Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gary Meier, Openly Gay St. Louis Priest, Reacts to Pope Francis' Remarks on Homosexuality

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM

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"Will The Pope's Comments About Gay Priest - Inspire Other Gay Priest to Come Out?"

The question of today has been... 'What has been my reaction to the Pope's statement regarding not judging Gay Priest?' The answer... Cautiously optimistic. Optimistic because today's statement comes after years of anti-gay rhetoric from the Catholic Church. In so many ways it is a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone from the church hierarchy has said something that isn't hateful, harmful, and antigay - and it was the Pope!

Maybe now we can begin to have a conversation about the Church's teaching on Homosexuality; a teaching that I believe has caused harm to the LGBT community. In my book, "Hidden Voices, Reflections of a Gay Catholic Priest" I outlined some of the harm our teaching has caused especially to our youth; and especially when 30% of all successful teenage suicides are attributed to sexual identity issues. At the very least, perhaps now others will follow the Pope's lead and be a little less judgmental themselves.

If the only good that comes out of the Pope's statement is for others to stop judging, that would be a great place to start. For years, members of the LGBT community have been told they are disordered; that they have a disease like alcoholism; that they are defective in some way; that they are wrong when they should be right.

My prayer is that we as a church community might see this as an opportunity to stop causing harm and become more welcoming; more inviting; more loving and to begin to appreciate the goodness and dignity of our LGBT members.

In conclusion, I wander if other priest might not see this as an invitation to 'come out' publically. In my experience, it has been an incredibly positive experience. As Saint Catherine once said: "Speak the truth with a thousand voices - it is silence that kills the world." Let us end the silence.

Follow Jessica Lussenhop on Twitter at @Lussenpop. E-mail the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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