Saturday, May 16, 2009

Catholic Archbishop comes out as gay & questions the hierarchy's teachings on homosexuality.

In an article by Laurie Goodstein published Thursday, May 14th in the New York Times newspaper Archbishop Rembert Weakland is quoted as follows:

“If we say our God is an all-loving god,” he said, “how do you explain that at any given time probably 400 million living on the planet at one time would be gay? Are the religions of the world, as does Catholicism, saying to those hundreds of millions of people, you have to pass your whole life without any physical, genital expression of that love?”
He said he had been aware of his homosexual orientation since he was a teenager and suppressed it until he became archbishop, when he had relationships with several men because of “loneliness that became very strong.”
Archbishop Weakland, 82, said he was probably the first bishop to come out of the closet voluntarily. He said he was doing so not to excuse his actions but to give an honest account of why it happened and to raise questions about the church’s teaching that homosexuality is “objectively disordered.”
“Those are bad words because they are pejorative,” he said.

If you are heterosexual and really want to understand why people with same sex attraction have such difficulty with the hierarchy’s teaching on homosexuality, I invite you to read their statements, but with one little twist. Print out their words and then, “white-out” the word “homosexual” and then, go back and write in the word “heterosexual.” Go back and re-read those same documents and statements to the media. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write your honest answers to the following questions:

1) Could I as an adult, honestly live the balance of my life without an intimate loving relationship? What would this mean for me personally?
2) Thinking back to when you first discovered that you had sexual desires/attractions, for most this happened during puberty, how would these teachings by the hierarchy of the Church have affected how you viewed yourself?
3) How would these official teachings have affected your relationship with your parents, family, friends, teachers, etc.?
4) How do you think you would have handled being so classified and treated as a young person?
5) How would you handle it as an adult today?
6) Would you remain an active and practicing member of the Church?
7) How would you view the Catholic Church?
8) How would you view God and your relationship with God?

In 1975 the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church’s watchdog for orthodoxy, issued an official statement that “homosexuality is innate for some individuals.” In plain English, that means that God created some humans as homosexuals. The Archbishop’s questions (in the quotation above) penetrate to the very core of this whole issue; specifically, taken in combination, what do the hierarchy’s statements on this matter say about God?

Why did God make a significant number of men and women homosexual? What is God’s purpose in doing this? What are people who have been created by God with an attraction only to people of their own gender suppose to do with this “innate” orientation?

The hierarchy of the Church has a moral obligation to provide reasoned and reasonable explanations to the faithful. They have a duty to provide compassionate guidance to souls on their quest for wholeness. As the Archbishop rightly points out, the leadership of our Church has failed its members for the past 34 years. It is time to stop. It is time to reconsider the impact of such inhuman demands on the lives of real people. It is time to recall the words of our founder who said: “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).


Fran said...

And let us not forget who was overseeing the CDF at that time and who indicated that nature might be nature.

It is ridiculous to think of the same God that compels me this very weekend to love one another... The same God that tells me this very weekend that God shows no partiality...

And yet that God rejects LGBT people?

I am on a lot of Catholic blogs in my other (RC) blog identity. I get into all kinds of dustups when I discuss these things. Just today I read a comment that said the person preferred "a smaller church with morally appropriate people." I had to laugh at that - that pretty much leaves us all out!

Weakland is at one stage of his life and he is a witness. You are at another and you are a witness.

Thanks be to God.

BTW, did you see David Gibson's Wapo column on who is a good Catholic?

Steven said...

What an act on his part to come out at the age of 82 and take this stand when other men his age may have just remained under "their cloth."

planet trans said...

Father Geoff,
I was raised Anglican and my best friend was Catholic so we went to each others church's.
I am a advocate for full inclusion in all faiths of LGBT people so I recently attended three Catholic services during Lent because I need to know and experience religion.
I never expected my experience with Catholicism would lead me to love this Church so deeply.
I pray that someday the current denial by the Catholic Church of LGBT people will be reversed. I cry when I think of all the people who need and love the Catholic Church but are denied.
In the meantime we will continue to go to Church and advocate for mankind to love each other as Christ taught us.

Марко Фризия said...

In February of 1989 I was an American soldier in (West) Germany. A young East German man named Chris Gueffroy was gunned down trying to cross the Berlin Wall into the West. They shot him 10 times and he bled to death alone on the ground in the border strip out in a very cold night. He was only 20-years-old. I remember thinking how very cute he was and feeling so sad for his family. News of that death hit me really hard and when we were briefed about it, I rushed into a toilet stall on an Army base where I worked in Berlin so I could have some private space to have a good, long cry. I had internalized so much homophobia and God forbid that a man, a soldier, should shed public tears of grief! I was horrified by that murder and I thought (even well into August of 1989) that the Wall would be there forever and people would still be killed. The situation was hopeless and would never change. We would have to suffer and make the best of it. Now I have a chunk of that damned wall on my bedside table. Chris was the last person to get shot and killed trying to cross. The Wall is gone. One never knows what Divine Providence has in store for us and just how and when an avalanche of goodness will start. I no longer believe in the outmoded concept of hopelessness. We have gotten rid of many cruel physical barriers. The problems in all Christian churches, not just Catholic, with intolerance and ignorance towards gay folk represent what Germans call a "mauer im kopf" ("a wall in the head"). I believe we will, someday very soon, be laughing and shedding tears of joy as we tear down these ugly internal-mental, spiritually-violent, ecclesial barriers and consign them to the rockpiles of history. Fr. Geoff, thank you for your ministry and for giving people hope. We pray for you and we love you! Chris Gueffroy, ora pro nobis!

Anonymous said...

FranlAm: Ratzinger was NOT overseeing the CDF in 1975; the whole point of his 1986 document is to tighten the screws of the 1975, retracting its apparent concession of the naturalness of the gay orientation.

colkoch said...

While I appreciate what Archbishop Weakland is doing here, I just wonder why none of these bishops speak out before they retire.

This is why I so appreciate what you have done Fr. Geoff. It's one thing to speak out when the blowback is negligible, it's quite another when it costs you your career. That takes real Courage.

Kevin said...

Hi father: Another great Post! Ya know, I remember a personal email u sent me regarding sexual sins. You said that the church recognizes other sins and the causes of them. But sexual sins, they are all bad across the board. This weekend, President Obama is speaking at Notre Dame. There are SOOO many conservative catholics who want Fr Jenkins removed for inviting him. Being an ND grad, I agree with FR Jenkins. Why does our church love to shun people! I'm am looking forward to reading Weakland's book. I think u should write your own story. We need more people like this to help heal our wounds. Some folks may never be in a loving realtionship because the damage is already done, but your words and those of others really help heal the original wound..that we are dis ordered! It all starts with that thinking! God bless..Kevin B. :)

Ken said...

After reading Fran's comment: it is more than homosexuality that gets the RCC in a tizzy. That is only the latest in a long list of prohibitions summed up in The Music Man as "Gotta keep the young ones moral after school." Shortly after I entered the RCC in 1998, Fr. Ray Rodrigue, the priest who was my confessor, said that because I persisted in a relationship with a woman to whom I was not married (we were both divorced), I "should have stayed a Jew."

I present that without comment. Does it really need one.