The Catholic Diocese of Marquette, Michigan has instituted new rules that ban LGBTQ people from taking part in church sacraments like baptism and communion.
According to the National Catholic Reporter, the new policy “asks pastors to deny baptism, Communion, and confirmation to gay, transgender, and nonbinary Catholics unless they have “repented.”
The new rules, released with the title, An Instruction on Some Aspects of the Pastoral Care of Persons with Same‐Sex Attraction and Gender Dysphoria, states that the church must “lead them step‐by‐step closer to Jesus Christ in a manner that is consistent with the Church’s teaching.”
According to NBC News, the diocese holds a variety of hypocritical and truly bewildering beliefs, stating things like trans people are sick and need love and friendship, but also can’t partake in the church. How the diocese thinks that trans people will find love and friendship in a church that says they can’t partake in the church is completely mindboggling and is the kind of thinking that can only come from the compartmentalized and dogmatic minds of religious devotees. It’s like saying that black people need to be turned away from white drinking fountains, but that white people need to tell them to leave in a “friendly and loving” way.
This is in line with much of Christianity and Catholicism in America, which have turned more and more conservative in recent years. Interestingly, the Baltimore Sun points out that the rise in conservatism in the Catholic church has a lot to do with changing times and the church’s history of covering up the thousands of cases of rape and sexual abuse amongst minors. The paper states that more progressive-leaning parishioners have turned away from the church, leaving only the most die-hard devotees left in the pews, meaning that if the church wants to keep making money, it needs to appease its remaining congregation.
Furthering the problem is that the Vatican has released anti-LGBTQ statements in recent years that have only emboldened anti-LGBTQ churches around the world. Earlier this year, the Vatican said it can’t bless same-sex marriages, stating that God “does not and cannot bless sin.” In 2019, the church also released “MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM – Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education,” which stated that trans people are against “God’s will” because he purposefully chose to separate humans into male and female. Both of these instances have led Catholocism further down the road towards bigotry and have opened doors for anti-LGBTQ rhetoric to flourish in the church.
Fortunately, many religious activists are speaking up. Prominent Jesuit priest, author, and LGBTQ activist, James Martin, posted to his Twitter stating “It’s not a sin to be transgender” and “It’s not a sin to be LGBTQ.”
1. It's not a sin to be transgender.
2. It's not a sin to be LGBTQ.
3. As Pope Francis has said, the Eucharist is not a "prize for the perfect."
4. Catholic leaders must be aware of the real-life effects of such stigmatizing language on LGBTQ people.https://t.co/oQJnQHXIij
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) December 10, 2021
Locals are standing up to the discriminatory rules as well, with Andrew Plocher, Senior Pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette, saying, “As an inclusive church, we believe that it’s not a sin to be transgender, to be in a same-sex relationship, to be gay, etc. wherever you are in your identity. As the psalmists said in Psalm 139, “We’re all fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Groups from around the nation are also speaking out, like Dignity Boston, who stated, “This document is trying to use our church’s sacraments to coerce compliance with church teachings that the vast majority of US Catholics do not accept.”