When will they listen?

Why is my church so afraid of the Truth?

Both the Catholic and secular press are carrying stories these days about the proposed document that the US Bishops will discuss and vote on during their upcoming meeting in Baltimore. The document on “ministry to persons with a homosexual inclination” apparently reiterates the tired phrases (“disordered”) and self-contradictory logic (a homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful [which must mean it’s either morally good or morally neutral, right?] but acting on this morally good or neutral inclination is sinful) that has become standard fare in these official pronouncements.

What is most disturbing — yet not surprising — is that the document has precious little in terms of external input. Where was the consultation with real-life gay men and women? Were any openly gay people asked what their thoughts on the topic might be? Where was the discussion with other fields of science — psychology, medicine, sociology, anthropology — that might just have something to say about homosexuality?

If the bishops are so certain of their views on this topic, then what would be so wrong with actually engaging gay and lesbian people in conversation? Wouldn’t that be the truly pastoral thing to do — to engage, to encounter, to listen with respect and speak with confidence? Their failure to engage, however, is unfortunately just a sign of the weakness of their teaching and will, in the end, lead to its being relegated to that closet that countless thousands of gay Catholics have happily left behind.

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