Father Tony

Catholics For Equality Makes A Smart Start

Filed By Father Tony | September 16, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality

On Tuesday, September 14th, Catholics For Equality c4e logo.jpgwas 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.

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"Personally, I don't like that fact that the group has decided that C4E will not try to change the Catholic Church."

Great, just let them keep teaching that homosexuality is "intrinsically wrong, sinful and deviant." That traditional Christian belief is still enabling and promoting discrimination, bullying and teen suicide. But, hey - why change anything?

I was a bit confused after reading your post, about exactly what is the mission of Catholics for Equality, if they are not intending to change the Catholic Church. Then I went to catholicsforequality.org which is a great web site. I now see that the organization evidently intends to be a voice which represents a Catholic opinion which is different than the garbage always spouted by the bishops and Vatican. An example of the usefulness of an organization like this is in the recent debate over health care. The Catholic bishops "officially" came out against the bill. However, the Catholic hospital association and the national organization of Catholic nuns backed the bill. Politicians were able to vote for the bill with some "cover" what the Catholic opinion was not monolithic, and that many Catholic voices supported health care.
Likewise, JoeMyGod reported yesterday (or the day before) that 91% of people in Ireland support gay rights, same sex marriages, etc., all differing from the "official" vatican/bishops propaganda. Catholics For Equality can give voice to the many American Catholics who are in fact not only tolerant, but supportive of gays. Bottom line, politicians follow the votes. It helps to have this organization fight for our rights.
Tony, I think that we re at least 30 years away from being able to have organizations change the hierarchy's church. When they do start, project # 1 should be to stop contributing money to any church or organization under a bishop. Support the many non-profits that do the works of mercy. Although the bishops and vatican do not worry about votes, they sure as hell do worry about money.

It a Social Club for Gay Catholics. Nothing new.

Dear AndrewW, it is anything BUT a social club and perhaps that is its strength.

Well, you're not actually trying to change anything, so enjoy the wine, cheese and conversation.

Dear Drake,
Hmm. Thirty years. That may be about right, but I am hoping that if American Catholic women wake up to their power and withhold cash, this will all happen much faster because you are right about the power of money in the fists of the hierarchy.

Best wishes to you father Tony. The site looks good. I bookmarked it.

@ Andrew.... we'll do brunch someday soon. My treat. I'll explain how it all fits together.

You're my favorite Christian Deena.

Aww thanks Andrew. I was just sitting here reading a Nora Roberts novel. The computer made its ding sound so I checked and found your compliment. You can turn on the charm at times can't you?

I know you probably could care less but let me tell you how to distinguish between a religious leader who is "tuned in" and one who simply wears the cloth. Its when you look deeply into the eyes. If what you see is love then return it. If it is anything else return love anyway because that one needs it.

Have a wonderful day. I send you a hug.

I'm afraid I don't typically get close enough to "religious leaders" to peer deeply into their eyes. But, I trust your judgement.

I'm more concerned with the followers. It gets increasingly irritating when Christians keep apologizing for Christians, but don't do anything to create real, sustainable change. Catholics (and other Christians) have to officially renounce the teaching/belief that homosexuals are wrong or they continue to contribute to our hardship and the loss of innocent life. 15-year-old Billy Lucas was probably killed by religion or at least religious beliefs. Forming a club and making rainbow flags won't end that - only courage will.

I'm glad you're a part of this group, Tony. It gives me confidence that it'll make a difference. I know what a force to be reckoned with you are!