I don’t think it’s coincidental that both our Cathedral priest earlier Sunday morning and then the Dignity priest later Sunday evening spoke about justice, humility, oppression, and the marginalization of others. I know that undoubtedly, our local clergy and Catholic clergy and in other places are starting to listen and wake up to the grave marginalization, oppression, violence, and even death that historically oppressed people are experiencing. This is where Catholic Social Teaching should be applied. Many trads want to deny this part of the Church’s Teaching and call lefties like myself “Cafeteria Catholics” among even worse names.
Last night I attended Dignity San Antonio which I do about two times per month. According to their mission statement, DignityUSA works for respect and justice for people of all sexual orientations, genders, and gender identities—especially gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual and intersex persons—in the Catholic Church and the world through education, advocacy, and support. https://www.dignityusa.org/ It’s not because I am gay but because I have gay family members.
With my uber-conservative Catholic/Christian background, never did I think that I would be involved with a group like DignityUSA and the local Chapter, Dignity San Antonio. I thank the God for helping me politically deconstruct starting the day that Trump mocked the disabled reporter. The day this started, pieces of truth and injustice were revealed and unraveled to me one after-the-other until I realized that LGBTQIA+ and neurodiverse people, including children, youth, and young adults like my own, are being endangered by parts of society and parts the Church.
Rhetoric and hate speech broadcasted in a public manner do indeed play a huge role in the harm of historically oppressed groups. Walking with older LGBTQIA+ people and their families, I hear their stories and see what rhetoric and hate speech have done to their communities over decades.
Everyone has the right to live in safety, the right to be treated as equals, the right to worship God in community if they choose, and the right to access healthcare or anything anyone else would access. As one of my friends in the disability community told me yesterday, until we have a horse in the race (like our own child), it’s hard to understand what the specific needs of each marginalized group experiences.
I truly have missed out on knowing some wonderful people in the LGBTQIA+ community during my years in traddery. Most of the LGBTQ+ Catholics I know are very stable people, are married or in a monogamous long-term relationship, and have their own families. Most LGBTQ+ Catholics work and serve vulnerable populations like the disabled, those who suffer from drug addiction, sex workers, and other outcaste populations that most other Christians would not serve or even go near. They see, as I see now, that each person is equally-sacred and made in God’s image, no exception.
Marginalized Hispanic Catholics at the downtown Cathedral and LGBTQIA+ Catholics through Dignity, thank you for teaching me what it means to be a Christian. You give your life to the betterment and service of others. Marginalized Hispanic Catholics are many times great supporters of migrants and refugees because many of them have lived in these positions. For those who are marginalized themselves especially, I don’t see you judging others but standing by the people Jesus stood by, the ones who society discarded.
From the time Jesus was baptized until He was crucified on the cross, His period of ministry was less than three years long. Jesus did radical things and broke all of the rules of organized religion in order to reach out to those who needed healing and help the most. The Pharisees and other religious people hated Jesus for his ministry which eventually lead to His crucifixion.
I don’t think today as any different. Standing by those who are not the unborn, not white, not straight, not Christian, not neurotypical, and not Republican, are a an invitation for modern-day Pharisees to attack. If we do not subscribe to their GOP Jesus and the rules of their pharisaical religion which totally discard love, justice, mercy, and humility, then they will attempt to use their collective forces to destroy marginalized people outside the womb. “They” means conservative religious people who are bedfellows with the Republican party, not just good conservative people who love God and neighbor. Please note that distinction.
So this is why I wear a pendant necklace everyday of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a defender of the poor and refuge of the oppressed along with a turquoise cross my beloved father-in-law gave me.