With Bishops Largely Silent, Catholic Sisters Express Solidarity After Club Q Mass Shooting

Women religious and other Catholic leaders in the U.S. have expressed their solidarity and grief in the wake of last month’s mass shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ+ nightclub, even as the nation’s bishops have remained largely silent.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents thousands of Catholic sisters, issued a statement to those affected by the Club Q attack, which killed five people and wounded nearly two dozen others, as well as to LGBTQ+ people generally. LCWR’s leaders wrote:

“As women of the Gospel, we stand in opposition to all forms of exclusion and violence committed against any member of the human family. There can be no tolerance for hate. We pledge ourselves to work for the change of structures and systems that promote messages and actions of violence, particularly those directed towards persons who lack freedom and are denied human dignity. Our faith requires something more of us. We are called to be instruments of peace.

“We also pledge to address the root causes of violence within ourselves as we examine our own thinking, words, beliefs, and actions that perpetuate discord in our relationships and our circles of influence. The cycle of violence must be halted with the actions we take to stop hate and initiate healing towards right relationships, particularly with those impacted by the misuse of power.”

Separately, the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph issued a statement decrying the “homophobic and transphobic mass shooting” that occurred right before Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Federation stated:

“As vowed women religious, associates, agrégées, St. Joseph Workers, and partners in mission who share this charism of unifying love, we name that violent hate crimes do not happen in isolation. Language, beliefs, and practices that condemn, reject, target, or blame LGBTQ+ people must be explicitly rejected, particularly by religious leaders and churches. . .

“We are called to actively interrupt hateful interactions in daily life and dismantle the systems that reinforce this rhetoric and violence in society, including anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that is sweeping across the country. This includes calling out the Catholic Church’s support and endorsement of such legislation.”

Also issuing a statement was Fr. Desmond Drummer, pastor of Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, South Fulton, Georgia. Drummer wrote, in part [bold in original]:

“As people of faith who affirm the dignity of every human person, we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs—here in Metro Atlanta, and everywhere—who are experiencing fear and uncertainty as the details of this mass shooting emerge. While the investigation of this criminal act continues, Christians must assess the degree to which our religious rhetoric continues to dehumanize and traumatize people who identify publicly and quietly as members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“If this mass shooting at Club Q is officially found to be an act of anti-LGBTQ+ hatred, that will be easy to condemn. The more difficult task is to reflect honestly about our dispositions, assumptions, and silence that allow disrespect to permeate our churches, families, and societies. The seeds of violence are found in our thoughts and words—and in what we fail to do.”

Notably, both in the statements here and in lay leaders’ previous responses, there is more than just expressions of grief. The bishops remain largely muted, but other Catholic leaders are recognizing that sympathy is not sufficient when the discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQ+ people has been caused, in part, by negative Catholic messages. Once again, women religious prove to be far more prophetic than the bishops when it comes to LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, December 6, 2022

5 replies
  1. Duane Sherry
    Duane Sherry says:

    It’s time to follow the lead of the Episcopal Church, and to ordain women deacons, priests, and bishops in the Catholic Church. No more outdated doctrine; no more lame excuses!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *