Today, we have three more stories of anti-LGBT bigotry from the leadership of the Catholic Church.
Minnesota: First, the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News reports that Minnesota’s Catholic bishops are mailing a letter this week to every Catholic household in the state — just like they did almost exactly one year ago with their infamous anti-same-sex marriage DVDs — urging them to donate money to the group Minnesota for Marriage, the main group pushing for the passage of a constitutional marriage discrimination amendment that’s on the ballot in that state in November. The mailing will cost approximately $100,000 and will be paid for by the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops. Additionally, the letter will ask for a yes vote on the marriage discrimination amendment.
This degree of intrusion by the Catholic hierarchy into a political campaign — encouraging lay Catholics to vote a certain way and soliciting donations for an outside political group – is uncharted territory, a prominent scholar told the Star-Tribune:
In trying to reach every Catholic household in Minnesota, the mailing is “unusual” compared to Catholics’ roles in marriage amendment campaigns in other states, said John Green, a political science professor at the University of Akron (Ohio), who studies politics and religion.
“I can’t think of anything as direct and as explicit,” Green said. “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it legally, but certainly I’m sure it’s very controversial. Catholic leaders have been involved in fundraising. I know of examples where they have reached out to parishioners, but I’ve never heard of anything quite this comprehensive.”
Illinois: Alvin McEwen at Pam’s House Blend reported earlier today on a video message recorded by Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki (left). In the video, which was originally posted by Right Wing Watch, the prelate implies that, because the Democratic Party is pro-choice and pro-marriage equality, voting for Democratic candidates places one’s eternal soul in grave danger. Here’s a partial transcript of Paprocki’s message, which Alvin posted over at the Blend (emphasis mine):
. . . Certainly there are “pro-choice” Republicans who support abortion rights and “Log Cabin Republicans” who promote same-sex marriage, and they are equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts. But these positions do not have the official support of their party. Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.
Watch Bishop Paprocki’s video message below.
Indiana: a priest-rapper from the Diocese of Evansville who goes by the nickname Fr. Pontifex (AKA Fr. Claude Burns) recently released a bizarre spoken-word video, complete with music that sounds like a rejected film score from an epic movie soundtrack, in which he calls homosexuality a “lifestyle” and a “choice,” and advised people self-loathing LGBT people that the Church “understands [their] struggle” but demands that they “keep [their] sexual selves in check.” He closes by inviting LGBT people to join the Catholic Church despite its overtly anti-gay teachings, saying: “although the Church says ‘no’ to gay marriage [sic], it still says ‘yes’ to you.”
Translation: Of course we’ll accept and welcome you! All you have to do is be the person we tell you to be, not the person you really are.
On YouTube, the video’s producers include a link to the website for the Catholic “ministry” Courage, which treats
homosexuality “same-sex attraction” as an affliction that can be held in check with a 12-step program, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. Participants in the Courage program are encouraged to suppress their intrinsic sexual orientation and live totally celibate lives.
Watch Fr. Burns’ video below.
And so it goes. I’m sure there’ll be more tomorrow.