Prelates and Priests Split

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  •  June 22, 2020   

Division over SCOTUS' pro-LGBT decision

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Transgender lesbian: "This is huge. This is momentous. For the LGBTQ community, this decision by the Supreme Court is really ... It's at least as big as same-sex marriage."

Prelates and priests are offering conflicting responses to the Supreme Court's recent ruling that makes it illegal to be disciplined, fired or turned down for a job based on sexual orientation.

Los Angeles archbishop José Gomez, head of the U.S. bishops' conference, said in a statement, "I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of 'sex' in our nation's civil rights law. This is an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life."

But critics are puzzled by the statement, since Gomez supports the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in his archdiocese, an annual conference for more than 500 religious educators nationwide that hosts pro-LGBT clergy like Jesuit fathers Greg Boyle and James Martin.

Father James Martin: "And here's an important question: What's it like being a transgender person? We know so little about the transgender experience, so we need to listen as a Church."

Martin posted on Facebook support for the Justices' decision, saying, "Catholics can rejoice over today's Supreme Court ruling barring discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace."

A priest in San Francisco joined Martin in praising the ruling.

San Francisco priest: "The civil rights act protecting all peoples or places for all the reasons, but one that was named is because of sexual orientation. For gratitude the civil rights case in the Supreme Court."

Where Gomez sees bad news, priests like Martin see good news, like well-known transsexual Caitlyn Jenner: "A victory for the LGBTQ community in the Supreme Court today. This is great news."

But beyond the dichotomy of bad news versus good news, some faithful prelates like Bp. Joseph Strickland of Tyler see sin and the need for repentance.

Strickland took to Twitter after the ruling, saying, "Lord forgive our arrogance! The highest court of our land may be called Supreme, but woe onto us if we ignore God's supreme truth."

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