A Call for a Mass for LGBT People at the Vatican

Today’s post is from guest blogger Benjamin Brenkert, a contributor to The Daily Beast.  Brenkert will pursue doctoral studies in education at Columbia University, New York, in the fall.  His previous contribution to Bondings 2.0 can be read here.

As a Christian gay person, and former candidate for the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church, I propose that in response to the recent LGBT mass shooting in Orlando, Pope Francis celebrate a Mass for LGBT people in St. Peter’s Basilica and Square in Vatican City.

The Pope’s effusive, rhetorical question, “Who am I to judge?” is a promising question, but it needs actions to back it up. While a non-judgmental tone sounds good, unless clear and tangible follow-up happens, it doesn’t mean much.

His call for an apology to gay people shows that he is willing to ask their forgiveness.  Jesuit Fr. James Martin told CNN:

“No group feels more marginalized in the church today than LGBT people.”

Clearly, active forgiveness and reconciliation are needed.  What better way to celebrate that than to participate in the Eucharist together?

What the secular and religious world needs is an unequivocal demonstration of prophetic support for LGBT people, especially youth. A Mass for LGBT people all over the world is a good first step to let gays know that they are accepted for who they are, and that they are loved unconditionally.

A public Mass is the type of action the LGBT community thirsts for.  They want to know you truly offer presence, inclusion and acceptance.  A Mass would allow a group that has been so excluded to participate in an action that is never conditional or situational: God loved the world so he sent His Son to save it.

At the Mass, Pope Francis could invite gay priests to come out of the shadows of their closets, allowing them to be completely and utterly honest about who they are. He could call parents of LGBT youth not to abandon their children. He could remind the rest of the world that pastoral outreach to the LGBT community is necessary.  He could decry governmental policies which discriminate against or criminalize LGBT people.

The Pope could remind the world that God delights in all people—straight, gay, lesbian, trans, bisexual, and all who don’t fit a label—and that God made us human, embodied beings. Pope Francis could do this by calling for a reform of the catechism of the church.

At a mass for gays, the Pope could finally lead the church out of people’s bedrooms, beyond talk about sex, and to human relationships and the whole life of every person. He could say that LGBT people are not sinners and that their relationships of love are not sinful.  Such is already the cornerstone of a papacy that proclaims the Joy of the Gospel.

The Pope should allow all LGBT people to receive the Holy Eucharist at such a Mass, creating an important symbolic gesture for all pastors and bishops who seek to limit reception of communion.  He must allow them back into the Catholic family. If the church is truly maternal, it will open her arms in welcome.

It is sad to point out that the world is still not safe for LGBT people. The recent massacre of gays in Orlando reminds us that, despite the gains in marriage equality and the overturning of other discriminatory laws, the current wave of LGBT equality is still met with resistance in the secular world and with destructive messages in the religious world.

I call out to you, Pope Francis, please invite LGBT people throughout the world to make a pilgrimage to Rome in order to celebrate Eucharist with you.  We will respond overwhelmingly, and this celebration will be a blessing for all.

–Benjamin Brenkert

Related article:

The Orlando Sentinel:  “Dear Pope: Open the doors of St. Peter’s to gays”



7 replies
  1. Wilhelm Wonka
    Wilhelm Wonka says:

    You need to waken up. Pope Francis will NEVER celebrate such a Mass for people he and his predecessors considerer objectively disordered.

    Francis is not sincere. He is all window dressing. And it is working…at least on some.

  2. Loretta
    Loretta says:

    Benjamin’s suggestion of the LGBT Liturgy in the Vatican gets me in the gut, that is, I can feel the efficacy of that powerful act. In his other article, he refers to Mother Church as not listening or accepting her gay sons. As a Catholic mother of a gay son the analogy was piercing. Thank you, Benjamin, for your courage and sacrifice of coming out, leaving the Jesuits and speaking out. An aside, I’m assuming he was referring to the late Henri Nouwen as the best selling Catholic gay author, yes?

  3. amagjuka
    amagjuka says:

    This mass would heal all of us. Many straight Catholics of conscience know that sticking with an institution that excludes, derides, and marginalizes LGBT people is wrong, plain and simple. We cannot stand by while this discrimination continues. Something must happen in the official language and behavior or loving people will not be able to stand by this hierarchy. Young people will reject the church altogether. So in a real way, souls are being lost because of the dogmatic and draconian stand of some of the church leaders.

  4. Tintin
    Tintin says:

    This is the perfect place for a quote from the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles; “And if someone told you wolverines would make good house pets, would you believe them?”

  5. Drew Conneen
    Drew Conneen says:

    Wouldn’t this be nice and sadly, it probably won’t happen, but it’s important to encourage this outreach.

  6. Sisters Lea and Consilia
    Sisters Lea and Consilia says:

    Thank you, Benjamin, for your fine article. Pope Francis celebrating a Mass with/for the GLBT+ community. at St. Peter’s Basilica should be a mandate straight out of the Gospels. It would be a revolutionary “game-changer” within the walls of the Catholic Church and a clarion call to the world.

    On the other hand, such an act would fire up the religious and political fundamentalists against Pope Francis even more than they are already…even to the point of ??? We are in a Church, in a World where hard decisions have to be made on both personal and political levels. Let us pray that individual AND institutional conscience informed by Gospel takes precedence over political expediency.

    Sisters Lea and Consilia

  7. Dalybreadcrumbs
    Dalybreadcrumbs says:

    I wish it was that easy or simple! Unfortunately the Roman Catholic Church is a very conservative, very slow in moving..which is not always a bad thing..and very caught up in its canon law and legalism is it’s tradition..again which is not always a bad thing…but it still views itself as the one and only true church…whilst acknowledging other Christians, as separated brethren! That is separated from the one true church! Whilst I read and hear about Pope Francis’ remarks about unity and his heart seems to be one that desires the Roman Catholic Church to remove its blinkers and open the box…there is little he really can do in regard to fundamentally altering the view it has for too long held, on LGBTQ people. It would be to them..like re writing the scriptures..or denying transubstantiation! I would very much like to see a lead from the top in getting such a mass said publicly asking for forgiveness for how LGBTQ people have been mistreated, abused, hurt, demonised…tortured and killed by the Church! It would be fantastic…but it would need a miracle…and though Inpersonally believe in miracles…I have great doubt here! Lord, I believe…help thou my unbelief!


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