Catholic LGBTQ/Ally Organization: Archbishop Gómez’s Attacks on Black Lives Matter, Other Social Justice Movements a Shameful Scapegoating of Others for the Church’s Failures
November 6, 2021. In a November 4, 2021, speech to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life, Archbishop José Gómez, leader of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and current president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, decried some current social justice movements as "aggressive secularization,” “pseudo-religions,” “replacements and rivals to traditional Christian beliefs,” and “atheistic.” Although the speech does not explicitly name Black Lives Matter, it refers to the nationwide, even global protests, that erupted after George Floyd was killed by a white police officer. Gómez also references changes in social understandings of marriage, family, and gender as part of trend toward rejection of church and religion.
“The outrageous claims made by Archbishop Gómez are shameful and must be strongly rejected by Catholics and other people of faith,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA. “The struggles for equality in the US and around the world by Black and Brown people, those of Asian descent, women, and LGBTQ+ people are based, at least for many, in the fundamental Christian belief that every human is created and beloved by God, and therefore has equal dignity. Because of our faith, we fight for justice for anyone oppressed or marginalized. My faith is why I, along with so many other members of our church and religious leaders across the country, marched with Black Lives Matter groups to condemn ongoing racist violence. To disparage these struggles as anti-religious is patently wrong and cruel.”
Duddy-Burke said, “The silence from most Catholic bishops after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others was deafening to those of us desperate for church leadership on how to dismantle structural racism in our country. The persistent failure of most bishops to acknowledge and repent for the ways our church benefited from slavery and ongoing racial inequity is deeply hurtful to many. These are things we must address with humility and honesty.”
Duddy-Burke continued, “For decades now we’ve seen church leaders attempt to scapegoat others for their failures to meet the needs of believers. It is these failures that have led millions of people to disassociate from many churches, including Roman Catholicism. To try to deflect blame onto movements that stand for the very things our churches claim to represent is irresponsible and cruel.”
“DignityUSA, which represents the majority of US Catholics who believe in justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in our church and society, is also deeply committed to these values for our kin of color. We stand with all who suffer the impacts of social inequity, and pledge to continue to hold working for social justice as a sacred duty,” Duddy-Burke concluded.