Installation of Bishop Cantu as Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio, making him the youngest bishop in the US--in more ways than one.
San Antonio Archdiocese Says No More Gays at Mass
October 23, 2010
For 15 years, LGBT Catholics and allies were able to worship at St. Ann Catholic Church in San Antonio. On a weekly basis these folks would filter into the pews, and honor that age-old commandment to keep holy the Sabbath. Priests and other Catholics interested in building a better relationship between the Church and the LGBT community would attend, setting aside whatever divisions might exist the other six days of the week, and focus on reconciliation, forgiveness, and a little love between neighbors.
But in a memo released by their acting head bishop, the Archdiocese of San Antonio has said goodbye to reconciliation, forgiveness, and the whole 'love thy neighbor' mission, and instead are telling LGBT people in San Antonio that they're no longer welcome in Church. Well, that is, unless they want to change their sexual orientation.
Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú, the interim head of the San Antonio archdiocese, said that creating a safe space for LGBT Catholics (and their friends and families) to worship was contradictory to the tenets of Catholicism, and that simply allowing LGBT Catholics to worship as a group made Jesus weep, and could simply not be tolerated. His suggestion? That LGBT Catholics pledge celibacy if they really want to worship.
The sad part is that for 15 years this has been a non-issue, as leaders within the Archdiocese felt it more important to welcome all folks to the table, rather than exclude a heaping portion of the population. But as with many Catholic dioceses around the country, the politicization of the issue of homosexuality has taken center stage. Gone are the days where many churches can be counted on to focus on poverty, homelessness, hunger, education, and health care as their top social priorities. In are the days where church leaders want to denounce gay people, even if most folks in the pews have friends and family who identify as LGBT. (My heart goes out to the parents of gay kids. They are faced with two brutal choices, condemning their kids or being more or less condemned by their Church. It was very easy for me to see why Anne Rice finally took a hike.)
The actions of the Archdiocese, however, aren't going to keep LGBT Catholics from speaking out. Fred Anthony Garza, the President of a local chapter of Dignity, said that the definition of Church isn't a building, but rather a community of people. If the San Antonio Archdiocese won't let the LGBT community inside its doors without pre-conditions, then LGBT Catholics will just find another place to meet.
(As more Catholics come to this insight, more Catholics are going to find real and meaningful Catholic spirituality.)
Bishop Cantu really needs to take a look at his orthodoxy. It's too luke warm. Why is it that only a Mass dedicated for gays and their supporters is contrary to Catholic tenets and makes Jesus weep? I think this notion of the good Bishop needs to be taken much much further. I would hope Cantu would also see a similar need to stop special Masses dedicated for those people who like Latin, or special Masses for the KofC, or any other 'special' group, like convents or monasteries, whose need for 'special' treatment must also make Jesus weep. Seriously, San Antonio should prohibit all special Masses for special groups. Jesus had no special people who needed special rituals or attention. period.
Secondly if gay Catholics must be celibate and silent to step foot in a church to receive their baptismal rights, then all single heterosexuals should also pledge celibacy and all married people should pledge to be monogamous and free of birth control, and no one should step one foot inside a Catholic church if they can't make a pledge refraining from masturbation. If Cantu is going to enforce Catholic sexual morality for gays, it seems to me that Jesus must also be weeping over this special treatment. I can easily imagine Jesus makes no distinctions when it comes to Catholic sexual sins. Kick all the unpledged sinners out. period. Especially clerics.
Granted this won't leave many Catholics in the pews, but the sacrifice would be worth it if it stopped Jesus's weeping. Well, at least weeping in church. He might weep a river of tears over all the people outside the church but it might be that following that river led all those people to found a new Catholic community. A community in which they discovered that sexual sins aren't that important beside the great commandment to love one another. It might be in this kind of community that they would be brought to understand that one of the greatest of sins is not about sex at all, but about denying any believer access to the gifts of His love that Jesus gave to all who profess faith in Him. That's a big one and Cantu is guilty of committing it, and to make it even worse, he's blaming it on Jesus. That won't cut it. period.
Amen, Sister, amen.ReplyDelete
On a cognitive level your critique of this "pastoral policy" (I weap here) by doctrinal consistency to shaking up straights, masturbators, etc. is the most incisive. But, really, I am just feeling numb. I don't know how far this ecclesiastical war can go against gay people. Gays are too small a group to dent the hierarchical caste system. I implore straight lay Catholics to begin telling bishops that they won't volunteer for Church activities (e.g., religious ed teachers) until these policies change. I agree that cutting off money would have limited effect because the Monaghan types will replenish Church coffers, but what they can't do is staff the almost endless rolls of volunteers parishes need to survive.ReplyDelete
Good point Kevin. The Monaghan types can't fund the numbers of volunteers needed to run US Catholicism.ReplyDelete
I too wish that straight lay Catholics could look at this emphasis on gay sexual immorality with honest eyes. Part of that honesty is to see that the core issues in natural law, as they pertain to sexual acts, are centered principally on the proper deposit of sperm. In this sperm is everything scheme, women are essentailly reduced to passive tabernacles for the sacred sperm.
Mony Python had it right. Every sperm is sacred. Unfortunately, too many of the consequences of the Monty Python school of natural law are not funny.
"...and no one should step one foot inside a Catholic church if they can't make a pledge refraining from masturbation." Right!!!ReplyDelete
Devilish things are happening in the Church these days! This report of banning gays from Mass is utterly ridiculous and so contrary to Jesus' teachings!
I am not surprised though, considering the depth of ignorance from certain fascist & christian-taliban tendencies in the US hierarchy & their zombified followers.
Sad situation, but yes, people will find ways to love God, honor the Sabbath and love their neighbor elsewhere. A shame good people of Faith in all the right stuff are being tossed out by the catholic taliban of ignorance and heartlessness. They are truly whitened sepulchers!!
word verif - bornsis
Contrasting against what I've heard in various places about people who are living together in a heterosexual relationship, with or without without benefit of civil marriage... They WANT those people at Mass. In fact they demand those people still have the obligation to go to Mass. They just don't want them taking Communion.ReplyDelete
It is so nice to know I can be or do something so evil that I no longer even have the obligation to attend Mass... I used to think that was simply not possible. :)
Ucant would be a better name for this Bishop!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for this post. Your commentary was clear and incisive and so on the mark ! Hope you don't mind me placing it on my blog so that more people in the UK see this -especially those people who would sympathise with Cantu - yes, they exist over here too ! Once again thanksReplyDelete
CC, I would be flattered if you did so. This shining the spot light on perceived gay sexual sins is hardly an American phenomenon. My real concern is the spreading of this kind of single issue Catholic sexual morality to Africa. Roman Catholic bishops have been a voice of reason so far in Africa, but more signals like this one from western bishops like Cantu could have a very distinct and deleterious influence.ReplyDelete
It doesn't take the promotion of too many Ray Burke's before a real message is sent to clerical climbers that the path to the red hat is an absolutist abortion stance, gay bashing, and mysoginy.
Forget Jesus, His actual teachings about the spiritual life are no where to be found in those three issues--which are all about keeping the feminine winds of change out of the 'divine' loop.
Well, except for the Burke's of the clerical world.
This is so sad. So the bishop can't let these people have their Mass? What ever happened to being a welcoming Church? Why do some people have to be not welcome? I wonder if he really wanted to do this or was just giving in to pressure from haters.ReplyDelete