Pope Francis

On Sunday Pope Francis issued what appears to be a comprehensive apology to the LGBT community. Jack Jenkins at Think Progress has a very good read about skeptical LGBT catholics. As a non-Catholic I would argue that optimism or skepticism resulting from the pope’s comments is misplaced if not irrelevant. The Church should be judged by its actions.

A good start would be for the bishops to stop trying to influence public policy. When did it become their job to impose the teachings of the Catholic Church on everyone else by force of law? The US Conference of Catholic Bishops seems to be more of a pressure group than a religious organization.

Secondly, by papal edict, nobody should be fired from employment by a Catholic organization because they are discovered to be gay. What seems to happen in many, if not most, of these cases is that someone is doing a good job as, say, a teacher. Colleagues and superiors often know that the individual is gay. When he or she gets married, some bishop sees something in the newspaper and orders that the person be terminated. That has to end if the pope’s apology is to have any real meaning. Nobody should be anxious about the job security because they are gay and, frankly, the Church needs all the good help it can get.

As a non-Catholic I am somewhat indifferent to the fact that the Church calls me “disordered.” However, as a gay man I find it offensive. It is also at odds with medical and social science. I don’t understand how the pope presumes to treat people fairly when they are considered “disordered.”

Ultimately the Church’s apology is meaningless unless accompanied by real action. The pope has the power to effect real change if he wants to. Inaction sends a very different message.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.