Call for justice
An open letter to LGBT Catholic organizations:
Our pope and Catholic bishops have been leading an international war on the LGBT Community, the Rainbow Sash Movement once again invites Catholics to move beyond their liturgical comfort, and confront clerical homophobia through visible witness, and in the arena of liturgical celebration. Regrettably, the liturgy has become a tool in the arsenal of not only the pope, but also in the hands of Cardinal George. It is being used to promote their authority through homophobia.
For too long we have allowed the liturgy to be off limits to the cries for justice. Liturgical comfort has replaced justice. We can no longer bury our heads in the sand, praying outside of the church while homophobia is promoted inside. Nor do we have time to be slapping ourselves on the back for the supposedly wonderful work we are doing. To many in our community experience just the opposite at the hands of our Church.
I endorse the suggestion of Father Tom Doyle, a Dominican priest who has done more than any other ordained church leader to advocate on behalf of abuse survivors, when he writes: "we must challenge the continuing validity of continued monetary support of an institution that has squandered the donations of believers to hide and then defend its criminal actions."
A second means of advocating structural change in the Catholic Church is to keep this effort in the public eye. To this end, members of the Rainbow Sash Movement will be entering Catholic Cathedrals around the country on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, to not only call for justice for the LGBT community, but also to call for justice for the victims of clerical sexual abuse. Such calls for justice do not threaten the sacredness of the liturgy, what threatens that sacredness is our closets.
Unfortunately, the church I grew up in has become a fossilized relic. It mimics the Gospel and names Jesus as its lord even while it aids and abets child abuse, denies women full equality and teaches that its gay members are disordered at the very center of their being. It is time to challenge Catholics who say the Liturgy should be off limits to the cry of justice. Promoting personal piety above the needs of community justice only further denigrates the sacredness of the gospels.
Join us on Pentecost May 23 at Holy Name Cathedral, at the 11 a.m. liturgy. It is time for us to begin the work of reforming the church, for us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our community and replace spiritual apathy with gospel justice. For more information go to www.rainbowsashmovement.com .
Rainbow Sash Movement
Banning the ban
Illinois Sens. Richard Durbin and Roland Burris deserve kudos for being signatories to the letter sent March 4 by Senator John Kerry to Food and Drug Adminstration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging the abolition of the current discriminatory law that bans gay men in America from donating blood.
The letter emphasized that the current law banning men who have had any homosexual sex since 1977 from donating blood for life needs to be reviewed and modified and urged the FDA to undertake a review of the donor screening questionnaire to ensure the safety of the blood supply. It further stated that not a single piece of scientific evidence supports the ban and that a law that was once considered medically justified is simply outdated and needs to end.
Our Illinois senators can be thanked at durbin.senate.gov and burris.senate.gov .
Scott G. Burgh