Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

People in general have frequently moved in the direction of tolerance and acceptance of those who are gay – in the direction of mere human decency, that is to say. But “church circles” refuse to do so.

The question is why is that the case, and what does it portend for the future of the churches? In my own Catholic church, the culture-war battle cry of folks like the newly elected officials of the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference, Dolan and Kurtz, is that the church should not concede an inch to culture. Let all the world around us go to hell in a handbasket. We refuse to do the same.

But in response to that culture war battle cry, I’m inclined to suggest that the decision of many people of faith to accept and affirm their gay brothers and sisters is anything but a concession to cultural norms that undermine authentic Christian faith. It’s rooted, instead, in the same authentic Christian faith that church leaders of the ilk of Dolan and Kurtz claim to be defending.

. . . In committing their church to an even more rabidly homophobic stance than it now already has at an official level, Timothy Dolan and Joseph Kurtz may imagine themselves to be making a bold and defiant countercultural gesture. But increasingly, many of their brothers and sisters in Christ, including many of those lay Catholics whose voice they’re intent on suppressing (“We are the teachers!”), will see this gesture not as counter-cultural, but as counter-gospel.

Recommended Off-site Links:
Dolan Chosen as President of U.S. Bishops' Group – Laurie Goodstein (New York Times, November 16, 2010).
U.S. Catholic Bishops Elect a Culture Warrior – Marian Ronan (Religion Dispatches, November 16, 2010).
Catholic Bishops Reject Moderate, Elect New York’s Timothy Dolan in a Shocker – David Gibson (, November 16, 2010).
American Catholic Church Shoots Itself in the Foot – Again – Susan Jacoby (Washington Post, November 17, 2010).
Three Keys to Reading the Dolan Win at the USCCB – John L. Allen, Jr. (National Catholic Reporter, November 17, 2010).
Amidst Dolan Hubbub, Easy to Forget that Bishops Are Virtually Powerless – Ken Briggs (National Catholic Reporter, November 17, 2010).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Real Crisis
Roger Haight on the Church We Need
Sister Jeannine Gramick: “Who Speaks for Catholics?”
Why the Bishops are Being Ignored
The Call to Be Dialogical Catholics
To Whom the Future of the Catholic Church Belongs
Tips for Thinking Catholics
Chris McGillion Responds to the “Exacerbating” Actions of Cardinal Pell
Compassion, Christian Community, and Homosexuality
Celebrating and Embodying Divine Hospitality
Catholic Church Can Overcome Fear of LGBT People


Kittredge Cherry said...

You raise an excellent question: How do we follow the gospel as LGBT people and allies? While the Catholic bishops elect a culture warrior, maybe we need to rethink the whole concepts of sin and grace. Are they embodying mutuality? Or exploiting others?

I’m pleased to announce that “Rethinking Sin and Grace for LGBT People Today,” a series by Patrick Cheng, starts today at the Jesus in Love Blog. Patrick is assistant professor of historical and systematic theology at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Every week he will present one of 5 christological models based on LGBT experience. This week is the Erotic Christ. In this model, sin is exploitation and grace is mutuality.

I’m delighted that this up-and-coming gay theologian is sharing his work with us. I’d love to hear what you think of his ideas. Here’s a link to Part 1:

Mareczku said...

I think most churches are moving in the right direction and becoming more tolerant and accepting of LGBT people. I think Catholics as a whole are also moving in this direction. I also think many bishops are also sympathetic but they are afraid of alienating people that hate gay people so they keep silent.

Michael J. Bayly said...

Well said, Mark!