A Patronizing “Pastoral Message”
December 6th, 2008
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, has issued A pastoral message to homosexual Catholics in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles assuring gay Catholics that they “are cherished members of the Catholic Church, and that we value you as equal and active members of the Body of Christ”.
I know what the Cardinal is trying to say. He just wants gay Catholics to know that this very personal action that he encouraged to harm their life wasn’t personal. It’s not out of some desire to hurt them, you see, it’s just out of Mahony’s absolute certainty about how things should be.
And that while he actively seeks to eliminate any measure of equality for same-sex attracted persons either in society or in the Church, he values them as equal members of the Body of Christ. You’re equal in the eyes of God, you see, but dogma and doctrine require that you be treated as intrinsically disordered, not to be protected from death sentences, and psychologically suspect due to your “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”
Frankly, there are times that outright animosity is better. At least you know that the Phelpses are thinking about you when they carry signs saying “God Hates Fags”.
But these folks who campaign to change civil law in some way that impacts only gay people and then turn around and claim that it has nothing to do with gays, well they just infuriate me. It’s not that they declare us evil, per se, but rather that they refuse to consider us at all.
Consider the dismissiveness inherent in the Cardinal’s refusal to even recognize that gay couples exist:
As we have come to learn over these past decades, there are many groupings of people residing under one roof across California. Some of these groupings are related family members, while others are companions and friends. There are now 17 rights for such companions and friends specifically included in the State of California’s legal structure.
Having relegated decades-long committed loving relationships to “companions and friends”, and having declared – in a moment of absolute absurdity – that Proposition 8 never “intended, directly or indirectly, to lessen the value and importance of gay and lesbian persons”, the Cardinal arrogantly assigns the ill intention of the perpetrators of this attack on gay family onto the victims.
We are saddened that some people who opposed Proposition 8 have employed hurtful and accusatory language, and even threatening actions, against those who voted for Proposition 8. This is most unfortunate since such strategies obscure the basic matter at issue: the preservation of the ordered relationship between man and woman created by God.
At no point did Mahony acknowledge, much less apologize for, the hurtful and accusatory language of the Yes on 8 Campaign or the threatening actions against those who contributed against it. I guess the extortion letter signed by the Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference was justified by “the basic matter at issue”.
This is not by any reasonable definition a “pastoral message”. There is no recognition of the harm caused. There is no salve for the wounds in his flock. There is not even an admission that this political endeavor had the slightest of negative consequences on gay people.
There is only self-justification, lies about the intent and result of the campaign, and blame assigned to those who disagree with him – including those to whom this letter pretends to be addressed.
I’m not a Catholic so I cannot speak for those who are part of the Church. But were I one of Mahony’s flock, I would find his smarmy patronizing self-congratulatory “message” to be an offense to me, my family, my friends, my God, and all decent people everywhere.