Will LGBTQ Church Worker Firings Stop in 2020? That is One Friar’s Hope!

Fr. Dan Horan

What do the 2020s hold for Catholic LGBTQ issues? It is harder to predicate church developments in the age of Pope Francis. But Franciscan Fr. Dan Horan, OFM, ventured one hope for the next decade in regards to the spate of LGBTQ church employment disputes over this past decade.

More than 100 cases of church workers losing their jobs in such disputes have become public in that time (for a full listing, click here). Each firing or resignation has done tremendous harm not only to the employee and their families, but to the communities affected. Horan writes in the National Catholic Reporter:

“Maybe during the 2020s parochial schools and diocesan organizations will stop the unjust discrimination against LGBTQ persons who are, in many Catholic communities, the lifeblood and workforce that keeps the social, educational, liturgical and charitable ministries of Christ’s church alive. Perhaps this is the decade when all people will be treated equally as children of God and not as members of an unequal society that treats unfairly some people simply because of who God has created them to be or whom they happen to love.”

Greater justice for LGBTQ people and their allies in the Catholic Church is one of several hopes Horan lists, a hope which he says is derived from the Holy Spirit. But he also looks to the church’s history with confidence that change does happen over time:

“Last century, in the decade before the Second Vatican Council, many of those theologians and church leaders who advocated for radical development in church teaching and discipline — like the protection of religious liberty or the necessity of authentic interreligious dialogue — were silenced and their hopes seemed ‘ridiculously optimistic,’ as [David] Brooks says. Yet, they witnessed the seemingly impossible changes come to fruition after all.”

One certainty for 2020 and the years following is that Catholic LGBTQ issues will continue to be prominent in the life of the church. It is notable that in 2019, four of The Tablet’s top 10 features and news stories of the year were LGBTQ-specific. One story was Pope Francis’ call to theologian Fr. James Alison (an experience Alison described in greater depth for Bondings 2.0 here). Another was an article about the work of Fr. James Martin, SJ, author of Building a Bridge. Dominican Fr. Timothy Radcliffe’s essay on “How gay is the Vatican?” also made the list, as well as the publication of  Frederic Martel’s book, In the Closet of the Vatican, on homosexuality in the church .

For whatever happens in 2020 and beyond, you can be sure Bondings 2.0 will continue providing relevant daily coverage of the latest developments in Catholic LGBTQ news, opinion, and spirituality. If you do not already receive each day’s post delivered to your email inbox, you can do so by providing your email address after clicking here: https://www.newwaysministry.org/blog/subscribe-bondings-2-0/

What are you predictions for Catholic LGBTQ issues for the next year? The next decade? Leave your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, January 11, 2019
1 reply
    DON E SIEGAL says:

    “Will LGBTQ Church Worker Firings Stop in 2020?”

    “One certainty for 2020 and the years following is that Catholic LGBTQ issues will continue to be prominent in the life of the church.”

    This reader is convinced that there will be no significant improvement of the relationship between the Church and the queer community until the national bishops begin holding local synods on human sexuality that result in true theological change in how the church understands human sexuality and family life.

    I suggest national synods because it is within these communities that I am beginning to see an acknowledgement of the need for such change. These synods could then be stepping stones for the entire Church to grow and begin to better understand the lives of the queer community.


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