Now is the time for Dialogue

There is a time for dialogue, and the bishops are being stubborn in refusing

The Rainbow Sash Movement (LGBT Roman Catholics)  is calling on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops as they meet in Baltimore for their annual fall meeting to take deep breath. We believe it is time for them reevaluate their messaging and tone by which that message is transmitted. Clearly the Bishops took a beating at the polls as Catholics became one of the key constituencies to vote for President Obama. Not only was President Obama reelected, the bishops also took a black eye when it came to losing on state referendums on gay marriage.

The day after, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said: “November 6, was a disappointing day for marriage … I especially call on all people to pray and to build a renewed culture of marriage and the family. This is a fundamental task on which the future good and stability of our society, and particularly that of our children, rest.” One would hope this call for prayer was intended for all families. The bishops for their part have to move beyond the idea that ‘family’ is one-size-fits-all.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Bishops have a constitutional right to engage in the political process as long as it does not happen on Church property, and that the guidelines of their non for profit status are adhered to. They could run for public office if they wanted to although that is prohibited by Cannon Law.

The Bishops have neither been prudent or effective in their efforts to dictate to the Catholic voter who they should vote for. Their strategy is clearly not working.

The Rainbow Sash Movement believes the bishops have to begin to listen, even if they disagree with what they are hearing, otherwise their moral authority will continue slip away from them. Should they continue with their bigoted mentality against LGBT people more and more people will be alienated from the Church.

They will have learned nothing if they play the blame game. Blaming prochoice politicians and threatening to deny them communion will only further deepen the hostile environment in the Church. Or attacking nuns, priests and theologians who urged voters to consider a wide range of justice issues will also not produce reconciliation and healing.

It is time for the Bishops to engage in some serious listening.

We are calling on them to enter into dialogue with us.

Ann Miller
Rainbow Sash Movement
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