The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has elected as its president Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville. The Rainbow Sash Movement is encouraged by the election of Archbishop Kurtz because of the role he took on himself during the Boy Scouts of American (BSA) incident.. When some Catholic Bishops and Parishes were considering halting their relationship with BSA across the nation Kurtz was one of the reasonable voices in the hierarchy that emphasized none bigoted response to the situation. ““I do not believe that this change in membership policy necessarily contradicts the teaching of the Church, and at this time, I support our continued relationship with the Boy Scouts of America.
While the Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexual activity is sinful, Kurtz said the church also calls for treating people with dignity regardless of sexual orientation and that the Boy Scout policy calls for chastity among scouts and continues its ban on openly gay leaders. In other words he understood this as a very complex situation not to be responded to in a knee jerk response.
Here is a letter from Kurtz on the matter.
Several principles of Church teaching are important to consider in this discernment. I am grateful to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting and its episcopal liaison, Bishop Robert Guglielmone, for some very helpful reflections about this issue:
The Catholic Church teaches that those who experience same-sex attraction are always to be treated with dignity and respect, and this is especially important in ministry with vulnerable children and youth. Our parishes, schools, and youth groups welcome and serve both adults and youth with same-sex attraction, and those who experience same-sex attraction should never be ostracized and need proper support and care.
The Church also teaches that sexual acts belong within the marital union of one man and one woman, and that everyone – young, old, married, single, heterosexual and homosexual – is called to chastity, through which we grow in our understanding of love. As advised by the 2006 Bishops document, Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care, young people especially need encouragement and guidance to help them lead chaste lives. We are fortunate that the Boy Scouts of America clearly articulates the expectation of chastity among the scouts in their care and supports the Church’s teaching in this area. The resolution passed by the Boy Scouts of America also contains a very important and helpful distinction between orientation and behavior.
We believe that Kurtz has shown that he is not above being reasonable and engage in deal making when comes to questions of Gay Rights and the BSA. It is our hope that he will be willing to listen to the many and varied voices of Catholic LGBT people when it comes to the issue of their human rights. We also believe that he will more adequately reflect Pope Francis change in tone to both gay marriage and gay rights.
Board of Directors
Rainbow Sash Movement.