A Shift In The Catholic Church's Approach To The LGBT+ Community May Be On The Horizon

The Executive Director of Dignity USA said: "if grappling with clergy sex abuse leads to more transparency, that could translate into new approaches to teachings and practices that impact LGBTQI people."

Views From Vatican Summit On Clergy Sex Abuse Could Signify A Shift In The Catholic Church's Approach To The LGBT+ Community
Image: Dignity USA

The Catholic Church’s summit on sex abuse had a disappointing conclusion for many as no action was outlined as a next step in attempting to hold itself accountable to survivors or protect minors from future abuse.

A positive taken from the summit, however, was a number of statements which may be a sign of a new approach from the church in their treatment of the LGBT+ community.

The summit provided a global platform for survivors of abuse. One such speaker, Juan Carlos Cruz, has often spoken about how he had been dismissed when reporting the abuse he suffered because he is gay.

Other LGBT+ survivors spoke of how their abusers sensed their sexual orientation or gender identities and manipulated this “vulnerability” as part of the grooming process.

In the lead up to the summit, a number of outlets tried to promote an ideology that “homosexual networks in the Catholic Church has brought about the suffering of victims and a crisis for the Church.” LifeSiteNews went so far as to set up a petition to “Stop homosexual networks in the Catholic Church”.

On Monday one of the main organisers of the summit, Cardinal Cupich, addressed the media saying that the Vatican sex abuse summit needs to be mainly focused on the protection of minors, underscoring that homosexuality is not a cause of sexual abuse.

Responding to a question from a journalist about the fact that there are more males than females among the reported victims, Cupich said it is important to recognise the fact that a high percentage of sex abuse involves “male on male sex abuse” but that “homosexuality itself is not a cause, it is a matter of opportunity and also a matter of poor training on the part of people.”


cardinal cupich speaking at a conference
Cardinal Blase Cupich


Although the summit failed to adopt an international zero tolerance policy, universal accountability protocols, the executive director of Dignity USA, Marianne Duddy-Burke, said that “the Vatican’s long overdue acknowledgement of the culture of clericalism and secrecy as root causes of this crisis has far-reaching implications.

“If grappling with clergy sex abuse and cover-up leads to more openness, honesty, transparency, and accountability within the institutional church, that could translate into new approaches to teachings and practices that impact LGBTQI people.”

Duddy-Burke said that although a global shift like this could take years, we could see a societal benefit much more quickly:

“Over time, this could impact social structures, laws, and cultural norms in many places around the world. This might seem an unexpected outcome of the recent summit, but it is potentially a promising one for our community.”

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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