The Worst of 2012 in Catholic LGBT News
As the year 2012 winds to a close, it’s time to review the news of the Catholic LGBT world of the past 12 months. In today’s post, we will look at the stories of the worst happenings of the past year, and in tomorrow’s post, we will look at the best stories. Bondings 2.0 asked you for your feedback on what the worst and best news stories of the past year were, so the ranking of these stories is based on your responses. The percentage following each story is the percentage of people who chose this item as one of their top five. Thank you to all 311 of you who participated.
The Top Ten
1. The Parliament in Uganda, a pre-dominantly Catholic nation, re-introduces a bill to make the death penalty a possible sentence for lesbian and gay people. 16.34%
2. The Vatican censures the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for, among other things, their support of LGBT issues and New Ways Ministry. 15.69%
3. Pope Benedict opens the year by stating that new models of family are a threat to “human dignity and the future of humanity.” 14.05%
4. The Knights of Columbus have contributed $6.5 million to oppose marriage equality over the past seven years, according to an Equally Blessed report. 12.09%
5. A Catholic lesbian woman in Maryland is denied communion at her mother’s funeral Mass. 10.13%
6. The Vatican censures Sister Margaret Farley, a theologian who has supported the moral goodness of gay and lesbian relationships. 6.86%
7. U.S. bishops attempt to make religious liberty an issue as a way to defeat marriage equality initiatives. 6.54%
8. Minnesota teen is denied confirmation for supporting marriage equality. 4.9%
9 & 10. TIE: The Catholic University of America again denies a request for recognition of a gay-straight alliance on campus. 2.29% Several Catholic church employees are fired because of their support of marriage equality. 2.29%
In several cases, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development withdraws funding from organizations which support LGBT equality. 1.96%
Catholic theologian Tina Beattie is disinvited from a fellowship appointment at the University of San Diego because of her support of marriage equality. 1.63%
The U.S. Catholic bishops investigate the Girl Scouts of America for connections to liberal causes, including LGBT equality. 1.63%
Minnesota’s Archbishop John Nienstedt instructs his priests not to speak publicly in support of marriage equality. 1.63%
A Catholic high school in Indianapolis refuses to call a female-to-male transgender student by his male name. 0.98%
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
Pretty good list but where is Father Roy Bourgeois? That should be right up there.
Thanks for your suggestion. We didn’t include the story of Father Roy Bourgeois because it didn’t deal with LGBT issues.
Wow. I’m stunned by this reply, and could not possibly disagree more. That shows a rather unsophisticated understanding of “LGBT issues” (hint: they’re not simply about who we are attracted to, really) and perhaps one that reflects on why we who are LGBT Catholics struggle to gain allies within the Church. Fr. Roy’s dismissal is very much our issue, because the same dynamics – including institutional sexism – underlie both what happened to him and . What you’ve done here is also suggest that being LGBT is simply about *sex* – not sexuality or sexual identity, which is much more complex than your analysis seems to have considered. In that sense, particularly failing to see how marginalization of women is inextricably part of the dynamic, you’re doing the same thing that the Church does to us. Not helpful.
I’d suggest reading Suzanne Pharr’s “Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism” – written in the 1980s, but could still be insightful to you today. And really – I’m far more disappointed by your answer here than by leaving Fr. Roy’s dismissal off the original list. It’s on my personal “worst news” list, I think.
Your analysis is excellent, Sarah, and I agree with your perspective. Developing a “Worst of” list entails developing criteria for selection. One of our criteria was that the item be on the topic of Catholic LGBT issues, and we didn’t see Fr. Bourgeois’ story as being included topically. We certainly disapprove of his dismissal, and recognize the similarities with the way he was treated and the way LGBT people are treated by church authorities. We certainly support him. His story is certainly among the top worst Catholic stories of 2012.
I disagree that by not including Fr. Roy’s story on the list means that we view being LGBT is simply about sex. I think that the range of topics on our list and on our blog generally is evidence that we view LGBT issues as far broader than issues of sexual activity.
It’s the Girl Scouts of the USA, not the Girl Scouts of America, and GSUSA has had a positive stance for many, many years.
From a green-blooded, life member of GSUSA,
Beth in MN
Thanks for the correction, Beth! Yay for the Girl Scouts for their long-standing inclusive policies!