A lesbian woman who is a former Catholic has written to Pope Francis and other Catholic leaders to warn them that anti-LGBT rhetoric contributes to youth suicides.
Gay Star News reports that Kellie King, 40, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, spent five days composing and distributing the letters in which she encouraged them to take the perspective of LGBT youth.
King, who herself had attempted suicide when she was 18, has received some positive feedback. Gay Star News reported:
“A US archbishop told her: ‘Please know that I have read your letter with deep respect and reverence.
” ‘Thank you for allowing me to share in your journey as well as in the pain in which you have experience in your life at times. I also respect and appreciate the struggle with faith that you have had because of the issues that you raise in your letter.’ “
Inspired by Pope Francis’ openness, King composed a journal entry which eventually became a letter to the pontiff and hierarchs all over the globe. In a post on OneWheaton.com/Untold, King stated:
“Once I had put my thoughts down I found myself mailing it to the Vatican. I thought this was for my own internal cleansing, but as soon as I put the letter in the mail I realized I wasn’t done. I thought, I need to send this to all Cardinals that have shown compassion toward gays and lesbians. I translated the letter into Spanish, Portuguese, Indian, Arabic, Italian, German, Dutch: basically every language spoken by cardinals and bishops across the world. Then I emailed my letter everywhere.”
You can read the entire letter to the pope at the end of the OneWheaton.com/Untold blog post. Here’s how it begins:
“I’m confused and I’ve been my most of my life. I have always felt a pull to God even though I was raised in a home without a Christian upbringing; I always longed to find God. I also have always thought of this pull as a calling or something I was supposed to do regarding God. This pull has always been there even as a child. I tried to find God in my adult life, but I’ve always been pulled down by people always telling me that I cannot be a Christian. “
King received responses from several bishops and archbishops, which she shares in her blog post. Here’s a few excerpts:
“I believe it helps to know that we have a very compassionate and loving God who does not judge or distance himself from us. In fact, as I often say, when God looks at Jesus at least twice in the Gospel, God say, “this is my beloved – in whom I am well pleased.” When God states this, I believe God is saying this about each of us.” –US Bishop
“The origins of homosexuality are a mystery. We know so little about human sexuality, don’t we?” –US Bishop
“We reach out to you without judgment, but with the care of Christ and the care spoken about by Pope Francis.” — US Archbishop
King stated to Gay Star News that she hopes to eventually encourage a greater dialogue in the church on LGBT issues:
” ‘My goal is to hopefully save some lives, first,’ King said. ‘My next goal is to have conversations with people who hate us.
” ‘Not to try to change them, not to say that you’re wrong but let them see the other side of being gay.’ “
Additionally, she has established an online petition to encourage such a dialogue.
Have you written to the pope or bishops about your own experiences as an LGBT person or ally? What kind of responses did you receive? Please share your experiences in the “Comments” section of this post.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry