After reading The Guardian’s article, I felt the need to write an Opinion piece, whether or not it was accepted for the newspaper. The Guardian’s headline proclaimed:
Numerous references to Pope Francis’ pronouncements on gay people demonstrate his veritable schizoid thinking on the topic of sexualities. He reportedly said “God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care” (The Guardian, 20 May 2018) and that “Christians should apologise to gay people (The Guardian, 26 June 2016), through to recent revelations that “Gay people should not join the Catholic clergy”. He’s a few centuries late on that one! If every gay priest left the Catholic Church, they might as well shut up shop now!
The Pope’s ‘flip-flopping’ on LGB&T+ people, especially gay males in the clergy, causes immense pain and suffering for individuals; promotes ultra-conservative hetero-supremacy; spawns universal Queer-hatred, and is basically inhumane.
When I was ordained priest, the presiding bishop gave me my vocation, declaring, on behalf of the Church, the ‘People of God’, “We call this man, our brother, to the Order of Presbyterate”. The ordaining Prelate does not say “we call this heterosexual man …”.
The Pope is robing the Church of some amazing pastors
The Pope is being totally unrealistic. He is pandering to outmoded and unenlightened heterosexist / hetero-supremacist discourses held, often by homophobic zealots in the Church, on human sexuality. He is robbing the Catholic Church of some amazing pastors, by compounding internalised homophobia – self-loathing and hatred – in those who are gay and ordained, whilst simultaneously justifying on-going institutional prejudice and discrimination. He appears, here, in his latest missive, to be calling for deterring gay males from seeking ordination in the first place, and an effective exclaustration (casting out) of those already in religious life, with a return to ‘the lay state’ (laicisation) for those in Holy Orders.
Why it’s important to rant over this:
Pope (Saint) John Paul II wrote an Encyclical, entitled, Dives in misericordia, i.e. that God is overwhelmingly “rich in mercy”. Papal invalidation of the immense contribution which gay clergy have made, and do make, across times and places of the Christian empire, makes a farce of the supposed Christian ethos of caritas, that ‘God is love’; equally, that all people – no matter what their orientation – simply as human beings, are made in His / Her image.
The Pope is being disingenuous when he says “God loves you” in one breath, then wishes to exclude all but heterosexuals from the ordained ministry in the next. 2019 is a move forward, into the future. The Church and the world deserve better than being hampered, shackled, by those perpetuating (internalised and exogenous) homophobia, i.e. an irrational fear – and hatred – of all that is not heterosexual.
Ad moltos annos!
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For some of my related sites and stories, see:
Sunset at the Villa Borghese (with video)
Challenging homophobia in class – student’s award nomination (2016)
Conference video presentation (2018) God, Sex, Death & Dying
Evans, D.T. (2017) Sexualities, in: B.S. Turner, C. Kyung-Sup, C. Epstien, P. Kivisto, W. Outhwaite, J.M. Ryan(eds), Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory
Evans, D.T. (2004) Celibacy, Internalised Oppression, Straight Acting (and others) in: J. Eadie (ed), Sexuality – the essential glossary, London, Arnold
Evans, D.T. (2001) Chapter 10: The stigma of sexuality: concealability and course, in: T. Mason, C. Carlisle, C. Watkins, E. Whitehead (eds) Stigma and Social Exclusion in Health Care, London, Routledge
See these, and a full list of all my publications, at ResearchGate