Pope Francis Disappoints LGBT Catholics With New Edict

Pope Francis Disappoints LGBT Catholics With New Edict

LGBT Catholics are expressing great disappointment with Pope Francis’s long-awaited document on marriage and family issues, The Joy of Love, released today.

The document reaffirms the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex relationships, saying these can never be considered the equal of heterosexual marriage. It draws on a report out of a bishops’ synod, or meeting, held in two parts over the past two years to discuss marriage and family.

Modern society, the pope writes, has devalued marriage. “There is a failure to realize that only the exclusive and indissoluble union between a man and a woman has a plenary role to play in society as a stable commitment that bears fruit in new life,” the pope says. “We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability, but de facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with marriage.”

He cites a quote from the bishops’ report, saying, “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

He calls, as the church has previously, for avoidance of “unjust discrimination” based on sexual orientation, and says families in which a member experiences “same-sex attraction,” as the pope puts it, “should be given respectful pastoral guidance, so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives.” From the church’s viewpoint, “God’s will” means they should not act on such attractions.

He also calls for the church to be more welcoming to those living in “irregular situations,” which appears to include LGBT people, cohabiting but unmarried straight couples, single parents, and divorced people.

Francis asserts that gender is inseparable from biology, again quoting the bishops’ report, which denounces any ideologies “that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female” and in which “human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time.”

The document was a great disappointment to LGBT Catholics, coming from the pope who famously said “Who am I to judge?” regarding gay priests. “Instead of listening to more progressive voices at the synods 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,” said a statement issued by Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a group that advocates for LGBT equality within the church.

“Many in the Catholic LGBT community had great, but realistic, hopes for this document,” DeBernardo continued. “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. Many were hoping for something more pastoral from this pope known for warm gestures and statements. Where is the Pope Francis who embraced his gay former student and husband during his U.S. visit? Where is the Pope Francis who invited a transgender Spanish man for a personal meeting at the Vatican? This Pope Francis is hard to find in his latest text.”

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of LGBT Catholic Group DignityUSA, also saw the document as a letdown. “In this document, Pope Francis has continued the characterization of LGBT people as unable to fully reflect the fullness of God’s plan for humanity,” she said in a statement reported by The Washington Post. “We had hoped for much more, and many, many people are profoundly disappointed today.”

Mary Beth Maxwell, a senior vice president at the Human Rights Campaign, expressed similar sentiments. “We had hoped that Pope Francis’s more open and loving message about LGBT people would translate into fuller inclusion during the church’s Year of Mercy, and we are disappointed today,” she said on the HRC’s website.

DeBernardo said positive change in the church will come through “much more faithful witnessing of LGBT Catholics and their supporters, as well as continued steps toward dialogue with church leaders.” He found reason for hope in one section of the document, in which the pope encourages people “in complicated situations” to speak with clergy and Catholic laypeople. “They may not always encounter in them a confirmation of their own ideas or desires, but they will surely receive some light to help them better understand their situation and discover a path to personal growth,” Francis writes.

DeBernardo commented, “Such dialogues can transform those in so-called ‘complicated situations,’ but they can also transform the church’s ministers and leaders. This process is a proven method for the development of doctrine in the Catholic Church.”

Go here to read the full document, which also reaffirm’s the church’s opposition to contraception and abortion, and offers the possibility of divorced and remarried Catholics receiving communion. And New Ways excerpts the LGBT-related sections here.

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9 Comments

  1. Eggsy
    April 10, 08:24 Reply

    First of all, unjust discrimination? So there are cases where discrimination of lgbt people can be just. OK. Talk about church-sanctioned discrimination. But this shouldn’t be a surprise, though, I mean it’s the church. Never in the history of their crusades and inquisitions have they been known to be welcoming and anything less than bigoted.

  2. Mandy
    April 10, 08:33 Reply

    I saw on twitter some tweeps arguing that the Pope should be all in or not at all. Either give full acceptance or be clearly antigay. I disagree with that sentiment. Pope Francis is doing a fairly good job of making the LGBT inclusive in an institution that’d rather keep us out in the cold. He can’t simply overhaul the system at a go.

  3. ambivalentone
    April 10, 08:47 Reply

    Oh wow! ‘pastoral guidance’, ‘God’s will’…look ppl, its therapy for the gays

  4. Django
    April 10, 08:59 Reply

    What can I say? The Pope is after all, human, and frankly, IDGAF about that dude. To the Catholics/Christians in the house, how y’all doing today?

  5. Geeluv
    April 10, 09:05 Reply

    Exactly…. @ Mandy. That’s how I see it too.

  6. Dimkpa
    April 10, 11:33 Reply

    I think it is too much to ask of him to come all out in support of LGBT community or affirm it in any way. First of all he is the Pope, the head of the church which has a doctrine based on the Bible. Secondly he is not a dictator, much as he is the Pope, I doubt he can make such pronouncements on his own. He would face opposition from his parliament if he tried. In my opinion he has already done a lot by saying the things earlier attributed to him.

    He also encourages people talk to their clergy and was quite realistic in saying that “They may not always encounter in them a confirmation of their own ideas or desires, but they will surely receive some light to help them better understand their situation and discover a path to personal growth”, which in my opinion is a way of saying don’t expect everyone to understand. Though given the number of priests that have affinity for young boys, I think they pretty much understand already.

    That said statements like theveryone one about ideologies “that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female” shows a very limited idea of the subject tried to use to promote their stance.

    I know he wields influence and all but I just hope people will think and live for themselves and not wait for a fellow human to say something is right before we live our authentic lives. That is the way that these men in their robes would eventually be relegated to insignificance like they should be.

  7. J0j0
    April 10, 12:04 Reply

    How would they expect full acceptance? he said exactly what he should say… he encouraged acceptance! and his making his speech based on the doctrine of what his under..

    If he accepts the LGBT community openly, the catholic community would have a lot to loose… am not disappointed…

    Via Pinky there’s no post wishing we potential
    mother’s happy Uka NNE?

  8. Delle
    April 10, 12:46 Reply

    Oh well, was I expecting him to say otherwise? Nope. I didn’t think he would sanction gay marriage (even old men want to live longer). You know what? Marriage isn’t all that there is. They can go on with all this talks about same-sex marriage being abominable and what have you, it doesn’t change me. Many gay men I know are not even up for the marriage thingy so let’s not get carried away. I just want my rights as an individual accorded to me irrespective of my sexuality. Period.

  9. Mr. Anonymous
    April 10, 17:12 Reply

    O actually just want to compliment everyone posting here today. I was expecting a lot more vitriol in typical KD fashion whenever religion comes up. We seem to have a come a long way. Kudos.

    Oh and happy Uka nne to the mothers or potential mothers in the house ???

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