Scrolling through Facebook last night, I felt compelled to share Father Jim Martin’s post on the Supreme Court decision in support of gay marriage because it captured what I had been thinking, not just about gay marriage but about the response Jesus would have his followers take toward anyone who was lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise.
One friend responded with some happy surprise that a Catholic priest would take such a “Jesus-like” position. Another, who knows the Church better, pointed out that there is still work to do, as the US Conference of Catholic Bishops took a very different approach, calling the Supreme Court decision a tragic error. Which is really disappointing, but probably not that surprising. Earlier this week, Vatican Radio interviewed Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, which is preparing to host the pope as part of the World Meeting of Families in September. If you listen to Archbishop Chaput’s interview, you find the same mindset as Father Martin’s: focus on spreading the love of Jesus and let the other stuff work itself out.
The new bishop of San Diego, Robert McElroy, appointed like Chaput by Pope Francis, talks in his initial interview about the need for a church that “banishes judgmentalism.” While he doesn’t specifically address gay marriage, his point sure contrasts with the USCCB statement.
Rocco Palma, author of the blog Whispers in the Loggia, has as expected the most comprehensive coverage of statements by the bishops, jointly and individually. Beyond his initial post, which trends toward the USCCB approach, he pulls excerpts of newer statements on his Twitter feed, accessible from his site. There is some variety, and my guess is that there is an overall trend toward moderation and a greater emphasis of love for LGBT Catholics than there was a few years ago. But there is work to do on the “banish judgmentalism” front.
While the conference in Philadelphia in September is a global one, it will be worth tracking how this issue plays out there.