Earlier this month, when Catholic bishops gathered for a Synod on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment,” Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput made it clear that he had a problem with any reference to “LGBTQ Catholics.”
Chaput claimed Catholics should stop using that term altogether because such groups simply didn’t exist.
In a letter to his colleagues, he explained his (lack of) thinking:
… There is no such thing as an “LGBTQ Catholic” or a “transgender Catholic” or a “heterosexual Catholic”, as if our sexual appetites defined who we are; as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ. This has never been true in the life of the Church, and is not true now. It follows that “LGBTQ” and similar language should not be used in Church documents, because using it suggests that these are real, autonomous groups, and the Church simply doesn’t categorize people that way.
While he obviously tried to include “heterosexual” in there so as to not single out an already oppressed group of people, he ignored the simple fact that hetero relationships are the default option in the Church. They don’t have to refer to “straight” relationships because it’s assumed they all will be straight. Plus, there is language in the Catechism condemning same-sex physical acts, as if a married gay couple is committing a crime in the Church’s eyes by consummating their relationship.
The Church has also made its position on LGBTQ issues clear: They oppose everything. They don’t want gay couples to have equal rights. They don’t want Catholic adoption agencies to give kids to same-sex parents. But many LGBTQ Catholics oppose the Church on these issues, just as plenty of Catholic women support abortion rights.
Which is all to say an older Catholic’s response to a major “youth” issue was to dismiss it entirely. The Church doesn’t need to do anything special for LGBTQ members because such a constituency has no place in the religion.
None of this is surprising coming from Chaput. In 2016, he argued that openly gay couples introduced “moral confusion in the community.” He also said gay people in relationships shouldn’t receive communion. He doesn’t want them in the Church, period.
It’s telling that, at a time when the Church is being destroyed by many of its own leaders committing or covering up child sexual abuse, Chaput’s concern is to create obstacles for devout Catholics who happen to be LGBTQ and unashamed of it.
(Screenshot via YouTube)