Last month, Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, awarded its “Teacher of Peace” title to Fr. Bryan Massingale, a leading professor of theology. He addressed the group’s members upon accepting the award, laying out what he considered the challenges of today for Catholic peacemakers. Massingale, who is openly gay, lauded Pax Christi for choosing him, saying:
“I mean, honoring someone who is Black, publicly gay, and a Catholic priest who denounces white supremacy and ecclesial homophobia as threats to social peace and forms of idolatrous faith – well, there are easier choices that could have been made.”
Massingale further touched on LGBTQ issues, listing equality as a necessary part of the larger struggle against white nationalism. He said, in part:
“White nationalism is the gravest threat to peace precisely because it is intersectional, threatening social stability and human flourishing on multiple levels and fronts. . .White nationalism is also anti-LGBTQ, as evidenced in its homophobic and toxically masculine rhetoric and its hysteria surrounding the smallest attempts to recognize the humanity of trans persons. . .
“I do not exaggerate: white nationalism is a grave threat to both democracy and peace. It is nakedly racist, blatantly homophobic, violently sexist, environmentally irresponsible, and recklessly narcissistic. If Pax Christi is to be relevant as a Catholic movement of peacemaking with justice, it must name white nationalism as the greatest threat to peace. It must realize that this threat will persist for at least the next three years, certainly through the 2024 election cycle, and probably beyond. And your peace activism must understand white nationalism as the intersectional scourge that it is.”
Fr. Massingale consistently has been a prophetic voice who speaks at the intersection of his Black and gay identities. He has spoken out in support of LGBTQ families, has defended a retreat for gay priests, has signed New Ways Ministry’s statement to bless same-gender couples, and has called for an end to conversion therapy, among other efforts. He has also contributed to Bondings 2.0. His latest exhortation to Pax Christi USA is a timely reminder for not only that group, but for Catholic advocates for justice generally: there is no liberation unless LGBTQ people and our equality are part of the struggle, too.
To conclude, a quote from Massingale at New Ways Ministry’s 2017 National Symposium seems fitting: “Refuse to be silenced. Continue to speak our truth.”
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, August 9, 2021
National Catholic Reporter, “Fr. Bryan Massingale: White nationalism is the greatest threat to peace today“