Breaking the Catholic Silence on LGBT Human Rights Violations

A big “thank you” to the editors of America magazine, the Jesuit weekly, for standing up for Mrs. Clinton’s human rights’ day speech on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) issues, and also for speaking out about the oppressive anti-gay bill in Uganda. They’ve broken what has been a terrible silence from mainstream Catholic leaders on both of these issues.

In the first editorial of the new year (published in the January 2, 2012, edition, but available now online), they praise Mrs. Clinton for her Catholic vision in defending the human dignity of LGBT people around the globe.  As the editors point out,

“Much of what she says can, and should, be supported by Catholics. Same-sex marriage has been strongly opposed by the church. But Mrs. Clinton’s speech is referring to the more fundamental right of gay and lesbian people to live without fear and without threat of death.”

Uganda, a heavily Catholic nation (42% of the population is Catholic, the largest denomination in the country), is currently once again considering a bill that would institute the death penalty for homosexual activity. Despite the fact that Catholic teaching should oppose this extreme punishment (indeed, any punishment), Catholic leaders have been shamefully silent on this and other international human rights violations against LGBT people.  The silence of Catholic leaders bespeaks a homophobia that is destructive not only to LGBT people, but to the leaders themselves, as they violate their own integrity by not speaking out about what is obvious to so many are flagrant human rights violations.  Particularly in Uganda, forceful messages from Catholic leaders-from the Vatican down to the parish ministers-could make the difference whether or not that nation accepts or rejects this terrible legislation.

It will be a great day when Catholic leaders speak out on violations of church teaching on the human rights of LGBT people with even a fraction of the energy, intensity, and frequency with which they speak against marriage equality initiatives.

Let’s hope and pray that other leaders here in the U.S. , in the Vatican, and around the globe will follow the courageous lead of the America editors.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

0 replies
  1. Liz Mariani
    Liz Mariani says:

    I identify as bisexual and as an Italian-American from a strong, traditional Roman Catholic family, I have felt the sting of this silence, manifesting in my life experience as erasure, and other forms of social trauma.

    Additionally, I’d like to commend you on calling out the church on this huge integrity issue internally and externally present in our lively Now. I get upset from time to time over the silence and shame I can feel as weight growing regarding this issue.

    I feel many LGBT peoples within the extensions of the Roman Catholic Community of Western New York (including Priests) are forced to live unhealthy dualities what they believe, who they are and how they believe Christ’s vision for justice and compassion should be manifested. There are Roman Catholics who are taking a stand. Grisanti is not alone.

  2. Antoinette
    Antoinette says:

    I shall certainly look up the article in America. Great thanks.

    If only I could find a similar site geared toward LGBTIQA in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. If not, I’d like to know how to put such a site together.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] far as I know, in 2012 America became the first Catholic periodical to condemn such laws in an editorial.   And in February of this past year, they again editorialized against these measures, citing Pope […]

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  7. […] You can connect to the previous posts, “A Gay Catholic in Uganda Speaks. . .” and “Breaking the Catholic Silence on LGBT Human Rights Violations.”  Also relevant would be our post “How Catholic Was Clinton’s […]

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