Thursday, July 30, 2015

US Catholic Bishops Are Ignoring Pope Francis' Message

The Republican Party is not the only group that is denying reality and changing attitudes towards LGBT individuals.  In lock step you will find U.S. Catholic bishops continuing to double down on anti-gay bigotry - as well as discrimination against divorced Catholics in the case of the despicable Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.  This despite the message that Pope Francis has seemingly tried to send that business as usual is not going to cut it, especially as the Catholic Church suffers membership loses across the globe except in backward, uneducated regions of Africa (ignorance and lack of education being a prerequisite to embracing the Christian narrative).   A piece in the National Catholic Reporter looks at the U.S. Bishops' subversion of Pope Francis' message.  Here are excerpts:
There have been a number of recent firings of gay or lesbian employees within the Catholic church in the United States. Principals, teachers and a variety of parish ministers are among those who have been fired. Gay priests and women religious have been dismissed from significant positions of influence. Fr. Warren Hall, a gay priest and chaplain at Seton Hall University, was removed from his position by the archbishop of Newark, N.J.

Hall has written a letter to Pope Francis requesting a meeting with the LGBT community within the church when Pope Francis visits the United States in September. In his letter, Hall writes, "Good teachers are being fired, pastoral and compassionate priests and religious women are being silenced ... and good, faith-filled people are leaving the Church as they witness all of this happening."

It is clear that bishops have the power to make these decisions and to hire and fire for any reason or for no reason. Having the power to do something, however, is not the same thing as it being the right thing to do. It is interesting to note that the bishop, not the school, made the decision regarding Hall.
Schools, hospitals, universities, etc. have often been pleased or satisfied with their own employees, yet bishops have seen fit to intervene. There is also the issue of firing people who are doing a good job, as Hall himself notes.

[T]he bishops appear to be ignoring the words of Pope Francis. Pope Francis has made no attempt to change any church doctrine, and there is no indication he has any plans to. Conservatives should be happy about this. However, Pope Francis has also made clear that there does need to be a dramatic change in the way the church does business. Gone are the days of wholesale condemnation. Instead, we need to live in the world and embrace God's creatures and creation as good. A new openness is needed . . .

Why are the bishops not hearing or responding to this message? Do they simply not get it? Do they just not agree with the pope and are choosing to defy or ignore the Francis message? Do they believe that Francis won't be around that long and they will just wait it out until a pope more to their liking comes along?

What they need to understand is that this is not just about Francis. This is about coming to grips with the world around them. Bishops need to recognize that today's culture has moved to a different place on a number of issues. They can choose to stand on the sidelines and become more and more irrelevant. In doing so, they will find that fewer and fewer members even of the faithful will bother to listen to what they have to say.

The alternative is to be more welcoming to the world around them. Bishops need to stop the knee-jerk reaction of forcefully condemning every statement that they don't understand or disagree with. . . . How refreshing it would be if the bishops were to choose to be a part of the world rather than isolating themselves and ensuring that their utterances are not seen as constructive or helpful to the wider world around them. Ultimately, the bishops need to shed their attachment to power and learn to serve as did the Lord Jesus.
Will the bishops get the message?  Probably not.  The majority are likely self-loathing closet cases who cannot stand the fact that some gays have come to terms with their sexuality.  They are bitter, nasty men who have no concept of the real world and who surround themselves with sycophants  and pandering ass kissers. It is they, along with other Christofascists who are slowly but surely killing Christianity.

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