Let down again. Dissapointed LGBT Catholics say Pope hasn’t gone far enough


Dissapointed LGBT Catholics say Pope hasnt gone far enoughGroups representing LGBT Catholic say that they have been let down by the Pope’s latest declarations on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

On Friday, Francis published his long awaited guidelines on family life; a 260 page document titled, On Love in the Family.

In it, he laudably condemns LGBT-targeted discrimination and violence and urges clergy to be less judgemental in applying “moral laws.”

The guidelines, however, do not change Catholic dogma on homosexuality and rule out any possibility of recognising same-sex marriages.

Francis also seems unmoved by calls to accommodate fluid or complex gender identities, seeing these as an attempt to reject reality and “to replace the Creator”.

“We had hoped for much more, and many, many people are profoundly disappointed today,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of the American DignityUSA in a statement.

“Instead of listening to more progressive voices… who called for greater understanding and dialogue with the LGBT community, the Pope simply repeated church condemnations of same-sex unions, adoption by lesbian and gay people, and the complexities of gender identity,” commented Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry.

DeBernardo pointed out that while the Pope spoke out against discrimination and violence against LGBT people, “the fact that there is no elaboration of this teaching concerning countries that are criminalising sexual and gender minorities makes these words ineffective”.

In some countries, especially in Africa, bishops of the Catholic Church remain vocal supporters of anti-LGBT legislation and state oppression of sexual minorities. The Vatican and the Pope have remained criminally silent in this regard and have refused to directly condemn this deeply harmful stance.

In a statement, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC), which represents 25 groups of LGBTQI Catholics, agreed. It argued that the Pope’s words “need to lead to the Vatican’s active and public support for global de-criminalisation, as well as the condemnation of torture and the death penalty on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity”.

The group Equally Blessed was also critical of the Pope’s document, saying that it “ultimately reinforces existing harmful church teaching that characterises LGBTQI people as unable to reflect the fullness of God’s plan for humanity.

“Specifically, the Pope continues to condemn same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex parents, and he refuses to acknowledge the complexities of gender identity,” stated the group.

The LGBT Catholics slammed the false claim by the Pope in the guidelines that Western countries are working to impose same-sex marriage rights in developing countries by tying this to aid; a narrative that’s often repeated by African leaders.

GNRC said that it “regrets that the unfounded allegation that aid to poorer countries continues to be linked to the implementation of same-sex marriage remains Vatican rhetoric”.

DeBernardo also insisted that “no evidence exists for such a claim” and noted that Randy Berry, the US Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI People, “categorically denied this claim last November during meetings with church officials at the Vatican”.

“While not expecting a blessing on marriage for lesbian and gay couples, many were anticipating that Pope Francis would offer an affirming message to LGBT people, and not the same ill-informed comments,” said DeBernardo.

He remains hopeful, nevertheless, that the generally more accommodating tone of the document may reflect “potential for further development in regard to LGBT issues”.

Duddy-Burke added: “While the Pope acknowledges the Church has been too rigid in other areas, there is no repentance when it comes to LGBT people. We need to see changes in teaching and practice before we can move forward.”

The Catholic Church continues to describe gay sexuality as “acts of grave depravity” and as “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law”.

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