US Jesuits released a series of YouTube videos telling LGBT people they are welcome in the church during July and August in response to Pope Francis’s comments that he cannot judge gay people.
The Jesuit Ignatian News Network released the Who are We to Judge – Gay Catholics series starting July 30 which features interviews with a series of prominent gay Catholics and LGBT affirming clergy.
While the videos don’t go as far as endorsing same-sex conduct, they urge Catholics to treat same-sex attracted people like they would Catholics who had divorced despite the church’s teaching by accepting their reality in the world.
In one of the videos gay Catholic author John Paul Godges tells the Ignatian News Network that his sexuality in relation to the Catholic Church is like his relationship to his country – he doesn’t have to agree with everything it does to still belong to it.
‘I often tell people that being Catholic is a lot like being American,’ Godges says.
‘Just because some politician prosecutes a misbegotten war, I’m not going to renounce my citizenship and flee to Canada. I’m going to stay and fight and communicate and converse and speak at retreats and do whatever I can to promote the best that is in the Catholic church.’
‘One of the big misconceptions about the Catholic church is that its anti-gay – I think that’s a very selective reading of the Catechism,’ the Rev. James Martin says in one of the videos.
‘Many LGBT people have very deep spiritual lives and are Christians. It’s not as if you have atheist gays on one side and religious or spiritual straight people on the other.
‘A reason why I think a lot of gay and lesbian people feel unwelcome in the church has less to do with the formal teaching of the church and more to do with the informal bigotries among Catholic Christians,’ the Rev. Matt Malone says.
‘There is no inherent conflict between having same-sex attraction and being a faithful Catholic – there’s no ipso facto conflict there. The question is how do we live our lives and that’s the question that everybody faces.
‘The church extends a sort of pastoral sensitivity and welcome to people who are divorced and remarried. In those instances the response seems to be ‘We know what the church teaches – its clear – we also know that it’s a morally imperfect world and that people are doing the best that they can so its important that we be welcoming ad that we listen to people,” but I think too often when it comes to gay and lesbian the response isn’t that.’
The videos must be one of the strongest statements welcoming LGBTs to date from within the Catholic Church.