Catholics Leave Over LGBT Issues, As Bishops Redouble Anti-Equality Work

Archbishop Charles Chaput denies Communion to parish activists

A new poll conducted at a Philadelphia-area parish by Villanova University’s Center for the Study of Church Management reveals that LGBT issues are rising in prominence as a reason Catholics leave the Church. Yet, at the same time, members of the hierarchy double-down on their efforts to oppose equality for sexual minorities.

The survey asked 189 non-practicing and former Catholics about their reasons for leaving, producing instructive results for Catholic bishops and clergy struggling to retain parishioners. Scandals around sexual abuse and mishandling of cases was the primary reason, at about seventeen percent of respondents, but this does not reveal current trends. NewsWorks interviewed the poll’s director, Charles Zech of Villanova University, who said:

” ‘People who are going to leave the church over the scandal and the church’s handling of it have already left. So people leaving the church today are leaving for other reasons…A growing reason we found out was the church’s attitude toward homosexuals and gay marriage. A lot of younger people object to the church’s teaching on that.’ “

Catholic support of LGBT rights, especially for equal marriage, is well-documented, but there is little hard data on what the practical implications of this split between Catholics in the pews and their anti-gay leaders. This study suggests not only are the bishops’ policies against marriage equality and LGBT rights harming the directly affected communities, but have wider implications which undermine parish communities. Most leaving do not quit organized religion, but transfer to Protestant communities.

As this new polling is released, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is preparing anew to oppose anti-discrimination legislation that would include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. Pennsylvania is the sole northeast state without LGBT protections written into law on such things as employment and housing, and equality advocates are hoping to change this legislation. NewsWorks reports that representatives of the Conference base their objections in a fear that the Catholic Church would be forced to contradict its beliefs in social services, hospitals, and other institutions.

The Villanova parish study, which will not be made public, names both local issues as well as problems with the Vatican and US bishops as reasons for leaving the Catholic church. Polling director Zech believes local changes, like improved liturgies, could stem the losses. Many troubles are occurring in Philadelphia over parish-based issues, like closures and clustering, that even lead to protests at an immigration Mass recently–and saw Archbishop Charles Chaput deny Communion to three people.

Philadelphia Catholic leadership could withdraw their opposition to simple anti-discrimination legislation that protects the rights of LGBT people to their jobs, homes, and public services. Protecting the dignity of every person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, is well-rooted in the Catholic tradition and it is why so many Catholics support equality. It is time to focus on creating welcoming communities and building up strong parishes, instead of opposing anti-discrimination laws and denying Communion.   The new polling data show that the bishops’ current course on LGBT issues is a losing proposition.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

33 replies
  1. catholicboyrichard
    catholicboyrichard says:

    I still see myself as a “catholic Christian,” but even though returning to Rome in 2005 after a 35 year absence at age 49, and then giving it all I knew to give for the next nearly 8 years, including 3 years of Catholic theology study and being very active in parish work as a Eucharistic minister and RCIA sponsor, I finally, after 2 and 1/2 years of internal struggle and moving back and forth between Rome and Canterbury, left finally for this very reason this year. I am still celibate for the record but I cannot believe that the “one true Church” idea includes eliminating people who have so much to give but are given no place to give it, or who do not see celibacy as an option for themselves.

    I still love Rome. Lots. But for me I am now living out my Catholicism through the Episcopal Church and am at peace with that decision for as long as I am called to do so. I would yet consider one day returning to Rome if a true and lasting openness of spirit occurs, not just to those of us who are LGBT but also to others who may disagree on other “side issues” of the Faith and yet consider themselves and attempt to be loyal to Christ and His Church.

    And, most of all, to recognize that His “Church” goes far beyond the Vatican walls or the USCCB hierarchy. But that very well may never occur in this lifetime, and in the meantime I believe that the best use of my time is to be in a parish that allows me to function fully and use my gifts–including getting married again (this time to someone of my own gender), if that happens to be what God desires for me.

    Having said all of that I have not given up hope–not at all. And I support fully what you are doing at New Ways. You exist for people such as me, and I thank you for being there. Blessings.

    Reply
    • Michael J. Brembs
      Michael J. Brembs says:

      I came back to the Roman Church 3 years ago and after much struggle at being an Outsider will be leaving for the Episcopal Church. I wanted to stay but even with a new Pope, priests are being ex-communicated and teachers fired. Nothing has changed and sadly nothing will. To all who need to find a home there is room for you in the Episcopal Church. It is Catholic though not Roman with all the Sacraments for all.

      Reply
      • duckman44625
        duckman44625 says:

        Michael…though I never left the RC Church, it is becoming frustrating that despite the kindness and pastoral care of Francis, the status quo will remain. The Episcopal Church is starting to draw me to it. Though our parish is gay – friendly – attends to our needs, still the official stance is a malignancy which needs cutting out. Our own Bishop Robert Cunningham, Diocese of Syracuse and Rochester, New York appeared on TV shortly after Francis’ words (concerning the obsession with homosexuality, sexual issues) that the Church needs to move on. He essentially tried to negate this effort by emphasize the letter of the law (Canon) – emphasizing the “sin”-fulness of non-celibate gays. He is a piece of work – pre-Vatican II. His time of judgment for his harshness is coming. Namaste

        Reply
    • catholicboyrichard
      catholicboyrichard says:

      And what is very ironic or beyond so, I found I could not stay away from Rome and have since returned again, to stay. But my heart still goes out to those within the LGBT community and much work is yet to be done. I do not think that the Catholic Church must change their doctrinal stance but would definitely suggest that the attitudes as several including myself have mentioned here do indeed need to. God bless you Michael and anyone else who may be reading this. Don’t give up on Holy Mother Church. Episcopalians have some very good points but I believe it is deficient in that it is not part of the apostolic succession from the beginning and that matters–a lot. I think the better thing is to become insiders while still being obedient to the Church. And for me that means celibacy. I am not suggesting that is best for all, but I am saying it is the ideal, even though it does mean a Cross to bear if we are same-sex attracted. But others bear Crosses too, no more and no less than we do. Just my 3 cents:). God bless.

      Reply
  2. catholicboyrichard
    catholicboyrichard says:

    Reblogged this on catholicboyrichard (Stephen Francis) and commented:
    You may wonder how I can be an Episcopalian and yet see myself as “catholic” but this post says it better than I can so I am reblogging it from Bondings 2.0, a great site and resource for those of us “catholic Christians” who may have moved onward and yet still deeply love Rome, as I do. Please check it out.

    Reply
    • Stephen Sottile
      Stephen Sottile says:

      Episcopalians are Catholic my friend. They have apostolic succession, etc. I have been struggling with the same issues, funny I thought I was alone in this at age 52. I came back to the Church at 45 and I am just about spent with the struggle.

      Reply
      • duckman44625
        duckman44625 says:

        Catholic means universal…the Church of Christ which is His Mystical Bodyvwhich embraces every child of God…regardless of Faith…The Roman Catholic Church usurped and distorted the meaning to make its followers “exclusive” or ” special” in the eyes of God. Such presumption and hypocrisy is used to control and exclude – certainly not the Aging of Christ.

        Reply
        • duckman44625
          duckman44625 says:

          Catholic – smacholic ! Be a true Christian – a follower of Jesus – love and serve everyone – be not judgmental nor exclusive. Do you really think that the only person who you be concerned about – Jesus Christ – cares about these worthless human labels ? Does He care what club – Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Atheist, etc. – you belong to ? The divisions were created by human disagreement and on the part of the Church – arrogance and power. His concern is whether we obey His command to LOVE as He did. Worship in whatever denomination or manner you feel at home in – or go walk in the woods – silence – to hear His voice – forget the machinations of man. Be a good person and He will accept and love you – all that matters in the end…Namaste

          Reply
  3. duckman44625
    duckman44625 says:

    Despite Francis I homily a month ago calling for his Bishops to refrain from exclusion of anyone from Catholic churches, that the doors may not be barred to anyone (in response to Cardinal Dolan’s “Dirty Hands homily – response by LGBT community – resulting in barring St. Patrick’s Cathedral to them) and that no clergy can refuse communion – his American bishops continue to with hold communion from persons THEY deem unworthy (judging them). They are supposed to image Christ, yet these actions do not do so. One might think they serve Evil by their actions. They are pompous feudal lords who force good sincere people to leave the church unnecessarily. No one religion exists which will be in agreement with every person’s life style, opinions. Yet we can both agree to disagree, keeping communication open and respecting each other’s free will. The Bishops, in their bloated pride, think they are gate keepers. In parishes where such behavior exists, LGBT Catholics should seek out gay friendly, open parishes. There are plenty in the country. Contribute noting to exclusive parishes. Unfortunately, the Bishops understand “money” and to recall Jesus’ counsel – man can not serve both God and mammon (money, worldly issues – he will love one and hate the other. Some of our Bishops worship a false god – money – withdraw and they will be brought low.

    Reply
  4. Friends
    Friends says:

    Open question: why would anybody want to receive Communion from a hateful and bigoted old bishop anyway! Communion is an outward expression of hearts and souls being united in the love of God through Jesus. But there’s nothing to love about the way these fossilized old bishops are behaving toward their gay and lesbian parishioners.

    Reply
  5. Annette Magjuka
    Annette Magjuka says:

    As a 57 year old lifelong Catholic, I have lived through a lot of social change. When I was a child, girls could not wear pants (much less jeans!) to school. We covered our heads in church. Women did not have many opportunities in the workplace. By the time I graduated from Notre Dame in l978, women were getting jobs in business, law, and medicine. The birth control pill became widespread. At first, controlling family size was considered a grave sin within Catholic parishes. I remember many heated conversations among my parents’ friends about this subject. Yet, slowly, the Catholic families with 10, 11, and 12 children dwindled. People realized that limiting family size improved economic and emotional health. During the time of transition, individuals were singled out. Some who were outspoken about the use of birth control were maligned. Some were accepted within their faith communities, albeit with some confusion. A common way to deal with the whole thing was to “just not talk about it.” Catholics value life, period. We embrace the teachings of the church, and live the best we can. Individuals make moral decisions. As a woman, should I limit the size of my family so that I have time and energy to use my other God-given talents in the world? Or must I be tied to the home, “barefoot and pregnant”? Obviously, the answer has been lived out in Catholic communities across America. Women are valuable contributors in the world. (We are still waiting for the church to allow women priests, though). As the role of women in society changed, some individuals were loving and encouraging of one another. Some were judgmental and rejecting. No individual is responsible for the entire social upheaval of the 60’s. But each person is responsible for his/her responses and actions. Jesus is clear. We are to love, support and embrace one another. Some Catholics look back in regret for the ways we failed to support one another in the transition to women’s inclusion in the wider world. We have perspective and can see that all the judgment and rejecting behavior was wrong. Everyone, flawed as we are, is invited to Christ’s table.

    Now, the rejecting behavior by some bishops and priests of gay people is offensive to most Catholics.
    Being gay is a God-given aspect of who someone is. A gay person cannot change this. And many Catholics know that we must not discriminate. We must embrace. We must be willing to give gay people all the rights we would have as our own. Some people wish we could solve the issue but “just not talk about it.” Some are uncomfortable with issues about sexuality being front and center. Yet we also know that each of us is accountable for our choices. We are not willing to discriminate. We want to love as Jesus commanded. That is why we cannot do what the bishops would have us do, to reject our LGBT brothers and sisters. For younger Catholics, this is a given. They absolutely reject the discrimination of LGBT people. We have evolved. And this is a good thing.

    Reply
  6. Joseph Gentilini
    Joseph Gentilini says:

    For now, I refuse to leave Rome, even though the hierarchy don’t want me to stay as a gay Catholic man.. Precisely because I am a gay Catholic. My vocation is to be a gay Catholic man in relationship with my spouse of 32 years and in relationship with God. Because I am living within the institutional Catholic Church, my vocation, though hidden, is not deposited in the Church. I may live on the margins in the Church, but I am also living in the heart of Jesus, where I am loved, cared for, and supported.

    Reply
  7. Joseph Gentilini
    Joseph Gentilini says:

    OOPS1 I should have proofed this before I sent it. I refuse to leave because my vocation is NOW deposited in the Church!!

    Reply
  8. Lydia Lombardo
    Lydia Lombardo says:

    Sadly, recently I again was introduced to new acquaintances who “used to be” Catholics but are now “trying” the Methodists. Gay rights were one issue, but lack of welcome to all and continuous preaching of sin and chastising those who weren’t going to mass, even during a First Communion Celebration, was another. It’s uncanny that this has become an opening conversation among Catholics who wish they didn’t have to leave. Pope Francis’ pastoral instructions are blatantly being ignored.

    Reply
  9. Gay priest Richard
    Gay priest Richard says:

    When will we live what we pray: welcoming, loving, forgiving, accepting rather than judging? I thought our bishop of Rome, Francis, said we should open doors, not close them. Are not lgbt created in his image? Where are the GOOD shepherds?

    Reply
  10. Mike
    Mike says:

    I left the Catholic Church last year and became Lutheran. Not only do they welcome gays and lesbians but invite us to bring in more gay Catholics. Im a happy Lutheran now and dont miss the Catholic church at ALL.

    Reply
  11. Jeanne Kelley
    Jeanne Kelley says:

    I haven’t left the Church, but this situation bothers me immensely. I think as Catholics this is probably our battle to have internal to our faith community. The bigger issue I see is all the attacks from the Church on a larger scale. They want laws for all Americans that reflect Church beliefs, which is a direct violation of the separation between Church and State. They are lobbying for blanket discrimination. If the Church wants to maintain that homosexuality is wrong, we can continue to debate that. If the Church wants to define the matrimonial sacrament as between one man and one woman, then that is where we are. However, to step outside the Church and demand the denial of civil rights, to refuse consenting adults the ability to enter into a legal contract of marriage, to go beyond the faithful and attempt to impose those beliefs (shaky ones at best among the faithful) on the states and nation at large is outlandish and decreases the credibility of the Church as a faith community. This is where the initial problems for me are. Faith, beliefs – these are choices. Last I checked free will was a core belief in the Catholic Church, as all things flow from that. If that is true, than they need to stop attempting to dictate morality through the law, unless that are also currently working on a list of who is saved and who is not, since free will would be a moot point.

    Reply
  12. invitacredo
    invitacredo says:

    Reblogged this on In Vita Credo and commented:
    These are just some of the problems young (and older) Catholics are struggling with. For those who want a more equal, accepting, OPEN Church, like myself, but – also like myself – don’t want to leave the Catholics: what do we do? (Ignore bishops and other clergy who don’t hold these views, hunker down and be ourselves within the Church? Or leave?) I don’t know the answers to this, but this is a very good article nonetheless!

    Reply
    • duckman44625
      duckman44625 says:

      Although Catholicism is my heritage, it is empty of meaning without free will and the obligation to attend to one’ s sincere conscience …as taught by the Church. Thus, Faith is rooted in one’s heart…whether the hierarchy (which has revealed it’s inherent hypocrisy in recent years) labels one or should I say “judges” one as worthy of being Catholic is unimportant. More important is that one is a true Christian…one who follows Christ and is a reflection of Him in how he lives…a life of loving all people, serving all people, accepting all people without judging.

      Reply
  13. Annette Magjuka
    Annette Magjuka says:

    Yes, duckman44625. I totally agree with you. Lifelong conscience formation, living by your examined conscience and free will are all important teachings in the Catholic church. Also, we are baptized Catholics and that is forever. When I need a boost, I go to Green Street Methodist Church. They accept all people. They refuse to marry anyone until everyone, including gay people, can be married. It is an uplifting and unconditionally loving place. So see, I am Catholic, but must seek refuge in this wonderful little Methodist church.

    Reply
    • duckman44625
      duckman44625 says:

      The Methodist Church’s stand is a courageous stand for justice and truth. They are to be applauded but I must say, a certain injustice – lack of respect for ALL human dignity – results for congregation members who support marriage equality yet are denied their right to marriage within their Faith community where they are family. As a gay man, I would not feel at ease with this decision, but be that as it may – I am touched by their stand. A situation in which we agree to disagree. Catholic is a human label – the same as Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Hindu, Buddhist, Lutheran, even Atheist and so on. It matters not what we call ourselves – what is important is how we LOVE and SERVE one another. As a Christian Catholic. I truly believe that the reason Jesus wept over Jerusalem was not because of foreknowledge of its destruction, but that His mission and message would be distorted and corrupted – as it has been. The institutional Church has created suffering and death throughout the ages by EXCLUSION, OPPRESSION, and MARTYRING those who disagree. Christ never even intended to establish a new church (as some theologians contend) but show us how to live. But as we all know, change comes from resistance to oppression and there will be suffering. Like the tide or the rising of the sun – it will happen – it is inevitable – it will free the oppressed.Namaste

      Reply
  14. tazman42
    tazman42 says:

    American Catholics have been brainwashed into believing that they are the ONLY Catholics/ Church. The reality is that they are just a rite, or a cult. Explore your History without a Roman Bias.Investigate the Old Catholic Church, the first group to deny Romes right to be Political and authoritarian before the 1st. Vatican Council. The Problems we have today, are the same as then. Power and Control and their abandonment of the Gospel Message of Jesus. Don’t throw out the baby with the Bathwater; and don’t let them intimidate you as they try to overthrow Our Democracy and human rights.

    Reply
    • duckman44625
      duckman44625 says:

      I can only say “Amen” Brother. Familiar with the Old Catholic Church – one parish in Reading, Pa. (250 miles away). Unfortunately, where I live there is none but I do attend “All Saints Church” in Syracuse, NY whose pastor is open to all – but he is restrained from serving fully all (gay marriages) since the overlord Bishop would defrock him. He walks a very thin line but gets the message of equality out despite this. Namsaste

      Reply
  15. Richard Novak
    Richard Novak says:

    What a tremendous and inspiring series of postings and replies! I have trouble deciding where to step in, so I’ll just leave a generic reply that I hope touches on all the perceptive, moving – and very prophetic – comments that precede mine.

    I fully resonate with nearly all the preceding stories, observations and practical strategies for dealing with this continuing divisiveness and exclusion that seems to be increasingly characterizing pronouncements and action by the RC hierarchy (collectively and individually) and by many ultra-Traditionalist Catholic laity – on LGBT issues and many other relational, reproductive and social justice / environmental issues. Like many respondents, I, too, have come to accept that the reality of Christ’s church is not the exclusive preserve of the institutional RC church. During my early faith-formative (in the pre-Vatican 2 church), for which I’m truly grateful, I automatically bought into the “triumphalist Catholicism” that was the “menu du jour” for nearly all of us. As Vatican 2 unfolded and began its implementation in the mid-60s, I experienced a major conversion in how I saw the church and its mission in the contemporary world – and in the need for the church’s ongoing reform to better reinterpret and apply the full Gospel message today.

    I’m very distressed by the inability (or unwillingness?) of much of the hierarchy (in recent decades) to continue enthusiastically embracing Vatican 2’s many reforms – as was the case in the decade following its final session. So we find that church structures that enabled the abuse crisis still largely untouched. Women are still regarded as unequal to men regarding full ministerial participation – as evidenced by fierce opposition to women’s ordination and especially by the “parent-child” micromanagement of vowed women religious (e.g., the oversight of the LCWR). Sexuality (and reproductive) teachings officially remain grounded in “medieval” philosophical and scientific paradigms — as are the teachings on marriage, divorce – and now – marriage (or civil union) equality. Liturgy renewal and enculturation has been “high-jacked” by recentralizing decisions at the highest levels (bypassing regional bishops’ conferences).

    My response to these dysfunctions and stressors is to return to what Jesus said (or didn’t say) on many of the hot-button issues dividing the church today – and to see how the early church handled “crises” (Acts 15:1-31, and Galations 2:7-14 are my foundational texts!).

    I’m still remaining the RC church – for now – however, with a definite ecumenical flavor. I’m involved in an “independent” (extra diocesan) Catholic faith community (modeled on the house churches of Acts). We celebrate (a valid) Eucharist on Sunday morning – and decide our outreach and use of finances to support that. On Sunday evenings, I’m part of an “alternative” liturgy and service community in the Episcopal Church (that mainly draws Gen Y and Millenials on a regular basis who are seeking more authentic experiences of church and the Gospel message). I do not experience any dissonance with my “dual citizenship” in these two communities. Both these communities are welcoming and very inclusive (something not always found in mainstream parishes of either denomination). This presently works for me in living out the mystery of Christ’s church according to the Gospel.

    Let’s keep the conversation going!

    Reply
    • duckman44625
      duckman44625 says:

      Your response to the many postings is inspiring – your ability to transcend the artificial label of “Catholicism” – capital “C” emphasized – is noteworthy and a sign that your Faith is rooted not in the corrupt/feudal system which is Roman Catholicism – but in the Universal Church of the Mystical Body of Christ – inclusive of ALL people – regardless of creed, orientation, ethnicity, etc. There are no boundaries – this is “mysticism” – the only true view of being not only a Christian but a awakened child in the family of God. Only the Holy Spirit touching and speaking in your heart could have brought you to this point in time. Namaste…

      Reply
  16. Annette Magjuka
    Annette Magjuka says:

    My siblings and I coined a family motto: You can’t win, but you can’t quit. This is how I feel about being Catholic. I am most definitely catholic, but Catholic? Not so much. duckman44625, the reason I seek refuge at Green Street Methodist Church when I am in NC is that it is a place where all are welcome. The church began as an AA meeting and many who struggle with addictions attend this church. Many progressive people have found a home there. Jazz musicians who work in town play music, others sing impromptu songs. The sign of peace lasts for at least 10-15 minutes, with everyone walking about, hugging and greeting. The children are involved and adored by all. It is just a great place. When they decided not to perform marriages until all could marry, I think it was in the context of the political realities in NC and the nation right now. They still bless unions. What I am doing by going here is rejuvenating my spirit. I leave full of the Holy Spirit and am convinced that love can change the world. This is how I felt after Vatican II as a young girl, by the way. Do I believe all the Methodist tenets of faith? I have no idea; I don’t know all that they believe. I am still Catholic, but I grow weary of sticking with a group that represents oppression and exclusion to many. I have left the church several times, attending Episcopal churches or the United Church of Christ. Yet, when my parents died, I found great comfort in the rituals of the Catholic mass. What to do, what to do? Two out of three of my kids attended Notre Dame, as my husband and I did. My son points out that he appreciates the theology of the encyclicals, and that if you really read them, they are not exclusionary. I remember my mom saying that the Church is not any one individual priest, bishop, or Pope. This is why we stayed through some pretty lousy priests and bishops. It was not about them–it was about the Mystical body of Christ, as duckman44625 says. I think any religion, organized or not, is there to help one love better. Does it help you love better? Then good. No? Then it is not of Christ.

    Reply
    • duckman44625
      duckman44625 says:

      I agree fully that being catholic is something that you don’t give up…and yes attending a denomination where love is shown by inclusion is at Ted necessary… Christianity Is about loving service…I am blessed in having a safe haven in a parish whose pastor is gay but more importantly devoted to social justice…I and my gay bros and sisters are fully In communion with the whole congregation…LGBT issues and special Ted to devote spiritual support (Pride week – each Sunday Liturgy preceded by acknowledgement of gay martyrs/ activists ) that show we as really loved by God. S for the institutional Church..largely ignored. If the day comes that this parish disappears I too will seek out a faith community…whatever denomination in which I am accepted/respected

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia just last month called for a “smaller, lighter” church of those he deems orthodox, and he issued pastoral guidelines this summer barring several categories of people from public ministry. One gay man has already been banned from being a lector under these guidelines, and other church workers have been sanctioned in the archdiocese in recent years. Chaput is no fan of Pope Francis and was a detractor of the Synod on the Family, along with ejecting LGBT groups from holding workshops on Catholic property during the 2015 World Meeting of Families. He is noted for ejecting children with same-gender parents access from Catholic school and voicing the antipathy of right-wing Catholics towards Pope Francis’ more welcoming style, even as a Villanova University study (in his own archdiocese) identified LGBT issues as a leading cause of declining Church attendance. […]

  2. […] Es conocido por la expulsión de un niño  de una pareja de lesbianas de la escuela católica y negar la comunión a los defensores LGBT. Chaput recientemente ayudó a los esfuerzos de la Conferencia Católica de […]

  3. […] LGBT people. He is known for expelling a child of a lesbian couple from Catholic school and denying Communion to LGBT advocates. Chaput recently aided efforts by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conferenceopposing a […]

  4. […] as a Villanova University study (in his own archdiocese) identified LGBT issues as a leading cause of declining Church attendance. Chaput is known to deny […]

  5. […] Sullivan’s claims again and again, and there is the growing reality that LGBT issues are a primary reason former Catholics have left the Church. Sullivan is expressing the beliefs of large majorities of Catholics that civil marriage must be […]

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