There was a brief moment in the recent Synod on the Family where we all thought there might be at least a smidgeon of recognition that LGBT people are not unremittingly evil. But that was hastily walked back in the final documents, amidst a conservative uproar.
And now, as if to polish his anti-equality bona fides, the Vatican is sponsoring an ecumenical conference on men and women, where the invitation list is straight out of the US culture wars, with a seasoning of African advocates for criminalizing LGBT people.
And rather than being about men and women, it's all about Teh Gayz. Jeremy Hooper (a married gay man) tells us that the Pope's full-throated speech about straight marriage uber alles thrilled the anti-gay activists. They also loved the speech of the Nigerian Archbishop (Anglican) who advocates for criminalization.
All will tell you that the aim is to "strengthen" marriage and families, yet every speaker pushes an ideal, from softer-toned to Archbishop Okoh, that tells the world my marriage and my family are a threat. There is no room for discussion. There is no consideration that perhaps my own monogamous union of twelve-years-going on-life, with one beloved child for whom and I my husband would instinctively lay down our own lives, is actually part of the strength that they seek. The preconceived thesis is that my marriage, no matter how productively and peacefully lived, is at war with what they are trying to do. And by inviting the types of activists that they have invited, it's clear that the Vatican is eager to disseminate this view into the public policy arenaAs Fr Geoff Farrow warns, this is well-choreographed theatre.
The long term goal is to reverse gains made by LGBT people and subordinate them once again. It is to reestablish the Catholic Church as the final authority in morality, with power to translate those morals into legislation in civil governments.And they slowly, inexorably move to that goal. See, for example, a recent lawsuit with the claim that religious freedom means that Roman Catholics are exempt from even being sued in court. No court has jurisdiction. Because religious freedom means they make their own law.
No, the Catholic church has not changed. Pope Francis is just a kinder, gentler face on the same views and doctrine that consider us "objectively disordered", and oriented toward "intrinsic moral evil". They are playing a very long game. And their goal is to disenfranchise, even criminalize LGBT people, eliminate our legal rights, and destroy our relationships.
Fortunately, the institutional Roman Catholic Church does not speak for the Catholic laity, who remain strongly supportive. Maybe because they know and love their gay children, parents, family, and co-workers well enough to ignore the hot air from the culture warriors.