On Tuesday, September 14th, Catholics For Equality was launched after nine months of preparation. As one of the founders, I am satisfied with the initial reactions. I'd like to tell you what to expect from this fledgling organization and I'd like to invite suggestions.
Advocacy groups are always more admirable than any one of the individuals who direct them. C4E is no different. The founders have their own privately held motivations, aspirations and expectations, but these are blended into an entirely subscribed mission: to assist American Catholics in the expression of their strong belief in equality.
The road to the launch was not without a rock or two and the premise of disagreement among the founders is acceptable as long as there is honesty and a relaxed belief that if the work of C4E is valid and valuable, it will grow and bear fruit.
Personally, I don't like that fact that the group has decided that C4E will not try to change the Catholic Church. I'm swallowing this statement because I know that inadvertently and if C4E does succeed over time, the church will change.
As part of the team devising this new entity, it became clear to me that we are living in interesting religious times. The fear of hell that held us in thrall for so many years has largely disappeared. American Catholics - especially the young ones - search for some higher motivation for joining and supporting a religion. The Catholic bishops seem not to have noticed this. To call those bishops calcified is polite. To call them uninspired, stubborn, and addled tools of Rome who are preoccupied with protecting of their own withering turf would be more accurate.
In our lifetime, we will see the end of DADT, we will see workplace protections and gay marriage and eventually all things LGBT will become a non-issue. 24% of America is Catholic, so I suspect C4E will have some significant part in the unfolding of equality in America and I'm glad to be a part of that. Mostly, however, I am glad for a new format in which to proclaim the hierarchically inconvenient realities of Catholicism in actions and comments that have come to the notice of the religious and homophobic right who have begun to attack me. So far, their words have been yawn-inducing and impotent. I'm disappointed that more clever thinkers have not attacked me and I suspect that this is due to the marginalization of religion by so many writers who see it only as a reliquary for a dead god, but that is an issue for another day.
I hope you'll have a moment to visit the C4E website where you will be linked to some startling surveys and to coverage of the launch.