2021 offered some major challenges to Catholics who are working for LGBTQ equality and justice. More than a few bumps came our way over the past 12 months, but here we are at the close of the year, and we are still ticking, and ready to keep working!
Thanks to Bondings 2.0 readers who responded to our annual poll for the “Worst and Best Catholic LGBTQ News Events,” today we can present a ranking of what are considered the ten worst Catholic LGBTQ news events of the past year. (And before you get too bummed out after reading this list, remember that tomorrow, we will close out 2021 by posting the results of the “Best” poll.)
Here is the list of the top ten vote getters (actually 11 because there was a tie for number 10), along with the percentage of votes they received. Two readers added “Other” comments, which you can read at the end of the list. (If you want to see the list of “nominees,” click here.) Following the list are some editorial comments about the results.
Multiple dioceses in the U.S. release anti-LGBTQ policies, targeting transgender people in particular, and potentially denying Sacraments to some Catholics. 67%
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issues a document banning church blessings of same-gender couples, saying “God cannot bless sin.” 63%
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes government funding for a suicide prevention hotline because it included provisions for LGBTQ support. 54%
Los Angeles’ Archbishop José Gomez implicitly condemns LGBTQ equality, as well as Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements, as harmful “pseudo-religions.” 46%
Ghana’s bishops support legislation to further criminalize homosexuality, they help successfully shutter the country’s only LGBTQ center, and they commit to establishing conversion therapy programs. 45%
The Holy See makes an historic intervention in Italian politics to successfully stop passage of new LGBTQ non-discrimination protections. 32%
Pro-LGBTQ politicians are among the targets of the U.S. bishops conference’s failed campaign to deny the Eucharist to Catholic public figures. 28%
Bishops in the U.S. repeatedly object to pro-LGBTQ initiatives put forward by the Biden administration. 23%
Catholic hospitals continue to deny care to transgender patients as part of transition process, leading to more discrimination lawsuits. 17%
(TIE) U.S. courts again rule against terminated LGBTQ church workers because of the ministerial exception. 16% & New financial guidelines put forth by the U.S. bishops ban investments in transgender healthcare while allowing them to continue investments in fossil fuels and other social ills. 16%
Bishop John Doerfler, Diocese of Marquette, MI denies sacraments to LGBTQ Catholics in his region.
They are ALL bad! Hard to determine the worst/saddest!
I was not surprised by the two top vote-getters: dioceses’ instituting policies against LGBTQ people in church life and the Vatican issuing a ban on blessing same-gender couples. If my memory serves me well, Bondings 2.0 posts on these topics attracted the most comments of any others during the year.
The item in the third position, the U.S. bishops opposition to suicide prevention funding because of an LGBTQ connection may not have been one of the biggest stories of the year in terms of being widely discussed, but my guess is that it garnered a lot of votes because of what I think many people saw as the “cruelty” factor involved–that the bishops’ LGBTQ opposition prevented them from doing something so obviously important to saving lives.
What also struck me about these results is that U.S. bishops play a key role in at least six of them (# 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10). Of those six cases, all but #1 are not because of individual bishops’ policies, but the policies of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and its leadership. As a conference, the USCCB seems to not have “gotten the memo” from Pope Francis–and from U.S. Catholics in the pews–that culture war tactics should be a thing of the past. Instead, today’s Gospel requires a focus on poverty, the environment, social justice, and inclusive pastoral care. Is there a silver lining here? I think it is important to remember that while the conference’s policies are harmful, individually, U.S. bishops are remaining relatively quiet about LGBTQ issues, leaving only outliers who seem intent on focusing on them. And, of course, as we shall see in tomorrow’s list of BEST news events, some bishops have really been shining stars this year.