Leading Theology Society Calls on U.S. Bishops to Reconsider Its Anti-LGBTQ+ Efforts

A leading organization for Catholic theologians has approved a resolution affirming its support for LGBTQ+ people and calling on church leaders, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to roll back their efforts against equality.

The Catholic Theological Society of America’s members approved the position statement at their annual meeting last weekend, expressing the group’s “solidarity with members of the LGBTQIA+ community.” The statement reads, which is just one of four resolutions since 2006 listed on the organization’s website, reads, in part:

“As the CTSA convenes in Atlanta for its 2022 annual meeting, its members deplore the unprecedented wave of attacks on the community across the nation. Legislative restrictions or attacks are frequently combined with dehumanizing and abusive rhetoric, which have predictably led to a surge in hate crimes and murders against the transgender community and others dehumanized by these policies and rhetoric. As Catholics it is our responsibility to denounce this systematic marginalization and disenfranchisement of transgender persons and any other vulnerable communities subjected to a comprehensive assault on their basic dignity and rights of citizenship.”

The position statement also makes a clear demand of church and civic leaders who have worked against LGBTQ+ people’s equality:

“We call upon the USCCB along with local and state legislators to reconsider any policy positions that may have contributed to the current explosion of anti-LGBTQIA+ hate. We implore church leaders to consider how these policies alienate LGBTQIA+ persons, their families, and young Catholics from their parishes and from the Church, frequently discrediting Christianity itself.”

The Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) is the primary group for North American theologians, and was founded in 1946. With more than 1,300 members, it is the largest theological society in the world.

Dr. Craig Ford

Also notable, CTSA gave its Catherine Mowry LaCugna Award to Craig Ford, Jr., a gay theologian who has done extensive work on LGBTQ issues. The award honors “new scholars for the best academic essay in the field of theology within the Roman Catholic tradition.” Ford’s essay was titled “Our New Galileo Affair.” He has written several reflections for Bondings 2.0 since 2016, available here.

The CTSA’S resolution is perhaps the strongest Catholic denunciation yet of the intensifying anti-LGBTQ+ efforts in the U.S. It is particularly notable that the theologians  called out the USCCB which has spearheaded efforts to stop legislative and judicial efforts for equality. Catholic theologians have often moved the church forward on LGBTQ issues with affirming research, and now they are doing so again with such a clear, powerful public statement.

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, June 16, 2022

ANNOUNCEMENT: Stay tuned for information on a soon-to-be-released new publication from New Ways Ministry, A Home for All: A Catholic Call for LGBTQ Non-Discrimination.  The 60-page book, by New Ways Ministry’s Francis DeBernardo and Robert Shine, is an explanation of why and how Catholics should support initiatives and policies that promote LGBTQ non-discrimination, in both the church and civil society. In addition to the main text, the book contains 24 testimonies from leading Catholics, including several bishops, as to why they support non-discriminatory policies. The book is based on New Ways Ministry’s theological statement, also entitled “A Home for All,” which was released at the end of summer 2021, and which was endorsed by over 750 theologians, scholars, and church leaders.  

The book will be released in the coming weeks, and Bondings 2.0 will provide details for how to order copies.

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