LGBTQ Nation recently profiled queer Catholic activist Jamie Manson, who shared why she stays in the struggle for greater justice and equality in the church, even when it can be trying to do so at times. Manson, who was just named president of Catholics for Choice after serving as an editor and columnist at the National Catholic Reporter for many years, named the suffering of so many LGBTQ people and women as her motivation when the work seems overwhelming. She said:
“On my bad days… [I stay] because I see the power that the institutional church has over the lives of LGBTQ people and women, and it’s harmful and menacing… This institution has enormous global power, and you can’t look away from that. So on my tougher days, I’m like, no this thing is a force and a force for enormous harm for women and for LGBTQ people, so I have to keep fighting and raising that awareness.’ . . .
“‘Women and people of marginalized genders and queer people are suffering at the hands of pervasive, globally influential Catholic doctrine. So if I get down, I think about the suffering, and that keeps me going. It really does.'”
The work of building up equality in the church can be tiring. While there are many bright spots today, like the growing number of welcoming parishes and Germany’s Synodal Way, global progress towards a truly inclusive Catholic Church remains slow. And just being LGBTQ and Catholic can be exhausting, too. No one should ever feel compelled to stay in the church if it is too harmful or it is stifling one’s relationship with God. But for those of us who do remain, Manson’s words can be sustenance in our own hard times. Indeed, perhaps one of the most Catholic things to do is to be called into service by the suffering of others.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, January 2, 2020