Catholics for Equality and Catholics for Marriage Equality Issue Joint Statement to LGBT Youth
WASHINGTON - Catholics for Equality and Catholics for Marriage Equality with all people of good will lament the multiple tragic deaths of gay youths. As Catholics, we confess that our personal indifference and institutional church prejudices have contributed to the morbid despair of these and many other LGBT youth.
Our response moving forward must be both personal and political. We must personally include and affirm LGBT youth in our homes, churches, neighborhoods and schools.
Catholics for Equality and Catholics for Marriage Equality pledge active political support for The Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2010 (SSIA). The SSIA would amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (part of the No Child Left Behind Act) to require schools and districts receiving federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
LGBT suicide is not primarily a psychological issue, related to individual failure to cope, adapt, or access adequate services. It is a social issue. It reflects our collective failure as a society and a Church to affirm, nurture, and provide safe place for vulnerable persons to grow in truth and love.
Our message to LGBT Catholic youth is fourfold:
The problems that drive you to despair are not your fault. Regardless of your struggles and thoughts of suicide, you remain the beloved child of God. That love never changes.
Know that we love and cherish you as our own flesh and blood, united in one Body in the Lord. We are family. In family there is no other. You are not alone, and will never be abandoned. You may feel isolated, and wonder if there is hope. Believe that your LGBT and allied Catholic family are here for you. Many in it have been where you are. Let our love for you help you through the challenges you face.
What must change are social attitudes, and our capacity as Church to understand, care and advocate for you. We have failed you. We have allowed anti-gay bishops to issue a steady stream of anti-gay pronouncements; to promote an anti-gay agenda in our parishes through literature, DVDs, petitions and political campaigns. Our silence has led you to believe that we agree with Church hierarchy. We do not. We recognize and respect your intrinsic human dignity.
Our confessions: We have not treated you with sensitivity, as the Catechism teaches. We have sinned in our indifferent attitude to LGBT-affirming ministries, which should be made available in every parish, so that you would never for a moment have to think that you were the only one, or that there was no place for you in the Church of Jesus Christ. Please forgive us.
We ask you to consider that "it does get better". We pledge to you our personal support as Christians who share the baptismal gifts of faith, hope, and unfailing love. We pledge to you our political advocacy to make the promises of The Safe Schools Act of 2010 your reality.
No matter what you are going through now, things will get better. God is not a bully. God loves you, and will continue to supply all of the graces you need to live an abundant life in Christ Jesus.
Catholics for Equality empowers pro-equality Catholics to put our faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families.
Catholics for Equality was founded in 2010 to support, educate, and mobilize Catholics in the advancement of freedom and equality at the federal, state, and local levels for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender family, parish and community members.