It’s a familiar one-two punch that LGBT people have heard time and time again. “I love you,” is followed by a litany of incorrect beliefs that we are broken, intrinsically disordered, unqualified parents, or otherwise less-than fully human. By the time the sentence is finished, the “love” that was expressed at the beginning is rendered powerless against the condemnation that follows.
This week, that lack of tangible love is being felt by Nicholas Coppola, a gay Catholic living in Long Island, New York who was incredibly active in his parish. After marrying his husband legally, he was informed that he could no longer serve as a lector, visitation minister, food pantry volunteer, capital campaign board member or catechist. He is allowed to enter the church, but his involvement, which was significant, has been curtailed. This is all because someone sent an anonymous letter to the bishop, who then directed the parish to remove him.
LGBT people are rightly getting tired of merely hearing of this so-called “love” from the Roman Catholic hierarchy, among other places. Especially when this “love” is followed by rejected calls for conversation, and no attempt at understanding, as it always has been.
So does Cardinal Dolan actually love LGBT people? Or does he “love” LGBT people, as long as he doesn’t actually have to listen to any, or learn about their relationships, or speak with their children?
Cardinal Dolan expresses a desire to not be perceived as anti-gay, but has done little to achieve that goal. George Stephanopoulos even pressed further how the Roman Catholic Church can avoid simply attacking LGBT people, but received no good response. It seems as though Dolan either actually doesn’t know what to do, or he knows what to do, but needs the courage to act upon it.
Taking Cardinal Dolan at his word, I’d suggest a few steps that may move him from his expressed “love,” to an actual love that follows Catholic teaching and actually means something for the lives of LGBT people.
1.Cardinal Dolan needs to stop talking about LGBT people and spend more time listening to them.
Couples who have weathered decreased legal protections to take care of one another, families being torn apart by an immigration policy that doesn’t recognize bi-national couples, youth who have been kicked out of their homes at the behest of anti-LGBT clergy, children who are denied good homes because Catholic adoption agencies won’t place them with gay people.