With new document, bishops squander opportunity to build bridges with LGBT Catholics and their allies

The Synod on the Family’s guiding document reflects the Bishops’ unwillingness to listen to LGBT Catholics’ lived realities.

June 26, 2014. Today, the Equally Blessed Coalition released the following statement regarding the Vatican’s guiding document for the Synod on the Family:

The Equally Blessed Coalition is disappointed by the lack of listening evidenced in the report released by the Vatican yesterday in preparation for the Synod which will discuss ministry to the family. We are disheartened that the challenges of families trying to reconcile their unambiguous love for their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) family members and Church teachings that are too often harsh and divisive are not addressed.

Our families and parishes include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and allies who are faithful, hopeful Catholics.  They are our sons and daughters, siblings, parents and friends.  They are pastors, godparents, teachers and lay ministers.  The insinuation that we don’t understand Church teaching and the entrenchment of old arguments against our families ignores our dignity and the reality of our Catholic experience.

Catholics have enthusiastically responded whenever the Bishops ask for dialogue on the topic of ministry to LGBT individuals and families.  We hoped that this Synod signified a new openness in the Church to truly dialogue and understand the hurt their teachings have caused our families; instead, they have repeated their assertion that we have misunderstood them.

The Bishops once again claim that the problem is not that their teachings clash with the Biblical teaching of love, but that Catholics are unaware of the teachings. Catholics are not unaware, rather they have long struggled with these teachings, and ultimately reject them as inconsistent with the Gospel. US Bishops have spent millions of dollars defending their right to discriminate against our families, a fact that increases the alienation of many families from the Church.

We are living the faith we love and speaking up for the Church we believe in.  Celebrating the diversity in our Church is integral to our understanding of a faith that stands up for those on the margins and recognizes the face of God in everyone.

Pastoral leadership is not possible without respecting those living out their faith in the world.  The Equally Blessed Coalition and Catholics around the world will continue to stand proudly with LGBT and allied Catholics.  We work for a day when the leadership of our Church will welcome us to the table and celebrate our experiences.

Equally Blessed is a coalition of Catholics committed to full justice and equality for LGBT people in the Church and society. It is comprised of Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry, organizations that collectively have over 125 years of experience in ministry with LGBT Catholics and their families.

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