A number of Catholic bishops in the U.S. have signed a statement titled “God is On Your Side,” which condemns bullying LGBTQI+ people. The statement also highlights that the Catechism of the Catholic Church — the official teaching compendium of the Church — says that LGBTQI+ people should be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity.”
Religion News Service reports:
“All people of goodwill should help, support, and defend LGBT youth; who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates,” the statement reads.
The statement was signed by six bishops currently serving in active ministry: Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey; Archbishop John Wester of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Bishop Robert McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego; Bishop Edward Weisenburger of the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona; Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky; and Bishop Steven Biegler of the Archdiocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, where Matthew Shepard was killed in 1998, in what was arguably the most famous anti-gay hate crime in American history.
The signatories included a cardinal and an archbishop, and Archbishop John Wester told Jesuit-aligned America magazine that his signing on was to let young people know they are children of God.
A former high school teacher, Archbishop Wester said bullying can be especially toxic for young people who are trying to come to terms with their sexual orientation, especially when either they or others misinterpret church teaching on homosexuality to convey the notion that being gay itself is sinful.
He added, “I think it’s tragic that young people in the L.G.B.T. community are bullied and made fun of,” calling it “another form of bigotry and prejudice that we see in our country today.”
Read the entire RNS report here.
Read the entire America report here.