Indianapolis, IN. October 2, 2016. In remarks at a gathering of Catholics in Georgia, Pope Francis termed what he calls “gender theory” “the great enemy of marriage.” He also said “the whole world is at war trying to destroy marriage,” not with arms, “but with ideas.” He repeated his claim that the Church has “to defend ourselves from ideological colonization.”
Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQ Catholics in the Church and society, flatly rejected this characterization. “Pope Francis sets up a false dichotomy in pitting people’s basic human right to be who they are against marriage,” she said. “We know marriage to be a sacred and beautiful thing. We believe marriage, and all of society, will be strengthened when people are no longer pressured to bring false selves into a marriage, and can make this profound commitment honestly. Too many lives have been ruined by gay people trying to live in heterosexual marriages, or by people being forced to live in a gender that is not authentic for them.”
Duddy-Burke continued, “It is troubling that the Vatican continues to support the false claim, originated by a few ultra-conservative religious leaders, that development aid is being conditioned on support for same-sex marriage. This is a patently untrue statement, and only serves to turn people against one another. The leaders of our Church must not fall into the trap of becoming pawns in a right-wing agenda of division.
“I have spoken with people from all over the world who have succumbed to religious and cultural pressures to get married and have children, even as they know they are transgender or gay or lesbian. They know they are being dishonest to their spouses, and that the ongoing deception is corrosive to a healthy family life. How can this dynamic be good for marriage? Our Church leaders need to abandon the biological determinism that they have adopted, and accept that God’s imagination and love are greater than ours. We need our Shepherds to provide appropriate support, care, and guidance, rather than condemnation. We agree with Pope Francis that marriage is a ‘beautiful thing.’ LGBTQ people and allies join Church leaders in affirming marriage.”
DignityUSA is the nation’s foremost organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, their families, friends, and allies. The organization works for full equality and inclusion of LGBTQ people in the Church and society.