Dear Francis and New Ways MInistry,
A year ago now I was preparing my entrance into Deism and exit from my religion 50 years after I was ordained in Rome to the priesthood flush with Vat II inspiration. I’ve announced this to my classmates, family and friends and I am doing what I can to promote the development of spiritual, moral, social justice centered communities based on love, responsibility, sharing, equality…. And I’m pushed to this because of the fate of LGBTQI people still persecuted by religions throughout the world.
Yes, a little slow, but also wanting to be respectful of my given heritage, trying to reform it from within, I have found that this reform cannot/should not be done within a patriarchal, self-proclaimed God-endorsed truth monopoly. So as the new pope has arrived and the Catholic church, conservatives as well as progressives are going along with the establishment, one side rejoicing in papal pronouncements–even Synod “relatio’s”– pastorally loving of LGBTQI folks, others trying to hang on to “doctrine”, I’m feeling all the more that this religion thing has to disappear.
Probably the most piercing pain I suffer today is because in over 76 countries we LGBTQI folks are being killed in the name of religion–Christianity and Islam. Families and communities are stoning their own children to rid themselves of the devil. And I don’t see any of the now pastorally inclined church leaders condemning this situation. A Catholic, Eric Lembembe, of Cameroon was brutally murdered last year, a well respected journalist and advocate for LGBTQI folks. And no religious leader including Brother Bergoglio spoke out against this. Only secular groups, local and international demanded that the Cameroonian government do something about this only too common ending for LGBTQI people.
If I had been born a slave (being Irish I can really envision this at the hands of Cromwell) would I be content to allow slavery to go on for centuries while the Pope and church authorities condoned it and centuries more for the God-endorsed doctrinal police to figure out that slavery was wrong? I hope not. And so it isn’t any different with the enslavement/torture/killing of LGBTQI folks far less privileged than I as a 76 year old white guy thankfully on a teacher’s pension and surrounded by loving family in the US. Yeah, friends, I do understand the adherence to religion–in our case Catholicism– but I am also calling on everyone to stop perpetuating such an evil system. It will cost, as it did for Thomas Paine, our status, loss of friends. I just can’t in conscience continue to support religion because of the good it does while at the same time its structures continue to do deadly harm to my people.
I do love you all, Francis, Paul, Jeannine. I’m working all my stuff on a Weebly blog Thanks. Tom