Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

“Stop Church Homophobia!”: LGBTQ Christians to Pope

Pope Benedict XVI

Rome, Vatican City – Thousands of LGBTQ Christians issued an Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI, appealing to him to end the Roman Church’s bigotry against the sexual and gender variant minority throughout the world at Roma Euro Pride on June 10.  Among the 44 organizations endorsing the Open Letter to the Pope were Americans, including the pioneer gay priest, Fr. John J. McNeill.  In brief, the signatories from the European Forum of LGBT Christians call on Pope Benedict: ” We appeal to Your Holiness to condemn acts of violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people, and for Your Holiness cooperation in lifting the penalisation of homosexual acts worldwide. Silence from Your Holiness is interpreted by people engaged in violence, torture, and murder as consent to their actions.”  The letter goes on to impress on the Pope the importance that priests cease pressing LGBTQ people to undergo “reparative therapy” in misbegotten attempts to change their sexual orientations.  The full text of the Open Letter to Pope Benedict is viewable here.

Roma Euro Pride 2011, Flavio Michelle Pinna photo

MacNeill, a gay Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who authored groundbreaking books (such as The Church and the Homosexual in 1976) on Christian spirituality and homosexuality, was silenced by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) and forbidden to continue his ministry among LGBTQ people, first in 1977, then in 1983 and yet again in 1986 with a severe rebuke.  Then,  in October 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger issued the Vatican’s infamous “ Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” which defined homosexuality as “an objective disorder” and “a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.”  LGBTQ-friendly groups were expelled from Roman Catholic parishes worldwide.  MacNeill broke his silence, refusing to cease his work and activism.  MacNeill’s participation in the 2011 Open Letter to the Pope challenges the very man who attempted to muzzle him, and who has done more than any recent prelate to harm LGBTQ people, giving him yet another chance to live up to his faith, and recant his ecclesial bigotry.  A film on Fr. MacNeill’s life, “Taking a Chance on God,” premiered in Rome during Euro Pride 2011 as reported by the San Francisco Sentinel.

Reports of over a million attended the festivities in Rome this year, culminating in a huge Mardi Gras-style parade on June 11, after nearly two weeks of games, forums, worldwide press events. For the first time ever, Euro Pride included an emphasis on Faith and Homosexuality.

July 6, 2011 Posted by | Being Gay is a Gift From God Campaign, Bisexual persons, Euro Pride 2011, Fr. John MacNeill, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Homosexuality and the Bible, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Pope Benedict XVI, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Roman Catholic Church and Homosexuality, Rome, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Stop Church Homophobia!”: LGBTQ Christians to Pope


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