Love sometimes has a funny way of hurting us. For our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters, the discrimination they face on a daily basis and their loving embrace of a Church that keeps them at arms length and that labels them objectively disordered is a source of profound pain.
How do we respond to their plight? “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is a common answer, yet this fails to arrive at the heart of the matter and actually perpetuates trauma through the dichotomization of our humanity. Thus, the Church presents the LGBT person with a dilemma of biblical proportions. As the theologian James Alison wrote, “It says, love and do not love; be and do not be. The voice of God has been presented as a double bind, which is actually far more dangerous than a simple message of hate, since it destabilizes being into annihilation and thinks that annihilation to be a good thing” (Faith Beyond Resentment, 2001). The effects of this annihilation are felt in all facets of society and render LGBT persons among the most vulnerable worldwide.
In order for us to live up to the call of the Gospel, the retrograde pathologizing language and discriminatory attitudes we levy at our brothers and sisters must be expunged and replaced with language that is congruent with contemporary scientific understandings of human sexuality and gender identity. It is only by adopting a posture of non-judgmental love and radical humility that we as Church, can live up to our vocation as disciples of Christ, who loved and welcomed all, especially those of us who are so easy to detest.
Br. Christian Leo Seno, OFM is a Franciscan friar with Holy Name Province. His ministry has involved working with vulnerable migrants and refugees, including women, children, and LGBTs, at La 72, a non-profit shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico. He founded the Dignity and Development Project, an online fundraiser to support the initiatives and programs of Mexican friars in La 72 /react-text http://www.stfrancisnyc.org/migrantcenter/ react-text: 459. He is completing his Masters degree in Faith and Social Justice in Loyola University Maryland and has written a paper on the subject: https://pax-bonum.com/2016/12/19/objectively-disordered-religious-language-and-lgbt-persons/. He hopes to continue his studies in Human Rights, especially for LGBTs, in the future.
Let Us Pray
Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith,
certain hope and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord,
that I may carry out
Your holy and true command. Amen
Lord, we pray for the power to be gentle;
the strength to be forgiving;
the patience to be understanding;
and the endurance to accept the consequences
of holding to what we believe to be right.
May we put our trust in the power of good
to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome hatred.
We pray for the vision to see
and the faith to believe in a world emancipated from violence,
a new world where fear shall no longer lead human beings to commit injustice,
nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.
Help us to devote our whole life and thought and energy
to the task of making peace,
praying always for the inspiration and the power
to fulfill the destiny for which we and your entire creation were created. Amen
Hail Mary …
Our Father …
Glory be …