Dear Archbishop Nienstedt,
I am a cradle Catholic. I am the mother of a gay son. I am a ‘safe house’ for lgbt kids who have been discarded by parents who “won’t have” gay kids. We have our 8th house guest this year with us. He is an 18 year old child who woke to his grandmother pouring oil on him to anoint the gay away. Because I reach out to discarded children, to marginalized adults you might call me an activist.
I write to you today for several reasons.
In your effort to inject Catholic teaching into the political arena you may be unintentionally fueling the fire that causes gay kids to be rejected by families and bullied at school.
I have not seen your video. I would hope it begins with We are all God’s children, and deserve the respect given to the body of Christ on earth. My gay son struggled with his orientation for years before talking to us about it. (We knew before he did, and tried to open the dialogue.) He felt that to admit even to himself that he is gay was to accept damnation. He heard messages like this at mass on his college campus. My son is an honorable man, a teacher, a musician. But he won’t go anywhere near a Catholic mass in his area, because of such messages. He is an adult, and his church fathers are bullying him, telling him he has no place at the table? Oh, my goodness.
Imagine then what the teenager feels. Imagine, dear Archbishop how a teen in your diocese feels when he hears the rhetoric your DVD began? These are kids who are just realizing who they are and (by church standards, by “GOD’S?” standards) that love as they feel it is wrong. Then in their minds does it follow…love from parents, love from God are just as unattainable? Is there a parent at the dinner table pontificating about those ‘gays and their agenda’ unknowingly speaking to his gay child? Are we surprised at the rise of gay teen suicide? Really?
You recently refused to give communion to folks identified as Gay Activists. You knew them by their ribbons and buttons. I want to share with you the reason I wear a rainbow pin every day. I believe that the rainbow is a symbol of a promise from God. I believe we are all His children, and have an inheritance in that promise. I believe that wearing it reminds those who would deny my child a place at His table that they don’t own the guest list. I believe that wearing it gives hope to a gay youngster that there are adults who can love him. I believe that wearing it gives parents an open door to talk to me about their gay children. I believe that it starts the conversation with those who are ignorant of the struggles of gay folk. So, archbishop, I would be in your communion line with a rainbow cross, or pin, or peace sign. I would hope you realize that my wearing the pin is my way of reaching out to the marginalized, and reminding them that they are welcome. And when I serve as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, I wear it to remind me not to judge anyone who comes to me, but instead to share with them the table of the Lord.
I would beg you to temper your words with mercy and justice. I would beg you to speak in peace. I would beg you to remember that We are All God’s Children, and that some of us are too fragile to survive your message.