Has Francis’ promises of a more progressive church fallen short when the rubber needed to hit the road? In the wake of the Orlando massacre, another group believes so.
Ben Brenkert, writing for the Daily Beast, makes the suggestion that not acknowledging the victims by name and by sexual persuasion, is disingenuous and levies a charge of complicity at the feet of the seat.
“I see almost nothing in which the Church identifies the victims of the Orlando shooting as gay men and women. In this utterly heartbreaking moment, I am hurt and angered by the Church’s lack of care of the whole gay person, including the identification of the gay victims when it matters most: in their martyrdom”. “The free world demands that Pope Francis come out and name the victims of the Orlando massacre and hate crime, and identify them as homosexuals born in the image and likeness of God. Until Francis comes out in support of LGBT people during one of their most vulnerable moments he contributes to that “absurd and terrible violence” that others their community and makes them the target of any extremist with access to hate, and arms”.
While we are all born imago dei, we also possess free will. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a rabbit hole, but it is the best explanation for why those born in the image of God, can do bad. It explains how even the most loving of people, are sinners. We can be saved, though, and with the regularity you hear Amazing Grace at funerals, there is a large buy-in for this belief.
I believe that the charge of complicity is one that is not merited and somewhat dilutes an article that echoes what I, and others have said – Pope Francis is an empty cassock. I do not personally see the overwhelming value in naming the victims by name – I don’t recall Francis using names in other acts of violence. I do, however, accept the value in acknowledging the fact that they are a part of the LGBT community.
The problem is, Mr. Brenkert is going to learn that Pope Francis has made plenty of promises – low hanging fruit promises, but simply has not plucked a single piece. It truly is unfortunate. Pope Francis was seen as the shining light; the progressive reformer – exactly what the church needed at exactly the right time. He was the man who awoke gay Catholic’s when he said, “Who am I to judge?”, a point Brenkert makes. Francis was the reason I returned to church. He is also the reason I have not been in a month.
Francis also said he would have a zero tolerance policy for those involved in the sex abuse scandal. When Cardinal George Pell gave his testimony – testimony that acknowledged his complicity in the scandal , Francis was given the lowest of fruits to grab, but instead, watered the tree. He did nothing. This testimony was on the heels of ‘Spotlight’ winning best picture at the Oscars, offering the pontiff a great opportunity to exact his zero tolerance policy, and to do so, swiftly. Crickets. To this day, crickets.
I cannot in good faith return to pews if there is not a zero tolerance policy. What does Francis point to being our greatest treasures? Our children. I have three sons, 2 of which are preparing to begin CCD. I will not put them in it until I know that our greatest treasures are protected. It, unfortunately, is that simple.
I guess my point for Mr. Brenkert is that no matter how low the fruit seems to be hanging, it seems clear that Francis is not going to pick it. His lack of acknowledgement is not germane to the LGBT community. His inaction is not discriminatory. It is impartial and casts a wide net. He seems comfortable being the guy who takes selfies with the kids – the guy that releases CD’s and is the toast of the town. Unfortunately for him (and us), he is moving further and further away from living as St. Francis of Assisi had, the man from which he chose his likeness.
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