“The Catholic Church Needs L.G.B.T. Saints”
“When L.G.B.T. people look at the communion of the saints, we should be able to see someone who looks like us.“
This poignant and powerful personal narrative by Jim McDermott, S.J., associate editor at America, the Jesuit Review in North America, is a nuanced account of the complex, subtle and not so subtle oppression of LGBTQI+ catholics by the Church they grew up in.
This oppression has many forms, for example:
- Lack of visible representation of LGBTQI+ individuals in the Communion of Saints, which Jim highlights in his article, not to mention dearth of visible representation in leadership roles in the contemporary Church
- “Church Speak” which labels LGBTQI+ people in very negative terms, such as “Bless the sinner; hate the sin“ and more subtle patronising words we often see these days in Synodal reports urging “Church to treat LGBTQI+ people with more compassion“, words which imply “otherness”; that LGBTQI+ are somehow “defective” and require benevolence rather than equality. The saddest disclosure by Jim, is the internalised stigma he experiences even today because of repeated use of this patronising and negative language by the Church; as he writes “when you hear that enough as an L.G.B.T. person, you start to believe the same” and ….
“Now, depending on how you were raised, just the fact that I am raising this as a problem might seem scandalous. Honestly, I instinctively feel that way myself, and I’m gay. No matter how much work Pope Francis, various bishops, clergy and others have done to try and normalize the place of L.G.B.T. people in the church, the fact is, for many Catholics of a certain age, being L.G.B.T. still seems wrong or disobedient.”
To empathise, and learn why LGBTQI+ Catholics might need words of apology more than words of compassion, read his article in America here
You can read more about ACI’s advocacy for LGBTQI+ Catholics here