My oftentimes conflicted Catholic soul was yearning for some 'official' acknowledgment of my sexual identity. Although I have made some peace with my self, I felt joy with that non-judgmental tone of the Pope, very different from all the others.
The Grim and Determined Jonas Bagas, however, was less than excited:
Pope Francis' conciliatory tone towards gays is a welcome change, but here's why i'm not jumping for joy: harm was done, is being done vs LGBTs and women by the Catholic leadership. If he truly believes in this non-judgmental stance, then he should correct the harm done by the Church hierarchy against LGBTs: the Vatican & the CBCP should apologize for taking part in the establishment of a climate of stigma, discrimination, & abuse against LGBTs; it should stop supporting so-called gay conversion therapies; it should stop undermining evidence-based and human rights-informed HIV programs; and it should report to police all cases of sexual abuse involving priests and church officials.JonasBagas on Facebook July 29
My first reaction to him and all the nega others was disappointment. How could he not find the statement something to rejoice over? Imagine this millennia-old institution finally prohibiting itself from "judging" after having done that for... forever? Why be so negative about it and not consider this a victory, albeit a small one?
However, reading through other comments and even talking to my priest-friend calmed me down. The Pope really didn't say anything new. The Church has always officially said to not 'condemn' the sinner but the sin. But the tone and manner just made it lighter. The op-ed article in Time magazine gave a very balanced view, to my mind. And yet it ended on a note of cautious optimism.
This exchange going inside my head reminded me of one discussion between Jesse and Celine (Before Midnight). I think it was something about Celine's work, in an environmental NGO. And Jesse was expressing that much progress has been made in this regard. Celine was aghast! She couldn't disagree more vehemently. And she pointed out that such attitudes were responsible for perpetuating the status quo. They had such contrary opinions.
And on hindsight, that is fine. We really live in a world of plurality and diversity. Very, very rarely would there be a singular, common voice or position. And it is this constant tug-of-war that makes the discussion alive, and actually starts to make something happen. Tension builds as, slowly, more voices join in, and it starts bearing towards one direction. A lot of this happens as undercurrent. And sometimes, there would be circumstances and events in the outside world that would just massively influence the way the discussions go. Then suddenly, there is change. Look at gay marriage in the U.S. Who would have thought we would see that in our lifetime?
I love comparing this to the constant movement of tectonic plates. These plates are either moving away or bumping against each other. But because of the massive size, it would seem nothing is happening. But tension continually builds. Until one day, tension is released through an earthquake.
I will disagree with Jonas and all the others. I will be elated by such pronouncements, even if they do not actually mean much. But I also need to embrace his grim determination to never give in, to remain steadfast in the cause until total victory is achieved. His kind will be relentless. And that is needed, as much as optimism is.
The key is to remain engaged. And to infect others to hold opinions, sometimes opposed. To never let the momentum slacken. Then, change could happen.
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