Catholic Bishop Inches In Right Direction
A Catholic bishop from Prince Edward Island has publicly condemned a violent crime that left a gay couple homeless last month. The couple’s home was burned down in late October in what evidence suggests to be a homophobic hate crime.
In a rare denunciation, bishop Richard Grecco had some harsh words for religiously-motivated hate crimes. “Hatred,” he said, “is a sin and any action that comes out of hatred is not only a sin, but in this case a crime and it must be denounced by all churches.” He continued further, “anybody that claims to perpetrate these kinds of hate crimes in the name of religion—what they’re doing is abusing and misusing religion and doing it harm.”
Shockingly well put from a Catholic bishop; although, in the interest of disclosure, I can’t be fully certain that “Catholic” wasn’t a typo. We could, in fact, be speaking of a bishop from a more progressive church who cares for an excessive quantity of feline companions—a cataholic.
Either way, drawing the attention of religious moderates to the atrocities being committed against the GLBT community is exactly what needs to be done, so—if this guy doesn’t, in fact, just have a lot of cats—I’m pleasantly surprised that the Catholic church has actually come out against this crime so publicly.
Well, maybe pleasantly is too strong a qualifier.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The Catholic church is one of the greatest contributers to an atmosphere in which homophobia thrives. Doomsday rhetoric about how we gays are destroying families, society, probably Earth, and then recruiting children to an eternity of hellfire necessarily leads to these kinds of violent reactions in the first place. The bishop’s condemnation, while welcome, is a little like a guillotine pullstring manufacturer strongly condemning the atrocious use of guillotines.
One particularly telling phrase shows that Grecco still doesn’t get it. Speaking to the media, he said that parishioners should still love those with lifestyles they disagree with. The thing is, sexual orientation is a trait, not a choice, and is no more a lifestyle than the left-handed lifestyle or the brunette lifestyle. When the church defines all natural expressions of an innate identity as a sin and then decries that sin as being responsible for all sorts of impossible consequences, they’re in no position to objectively condemn homophobic violence. Not yet, anyway. They need to reform their attitudes first and resolve their ancient doctrine with modern knowledge of reality. Until then, I’m afraid no amount of kitten foster care will change that.
- P.E.I. bishop condemns alleged hate crime [CBC News]