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LGBTQA “community” and illiberal self-styled liberals

Monday, July 17, 2017 8:23
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Haven’t heard of James Martin’s book, but this review in FT by Paul Mankowski provides some new angles on the topic (at least to me)– and is otherwise a good op to revisit some of the key issues. Two things to share with you, directly:

First, Mankowski notes that the term “community” is not defined in anything close to its biblical meaning (or really, as it’s typically used to describe secular community).

From the outset the encounter is framed in political rather than pastoral terms. The term “community” in the phrase “LGBT community” is borrowed from the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and in its present employment the word corresponds to no discernible social reality. One does not find among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people—taken as a collectivity—distinctive commonalities of religion, nativity, culture, recreation, or fellowship. Their shared interests are political; they are aggregated not as a true community but as something like a caucus. It is noteworthy that Fr. Martin voices his wish that his readers understand the LGBT acronym expansively as LGBTQA—that is, to include “questioning or queer, and allies.” The word “ally,” designating not sexual appetite but political allegiance, gives the game away.

One implication: the Church does not care about that sort of community, but rather, loves the people in that “community” and strives for biblical community. The truth is that the Church, as Church, has no pastoral interest in the LGBT bloc apart from her concern that those who compose it be protected from sin contemplated and rescued from sin committed—precisely the same concern she shows for everybody else. 

Second, Mankowski notes the ironic fundamentalism and illiberalism of Martin’s narrow circle and his correspondingly blinkered thought:

Disconcerting, however, is his failure to acknowledge the existence of those afflicted with same-sex attraction who believe that the Church has it right today and has had it right all along….Such Catholics already live in the heart of the Church, as much as do any of the faithful, and no bridge needs to be built to them. Moreover, they do not need to be “accompanied,” as the jargon has it, because they have already arrived at, or never left, the home they share with their ­would-be accompanists…It is astonishing that Martin seems never to have met such a person.

For a liberal take on the possibilities of what Mankowski describes, check out Wesley Hill’s terrific and courageous book, Washed and Waiting.


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