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Philadelphia Catholic Archbishop: ‘There’s no such thing as LGBTQ’

Philadelphia Catholic Archbishop: ‘There’s no such thing as LGBTQ’

Archbishop Charles Chaput addressing the March for Life in 2012

Philadelphia-based Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput, who once said sexually active gays cannot take communion, now denies the existence of LGBTI people at all.

Archbishop Chaput claims that church documents should refrain from using the term ‘LGBTQ’ in any official documents. He also blamed the church’s sexual abuse crisis on liberal beliefs about sexuality.

Chaput’s anti-LGBTI speech

‘There is no such thing as an “LGBTQ Catholic” or a “transgender Catholic” or a “heterosexual Catholic,” as if our sexual appetites defined who we are; as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ,’ Chaput said in a 4 October speech at the church’s Youth Synod in Rome.

The full text of his speech was published online by the UK-based Catholic Herald.

While many Catholics urged the Church to become more accepting of LGBTI individuals, Chaput disagrees. A working document for the Synod said, ‘Some LGBT youths, through various contributions that were received by the General Secretariat of the Synod, wish to “benefit from greater closeness” and experience greater care by the Church.’

Chaput objected to this language.

‘“LGBTQ” and similar language should not be used in church documents, because using it suggests that these are real, autonomous groups, and the church simply doesn’t categorize people that way,’ he said.

‘Explaining why Catholic teaching about human sexuality is true, and why it’s ennobling and merciful, seems crucial to any discussion of anthropological issues. Yet it’s regrettably missing from this chapter and this document. I hope revisions by the Synod Fathers can address that.’

According to Chaput, young people are being influenced by a ‘culture that is both deeply appealing and essentially atheist’. He blamed this culture for the Church’s sexual abuse scandal that has come to light in recent years.

‘The clergy sexual abuse crisis is precisely a result of the self-indulgence and confusion introduced into the church in my lifetime, even among those tasked with teaching and leading,’ he said.

‘And minors — our young people — have paid the price for it.’

Why was Chaput there?

Chaput was chosen by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to represent the group at the synod. Additionally, he is a member of the synod’s permanent council. This year’s synod opened 4 October and runs through 28 October.

Catholic opposition

‘[Chaput’s message] is a perfect example of how some church leaders have been so blinded by ideological homophobia and transphobia that they cannot perceive plain human facts accurately,’ wrote Francis DeBernardo of LGBTI Catholic advocacy group New Ways Ministry.

‘His comments reflect the dangerous avoidance mentality that is the cause of the clergy sexual abuse scandal and so many of the ills which plague the Catholic Church today.’

‘There are LGBTQ Catholics and transgender Catholics and heterosexual Catholics, just as there are Italian Catholics, elderly Catholics, disabled Catholics, Latin American Catholics, traditionalist Catholics, poor Catholics, educated Catholics, and so many other distinct groups within our big tent church,’ DeBernardo continued.

‘If Chaput interprets LGBTQ as a sinister designation that must be expunged, the responsibility for such an interpretation is his own fault and a result of his own ignorance to better understand the reality of LGBTQ Catholic people.’

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