The Archbishop of Philadelphia has given a damning indictment of efforts to reach out to LGBTQ Catholics in a speech at the Synod of Bishops on Young People.
During the Oct. 4 conference, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said that the phrase “‘LGBTQ’ and similar language should not be used in Church documents,” reports the Catholic Herald.
Chaput said that the Church “doesn’t categorize people” by “sexual appetites” and condemned attempts to reach out to LGBTQ people, including LGBTQ Catholic youth.
“What the Church holds to be true about human sexuality is not a stumbling block. It is the only real path to joy and wholeness,” he said. “There is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosexual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites defined who we are — as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ.”
Chaput said it has “never been true in the life of the Church, and is not true now.”
He argued that “‘LGBTQ’ and similar language” should not be used in Church documents because “it suggests that these are real, autonomous groups, and the Church simply doesn’t categorise people that way.”
Chaput said that the Church should not offer young people “flattery,” but rather tell them that they are shaped “by a culture that is both deeply appealing and essentially atheist.”
The Archbishop also seemed to link the sexual abuse scandals plaguing the Church with “confusion” surrounding sexuality and the Church.
“The clergy sexual abuse crisis is precisely a result of the self-indulgence and confusion introduced into the Church in my lifetime, even among those tasked with teaching and leading,” he said. “And minors — our young people — have paid the price for it.”
Chaput has a history of opposing efforts to welcome LGBTQ Catholics. In 2016, he banned sexually active gay people from receiving and dispensing the Holy Communion and from serving on parish councils.
“Two persons in an active, public same-sex relationship, no matter how sincere, offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community,” his directive read, NBC News reports.
He instructed couples to “live as brother and sister” and not have sex in order to receive Communion.
Acceptance in the Church continues to be a sore point for LGBTQ Catholics. Earlier this month, a gay minister was fired after church officials discovered he had liked a Facebook post about same-sex marriage and attended a same-sex wedding.
Pope Francis, who some LGBTQ people thought would bring a more moderate voice to Church teachings, in June condemned same-sex families and said that they do not deserve to be recognized in the Catholic Church.
And in March, the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops supported Republican legislation that would have legalized discrimination nationwide against LGBTQ people.
However, LGBTQ Catholics received a small piece of good news last month, after Chicago’s Archdiocese fired a priest who burned an LGBTQ pride flag on church grounds in protest over LGBTQ-inclusion in the Church.