December 9, 2014. Boston, MA. Responding to today's release of a document that will set the agenda for the second phase of the Vatican's Synod on the Family, to be held in Rome October 4-25, 2015, leaders of DignityUSA said it was "inadequate and alienating" in its approach to the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) Catholics and their families.
Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA's Executive Director said, "We continue to be deeply frustrated with the approach Church officials are taking to the Synod on the Family in general, and with the discussion of LGBT issues in particular. There remains no opportunity for openly LGBT Catholics, or for families who delight in their LGBT members, to have official input into the deliberations, or to vote on policies and doctrines that will affect us for decades to come. Even the language used to refer to lesbian and gay people ( 'people with homosexual tendencies' ) is a reversion to the dated and judgmental tone that so many had hoped was fading into the past, given Pope Francis' apparent comfort in talking with and about LGBT people in a more realistic and respectful way.
"LGBT people certainly need appropriate pastoral care that starts from a position of acknowledging our moral equality with all other people, and that accepts the reality of our lives and the families we create. But we are not a problem for the Church to solve. We are human beings, baptized members of our Church, God's beloved just as are other members of the Church. We have 'gifts and qualities' needed and freely offered to the Church and the world, to borrow language from the previous Synod's interim report," Duddy-Burke continued.
"The leaders of our Church need to humble themselves and listen to the people of the Church. Catholic families all over the globe have carefully considered both Church teaching and the reality of their LGBT members' lives, and have resoundingly rejected doctrine in favor of loving embrace. Church officials are decades behind the faithful in realizing the true Gospel teachings about LGBT people. We call on them to actively listen to the call of the Spirit spoken in this truth, or I fear the upcoming Synod will lead to more pain, more alienation, and more devastation in the lives of LGBT people and families everywhere in the world," said Duddy-Burke.
Noting that the Vatican was instructing bishops to engage "all levels of the Church," including "clergy, religious, lay people and lay organizations" in gathering input prior to the Synod, DignityUSA repeated its call, issued prior to the November 2014 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for a Year of Dialogue on the Family in all dioceses across the U. S.
"While some U. S. Bishops established ways to listen to the Catholics they shepherd prior to the 2014 gathering, many did not," said Duddy-Burke. "All of us deserve the opportunity to have our voices heard, and our concerns, hopes, and ideas carried to this gathering. An open dialogue will benefit our entire Church, enrich its ministries, and provide opportunities for re-engagement for those who have questioned their place in the Church."
DignityUSA is the nation's foremost organization of LGBT Catholics, their families, friends, and other Catholics committed to equality and justice. Founded in 1969, it is committed to full inclusion of LGBT Catholics in our Church and society.