I don’t ever remember crying tears of joy in church except for this past Sunday’s AGLO liturgy and the previous week’s as well. This comes from a guy who doesn’t miss Sunday Mass, one who in fact was a daily mass attendee for many of the last 71 years.
At the end of Mass this Sunday, the 47th Annual Pride Sunday here in Chicago, Fr. Bob announced that Pope Francis today said the Church should ask forgiveness for their marginalizing of gays and of women. There followed a thunderous round of applause and I cried for the second week in a row. As soon as I got home I searched Twitter to confirm Fr. Bob’s announcement. Sure enough, there it was all over Twitter. The Catholic News Service wrote quoting Pope Francis in part:
Catholics and other Christians not only must apologize to the gay community, they must ask forgiveness of God for ways they have discriminated against homosexual persons or fostered hostility toward them, Pope Francis said.
I said this was the second week in a row, I cried tears of Joy. On the evening of the Pause Night Club tragedy I cried my first tears of joy. After Mass, Fr. Dennis, the celebrant, read a letter from Chicago’s Archbishop Blasé Cupich. It read in part:
“…For you here today [I took that to mean us assembled at AGLO] and throughout the whole lesbian and gay community, who are particularly touched by the heinous crimes committed in Orland, motivated by hate, driven perhaps by mental instability and certainly empowered by a culture of violence, know this: the Archdiocese of Chicago stands with you. I stand with you.”
I truly didn’t know that, i.e. that the Archdiocese of Chicago, that Archbishop Blasé stands with us. I cried tears of joy the first time. Two weeks in a row, I’ve heard from people representing the institutional church that has been very good to me and that I have loved in return, that they love me and stand with me. Wow!
Yes, I know, it’s not all about me and it’s not even just about the gay community or the tragedy of the Pulse Night Club. It’s about all of us. We are one people despite all our many differences. When I send love to anyone, I sent it to all, but it sure is nice to be a recipient of that love and hear my name. It’s made me cry, twice now.
If you are wondering where the Church can go with this you might enjoy Bondings 2.0’s response written by Bob Shine of New Ways Ministry. I was especially impressed with Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, thoughts which sounded like they came right out of the catechism I studied when I made my first confession, 1952:
“In order to bring about the full healing of the relationship between the Catholic Church and LGBT people, the Church must not only acknowledge the wrongs of the past, but take concrete actions that demonstrate its commitment to treating LGBT people justly from now on. For example, Catholic institutions must stop firing LGBT people simply because their sexual orientation or marital status becomes known. The Church must stop conducting public campaigns that seek the right to discriminate unjustly against LGBT people in the civil arena on the specious grounds of ‘religious liberty.’ It must cease campaigns against same-sex civil marriage and LGBT civil rights protections around the globe. And it must speak out strongly and clearly against the horrific violence and discrimination that is often directed against LGBT people in countries around the world, including our own, many with substantial or majority Catholic populations.”
Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey