Just when I think the Roman Church has hit the bottom of the gutter with all of the Papal and Vatican sponsored attacks against the Gay community, we learn that we have yet to see the bottom.
The latest news to disgust me is the refusal of the San Diego Diocese to allow any of its parishes to bury a gay man who happened to have owned two gay bars during his lifetime. He chose to own businesses that catered to the gay community. That was his crime, his sin, that was so grave that it kept him from being buried from a Catholic Church or chapel. Is the Bishop trying to buy political capital with this decision? Is he pandering to the religious right and the Republican party for some reason?
Bishop Robert Brom's edict prohibiting a Catholic Church burial reeks of the continued abuse of the gay community by the Roman Catholic Church, and it is inexcusable. It would seem that Bishop Brom has forgotten the Corporal works of mercy: The traditional enumeration of the corporal works of mercy is as follows:
- To feed the hungry
- To give drink to the thirsty
- To clothe the naked
- To harbour the harbourless
- To visit the sick
- To ransom the captive
- To bury the dead
That last one, "To bury the dead", is important because it is the last act of the Church for the faithful as they enter into the Kingdom of God. But most important, to bury John McCusker is also what Jesus himself would do without hesitation. This is the same Jesus who is supposed to be the head of the Roman Catholic Church, not the Republican party.
To prohibit this funeral because the man owned gay businesses is not only wrong, it is obscene. The reason given is to insure that "the faithful are not confused by the Church giving its approval of the person's life state and his moral sin."
One defender of the Bishop's action stated, "To have a man with such a public record of sin memorialized in the Catholic Church would be incongruous with the teachings of the church, "the editor of the local catholic newspaper said. A public record of sin? What would that sin be? Owning two gay bars where the gay community could socialize together? THAT is the "public record of sin"?
It is my opinion that the Roman Catholic Church has lost any right to claim that it has ANY moral compass whatsoever after looking at the history of the Church. From the crusades to the Inquisition, from the treatment of the Jews throughout its history, up to and including forced baptisms of Jewish children during World War two without any parental approval, to the modern day scandals that the church has brought upon itself.
No, what we have here once again is plain good old-fashioned bigotry, perpetuated by the righteous Pharisees amongst us. How many Roman Catholic Priests who have molested children of both sexes have been buried from the local RC Cathedral? How many murderers, rapists, bank robbers and Mafioso have been buried from Roman Catholic Churches? I'll tell you: many. Not one of them was ever prevented from having a church funeral, not one. I know this because I have concelebrated funeral masses in a Roman Catholic Church for one man who had a lengthy criminal record, and another for a Mafia Captain from one of the East Coast Mafia families. The thought to object to giving either of these men a funeral Mass never entered my mind, and obviously never entered the minds of the local Roman Catholic Churches where the funeral were held.
The Church is in the business of forgiving sins and letting God deal with each of us on an individual level when we go before the throne in that heavenly courtroom. Those presumptions are made for those who have committed grave sins, and doesn't even apply to a man who owns two gay businesses, which is NOT a sin. No matter how hard that Bishop tried to justify his action, it is motivated by hatred of the gay community.
Once again, I fail to understand why any gay person remains a member of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church has root rot at its very core and will collapse in the next hundred years unless drastic changes are made to its moral compass. The Vatican ignored what the Nazi's did during the 1930's and 1940's, and they are supporting and urging the atrocities being committed against the gay community in the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.
Only when the entire gay community withdraws from the Roman Catholic Church and takes with it, its money, will the Church even begin to consider their position on the gay community. But it will take more than that. It will take the families and friends of gay people who are Roman Catholic to leave the Church as well, and with them take their money and support. Maybe than, we will grab the attention of Rome - if it still exists.
Archbishop Bruce J. Simpson, OSJB
Benedictine Order of St. John the Beloved
Mar 20, 2005
Note from Mary: Archbishop Bruce of the Old Catholic Church is a long-time supporter and part of our ChristianGays.com family. He is the author of several articles which appear on this website. Please see his published biography The Gay Face of God.