These are comments I posted to the Blog "Joe My God" recently regarding the news item about Sr. Jeannine Gramick and New Ways Ministry being invited into a Papal audience with Francis. While I often express my disappointment, anger and frustration with Catholic hierarchy, I also occasionally revert to being an apologist. I just find readers' comment to be so often crude, cruel, thoughtless and embarrassing.
Most of the comments here seem not to get the point at all.
I look at the presence of this group of LGBT persons/allies in the Papal audience as a POLITICAL ACT.
Because the Catholic Church, especially under Ratzinger's influence (with JP2 and as Benedict16) has inflicted such harm on LGBT folks, Catholic or not, and because the church still wields such strong influence over conservative Catholics and their allies - influence that often translates into civil discourse and legislation that harms us further - the LGBT community should well be willing to demonstrate our presence as legitimate world citizens in the presence of the oppressors (the Pope and Bishops).
The LGBT contingent in the Papal audience was, in a real sense, making a political demand that we not be ignored (even though on the surface the group was not fully recognized for who and what they were); this was not necessarily LGBT Catholics asking for a place at the Catholic table (as I think that ship has sailed), but rather demanding recognition as citizens of the world fully equal and fully entitled to every human right and without compromise and fully able to dialogue as equals.
One must also not forget the fact that much of Papal communication is done symbolically. An LGBT contingent was there. That symbolic fact cannot have escaped mention among the Pope and his bishops behind closed doors.
Give this group a little credit. They may be the ones who are able to eventually get the Catholic Church off our backs.
******* And this in response to a supportive comment:
Thank you. The work of securing LGBT equality is persued on many fronts. Dismissing the work that is being done by Sr. Jeannine and those like her is shortsighted. How quickly we forget that back in the 1960s, 70s, 80's so much of the struggle for LGBT rights and many LGBT organizations were, if not led by, then highly supported by local churches. Here in Connecticut we had "Project H", a group of church and community leaders led by an Episcopal priest who, for many years, provided the only resources in the area for men in the process of coming out to wives, family, friends. The Committee for Sexual Minorities of the Council of Churches, was instrumental in getting legislation passed - legislation without which we might not be where we are today. The churches may have inflicted more harm than good upon our community, and I in no way defend the sins of the churches and their clergy in that regard, but there are individuals who, like Jeannine Gramick are living a more authentic christian tradition.
Religion has been polarizing, for sure, but please, let's be discriminating in doling out condemnations. I don't understand the usefulness of crude and hateful statements (whether coming from anti-gay individuals or coming from anti-christian individuals) that lend nothing to rational discourse. I appreciate various points of view that have substance but I'm totally turned off by thoughtless name-calling, just because one is angry. These discussions seem to revert to the lowest common denominator - and are often an embarrassment to the wider LGBT community.