nov. 5, New York City overwhelmingly approved ranked choice voting by referendum. We should do those residents one ...


Gay News

Halloween unmasks our troubled history with race 2019-10-30 - Halloween is one of this country's favorite yearly activities. Unfortunately, Halloween can be America's scariest, too—especially for those of us seen as costumes ...


Gay News

LETTER Response to hate 2019-10-30 - Dear Editor: God's presence is always reflected in us. As a person of faith, I believe in Jesus Christ. No ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN LGBTQ-inclusive books, and hope, in rural schools 2019-10-16 - LGBTQ students in rural schools are more likely to face bias and discrimination than those in urban and suburban ones, but their schools ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Ignorance and shortsightedness lead us to the Supreme Court 2019-10-02 - We will always find ourselves going back to the courts to fight for inclusion until we place the needs of the most vulnerable ...


Gay News

LETTER Attorneys needed 2019-10-02 - Dear Editor: According to the report "The Justice Gap," low-income Americans receive no or inadequate legal help for 86 percent for ...


Gay News

Activists halt U.S. Conference on AIDS to protest CDC 2019-09-18 - Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) surely saw it coming. Protests are part ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.