On Monday, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith formally issued a statement that the Catholic Church can’t grant clergy the ability to bless gay unions — because “God cannot bless sin.”
Pope Francis has publicly endorsed peoples’ rights to same-sex unions as far as legal and civil matters are concerned, but when it comes to their place within the church it’s a different story. Francis has shown support to gay, trans and queer people in that he believes that homosexuality and gender dysphoria are not sinful in themselves, but that acting on them, through queer love and sex or by transitioning one’s gender or sex, is unnatural and disorderly.
He insists that the Catholic Church is not to turn anyone away spiritually, but when you know that your family would never be accepted, you wouldn’t be able to get married in your lifelong church, or that your deadname and old self would never be dropped from that community, could that claim ever really be true?
We can pretend that dusty old men far away in high castles can say what they like and it won’t matter, but these kinds of statements do have consequences. Every time the Church acts against LGBTQ people publicly like this, queer suicide hotlines see peaks in their numbers. This is what shapes communities of cities, neighborhoods and families: it lets people know that discrimination is not only okay but holy too, and it shakes vulnerable peoples’ faith that they have a place with God, let alone in the church.
Every year, significant numbers of young people flee the Catholic Church, and really, can you blame them? If our school cares about its students retaining any desire whatsoever to care about the Jesuits, their mission or their beliefs, they need to do something — either express their disagreement and protest, or instead agree with the Vatican’s offices, ignore the principles that attracted much of our student body to this college, and support a long-standing Catholic tradition of exclusion and discrimination that becomes more and more jading to combat. Remaining silent speaks loudly to the latter effect.
Canisius’s students and faculty should together urge our school’s administration and ministry to speak out against the Church’s sentiment — after all, that kind of step out of line can’t be worse than pedophilia, and even that transgression typically only warrants a move to a new parish.