LGTBI+ Christians demand from the Vatican "a public request for forgiveness" for "years of rejection and discrimination"

LGTBI+ believers feel invisible and “bordered on the margins of pastoral care”, they miss specific spaces in parishes and ecclesial communities. This is the lament that a dozen Christian associations of the group have sent to the Vatican. They have wanted to participate in the work of the synod of the Spanish Church and have seen the doors closed.

So closed that only one diocese of the 70 that make up the Spanish Church invited them to participate in the debates, promoted by Pope Francis, to dream of the Church of the future. In another three there were informal contacts, but most did not even answer.

In fact, in the synthesis approved by the Episcopal Conference The LGTBI+ reality in the Church is barely alluded to, including it in the package of taboo topics and pointing out “the need for a more careful reception in the case of people who need more support in their personal circumstances due to their family situation –concern for divorced and remarried people is strongly shown– or their sexual orientation”.

"We feel that, as a Church, far from remaining in identity groups that blur faces, we have to look at, welcome and accompany each person in their specific situation", maintains the thesis of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, far removed from the reality of the LGTBI+ groups.

The LGTBI+ Christian associations, however, have done their own work, in the form of 'Collective contribution of the network of LGTBI+ believing associations in Spain to the synodal process'which they have sent both to the person in charge of the synod in Spain, Luis Manuel Romero, and to the general secretary of the synod of Rome, who have answered them assuring them that they will include their requests within the set of ideas that will begin to be debated, at a continental level, at starting in October, in a global debate that will close an assembly in the Vatican, chaired by Francis, in October 2023.

And what do the LGTBI + groups propose? “We ask the Vatican for a gender reflection group, changes in the current doctrine, an approach to the reality LGTBI + believer and access to all the sacraments, such as order and marriage, under the same conditions as the rest of the members of the Vatican. the Church", point out its leaders, who regret that the attempts at dialogue, "with some exceptions", have been "excessively discreet and with little incidence in the local Spanish church".

“We miss a prophetic complaint by the hierarchy, when there is a violation of human rights due to LGTBIphobia and a request for forgiveness for the pain caused to LGTBI+ people”, add the signatories, who assure that the Catholic Church “is finds itself in a 'listening debt' towards distant groups such as divorced people, LGTBI + or the role of women in the Church”.

In their particular synthesis, the Christian LGTBI+ groups lament how “we often find ourselves with difficulties and even rejection in our own ecclesial community to be able to live and express what we are, feel and desire, which causes great personal, family and community suffering. ”.

However, they resist being kicked out of the Church of Jesus. "Within this reality there are groups of Christian LGTBI+ men and women who are determined to reclaim our belonging to the Church and, therefore, are summoned to the path of synodality."

“We are told that we are in sin and, therefore, no one better than us and we know what it means to persevere in the love of the Father. We are insulted and persecuted and, for this reason, we have learned mercy and forgiveness", they recall, insisting that "the path of synodality is only possible if there is reciprocal listening and sincere dialogue", something that, unfortunately, is still a long way from happen in the Spanish Church, which feeds on clichés about this group to the point of defending the pseudotherapies for cure the homosexuality, or to prevent children from an equal marriage from being baptized, contrary to the provisions of Pope Francis, who ensures that "the sacrament cannot be denied to anyone." They are also vetoed access to communion and sacraments such as priestly ordination.

“People with diverse sexual orientation or gender identity are not the product of a capricious “gender ideology”. Its real existence as an inherent and proper part of human nature is demonstrated from biology, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology and other sciences and does not respond to a mere whim or a self-induced and pernicious immaturity of the personality.

“Our path in the Church is a path accompanied by other marginalized groups, therefore, we cannot forget the role of women in the Church. LGTBI+ people are making their way alongside them”, emphasizes the document, which maintains the existence of “preferences, denied rights and manifest exclusions”.

“The image that is offered is that of a path that was appropriated by those who mark the doctrine and tradition; and bordered on the various parallel paths through which the rest of the people of God runs, with hardly any occasion to feel part of the Church”.

“Sometimes we have the feeling that LGTBI+ people in pastoral action are invisible. It gives the impression that we do not exist neither in the homilies nor in any pastoral manifestation, except in a few cases that are not usually exactly positive”, they denounce, pointing out the “double standard” that the group suffers. "We have experienced pressures of various kinds: pastoral, work, family, to abandon an assignment, a job and even a pastoral mission because of our condition." Something that continues to happen, today, in the XXI century, in the Church pastored by Francis.

“Our reality is expressly left aside and, in fact, we are used to placing ourselves on the frontiers of the Church. The LGTBI+ collective, divorced people or consecrated people who left their ministry to get married, and of course women, separated by the tradition of the sacrament of order, so that their decision-making capacity in the Church is below that of men ”, they insist.

"This experience of rejection has caused in the LGTBI + collective - and in other distant realities - the abandonment of the Church and even the apostasy of many", evidences the text, which regrets the "intransigent approaches" of many Vatican doctrinal documents, especially from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and from the catechism itself, which in practice expel gays from the institution.

Along with this, an express request: "LGTBI + people must have access to all the sacraments under the same conditions as the rest of the members of the Church, especially the sacraments of mission or service: order and marriage", something Absolutely banned today. A gay man cannot be a priest, but neither can he marry in the Church or be sent as a missionary or catechist. Today, in the XXI century, in the Church of Bergoglio.

At the same time, they request that the parishes and communities promote "community awareness activities, which allow integration into community life", especially in the case of LGTBI+ children and adolescents, for whom "we request a guarantee of protection and accompaniment, so that they can grow in faith, also in a safe environment like the rest of the minors”.

Finally, they demand a change in the educational dimension of the Church, to "incorporate reflection on the LGTBI + reality within training programs, with a perspective of acceptance and unconditional welcome."

"We also propose to Catholic schools the possibility of declaring themselves safe environments, clearly and publicly expressing their rejection of any type of hate crime, including LGBTIphobia." Similarly, they point to the possibility of implementing affective-emotional education programs in seminaries and novitiates. "Having balanced ministers in this field will be essential to make a process of joint path and acceptance."

“We have to facilitate 'visibility', so that they are welcomed with their reality, they can transform their communities from within and facilitate the reception of those who decided or were forced to stay outside”, concludes the text, which calls for a “petition for forgiveness” on the part of the Church that must make a path of “recognition of years of rejection and discrimination, with terrible consequences of pain and inner rupture for LGTBI+ people who were integrated within the bosom of the Church”.

"We must apologize publicly, from the sphere of the Universal Church to the particular one and from each parish, for the damage caused to so many people loved by God in a different way, but rejected by his Church," the text concludes.

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