June is widely known as Pride Month, an effort to recognize the obstacles that gays, lesbians and many others have had to overcome in America.
For a group calling itself CatholicVote, well, that is precisely the problem. They seem to believe that shame is so much better. This is despite all the painful evidence to the contrary provided by many – but not all – within the church this group claims to follow.
“A controversial conservative Catholic organization is urging parents to ‘hide Pride’ during Pride Month – by checking out any LBGTQ-related books they see in their local libraries so no child sees them,” reported TheHill.com last week, adding that CatholicVote cites “recent polls” that show “American moms and dads don’t want their kids exposed to sexual and ‘trans’ content as part of their upbringing.”
I don’t know whether to scream with rage or yawn at the boredom of it all.
Well, to paraphrase George Carlin, if there are still books left after some people burn the ones that really bother them, you should check out the one Michael O’Loughlin recently wrote.
O’Loughlin, after all, understands how far gay Catholics have come — yes, you read that right, Catholic voters. And how far we all still have to go before anything like real progress is made.
“In many ways,” O’Loughlin recently told Irish Voice, IrishCentral’s sister publication, “knowing all of this history makes it easier to resist the current onslaught of bigotry. Because I have a better sense now of how others endured it, fought it, and overcame it.
O’Loughlin’s book “Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear”, begins with a central conflict not only in his own life, but in that of so many other Irish Catholics , on both sides of the Atlantic.
“I’m gay and I’m Catholic,” writes O’Loughlin. “And I continually struggle to reconcile those two parts of my identity.”
Such a noble yet rare thing to do these days. Working to try to put something together, even as so many others are screaming and ranting and raging. Or just walk away and bitterly give up.
The folks at CatholicVote may not be impressed. But a guy in the Vatican certainly was.
Late last year, O’Loughlin wrote an op-ed in The New York Times, explaining that his in-depth interviews with people trying to reconcile their faith and their sexuality – “the brotherhood, gratitude and moments of revelation that we shared… had a profound effect on my own faith.
In fact, O’Loughlin, whose grandfather came to the United States from Tuam, Co Galway, decided to write a letter to Pope Francis.
“To my surprise, he wrote back to me,” O’Loughlin writes.
Pope Francis responded in particular: “Thank you for bringing lives to light and for bearing witness to the many priests, nuns and laity who have chosen to accompany, support and help their brothers and sisters who are sick with HIV and AIDS. at great risk to their profession and reputation.
O’Loughlin had to admit that the “pope’s words encourage me that dialogue is possible between LGBT Catholics and church leaders, even at the highest levels.”
So, in the same spirit, on June 24 and 25, Outreach 2022 will take place at Fordham University in New York.
While the folks at CatholicVote are content to divide in hopes of conquering well, something people like Father James Martin and Sister Jeannine Gramick will come together to discuss what Catholics and the LGBTQ community have in mind. common. They will work to make the world a better place, not a more hostile one.
This shouldn’t be shocking.
Unfortunately, this is still a big problem.
Either way, everyone involved should be very proud.
(On Twitter: @TomDeignan)
*This column first appeared in the June 15 edition of the weekly Irish Voice, sister publication to IrishCentral.