Catholic? Supporter of marriage equality? The Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC -- humorously, the same acronym used for the Metropolitan Community Church) and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have some bad news for you. You are not "in good standing with the Church."
In response to the formation of Catholics for Marriage Equality (CME), a group of Catholics opposed to the marriage equality ban set for the ballot in 2012, the MCC and the Archdiocese have issued a joint statement for-shaming these Catholics for not hating gays as much as the Church. From the statement:
A group calling itself “Catholics for Marriage Equality MN” seeks to confuse Catholics and the public about authentic Church teaching related to matters of marriage and sexuality. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Minnesota Catholic Conference wish to make it known that this group does not speak for the Catholic Church, is not an agent or entity of the Archdiocese, MCC, or the universal Church, and has no authority to determine what does and does not constitute Christian doctrine and morality. The Archdiocese asks that Catholics avoid associating themselves with this group, and not be deceived by its messages, which are in conflict with the fundamental teachings of the Church.
“Catholics for Marriage Equality MN” attempts to convince Catholics that they can be in good standing with the Church and oppose Church teaching about human sexuality and marriage, which centers on the complementarity of the sexes and the mutual self-gift of loving spouses in marital union. The group also misleads people by proposing a false ecclesiology that undermines the legitimate authority of the bishops and the Magisterium as the authentic guardian, interpreter, and teacher of the faith handed to the apostles by Jesus Christ.
What did the CME do to get such a swift and strong condemnation from the Church? From the group's website:
As Catholics we value compassion, justice, family, truth-telling and love, and we witness all of these qualities and values in the lives and relationships of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. In other words, we see the face of God in the love of same-sex couples and families.
Horror of horrors! Catholics who value compassion, justice, and love, oh my!
These are the Catholics who are not "in good standing"?
Well, that's not just bad news for pro-equality Catholics -- that's bad news for the Church itself. Maybe the folks at the MCC and the Archdiocese are so holed up in their chambers that they haven't looked at polling recently, but they're kinda calling into question the "good standing" of well over half of Catholics. ThinkProgress lays out the most recent polling data on Catholics and the marriage equality issue:
• March, 2011: 53 percent of white Catholics support marriage equality.
• March, 2011: 74 percent of Catholics favor legally recognizing same-sex relationships.
• July, 2011: 59 percent of Catholics support New York’s marriage equality law.
• August, 2010: 63 percent of Rhode Island Catholics support marriage equality.
Having been educated in a Diocesan college, I think these numbers are pretty consistent with my experience. Most Catholics are nowhere even close to agreeing with the bigotry spewing from on high.
I don't know about the Catholics of Minnesota, but I think it's pretty safe to say they're not too far from these polling numbers.
What do you do when solid majorities of your members oppose your official stance on an issue? Dig in your heels and declare that they're not members "in good standing," I guess. That seems like a sound strategy.
Michael Bayly of CME has responded:
In Catholicism, the hierarchy, theologians, and the wisdom of the laity are equally recognized as authentic sources of truth. A teaching cannot be considered authentic unless genuine dialogue among all three has taken place. When one considers what Catholic theologians and the Catholic people are thinking and saying about the issue of homosexuality and same-sex relationships, then, at the very least, we have to acknowledge the possibility that the Vatican’s teaching on this issue may not actually be the authentic Catholic teaching.
The Chuch, in the meantime, continues to refuse to progress along with the rest of society. Instead of opposing divisive, discriminatory constitutional amendments cementing second-class status for thousands of gay and lesbian Minnesotans, the MCC has taken this approach to gay and lesbian Catholics:
Homosexual persons are to be fully respected in their human dignity and encouraged to follow God’s plan with particular attention in the exercise of chastity. [C]alling for respect does not justify the legitimization of behavior that is not consistent with moral law.
Yes -- in other words, the MCC fully respects your human dignity, but if you could just not meet the love of your life and instead live alone for the rest of your miserable existence, that would be great. kthnx.
There's a hearty dose of Christian love for ya!