Catholic bishops partner with foundation to protect LGBTQ youth

Fri. January 29, 2021 10:41 AM by Gerald Farinas

tyler clementi became the target of cyberbullying

A group of Catholic bishops Monday defied their peers by issuing a statement in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth.

“God is on your side,” the religious leaders declared through the Tyler Clementi Foundation—an LGBTQ anti-bullying and suicide awareness non-profit.

“All people of goodwill should help, support, and defend LGBT youth; who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates,” the bishops said in their statement.

The highest ranking in the group is Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the archbishop of Newark—appointed by Pope Francis. He was joined by the archbishop of Santa Fe and bishops of Baltimore; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Detroit; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Lexington, Kentucky; Little Rock, Arkansas; San Diego; and Tucson.

Tyler Clementi Foundation hopes Catholics urge their bishops to sign on. They expect more will indeed join.

“The Catholic Church values the God-given dignity of all human life and we take this opportunity to say to our LGBT friends, especially young people, that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you,” they continued.

Traditional Catholics are dismayed by the declaration, arguing it is not in keeping the teachings of the Church. Catholic catechism states that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered.”

However, Salvatore Cordileone, archbishop of San Francisco who campaigned against marriage equality, was open to the message.

“I am appreciative of this reaffirmation of the Church's care for those who are struggling with sexual identity issues,” he said in a statement. “Especially when they are targets of bullying and suffer rejection even from the very ones who should love and support them.”

Cordileone still believes people should not endorse what he calls the LGBTQ “lifestyle.”

The pope has been seen as struggling to veer the Church toward acceptance of LGBTQ people.

A recent Italian documentary filmed Pope Francis saying, “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it.”

Afterward, several U.S. bishops argued the quote was taken out of context and that Francis was not making an official statement on behalf of the Church.