Amoris Laetitia has been released. It is the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. It is a large treatise and a discouraging one to a PFLAG Mom. We are composed of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. This group has been expanded to include bi-sexuals and transgendered. Our members come from a broad spectrum of religious beliefs. I am Roman Catholic and as such was particularly interested in the results of the synods on the family. There was very little commentary in the report regarding our gay, lesbian, transgendered and bi-sexual children. There was no evidence that the participants in the synods perused current scientific studies or used modern exegesis in applying numerous scripture quotes to the commentary.
Pages and pages are devoted to promulgating love between husbands and wives. Children are to be nurtured and protected. All this is applied to heterosexual unions which give birth to heterosexual children. Children are gifts from God, unless they are found to be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered. When a child “comes out”, the whole climate changes. Same sex marriage, closed to the transmission of life, is not acceptable. Human identity becomes the choice of the individual. In Chapter Two, diversely, it is stated “…there is no stereo-type of the ideal family.”.
In Chapter Five, paragraph 170, it is stated “Yet only the Father, the Creator, fully knows the child; he alone knows his or her deepest identity and worth. Expectant mothers need to ask God for the wisdom fully to know their children and to accept them as they are.” And further it is stated “The love of parents is the means by which God our Father shows his own love. He awaits the birth of each child, accepts that child unconditionally, and welcomes him or her freely.”
In the same Chapter, paragraph 183, it is stated” “God has given the family the job of ‘domesticating’ the world and helping each person to see fellow human beings as brothers and sisters.”.
In Chapter 6, paragraph, 275 it is stated: “…one of the most important tasks of families is to provide an education in hope.”.
The Catholic Church is sadly lacking, at the parish level, of seeing all members as part of the Body of Christ. We see the results at PFLAG meetings and in the faces of children who fear rejection not only from their Church family but their human families. Some children run away from their home environment and are forced to live on the street. Some children, not able to cope with religious or societal pressures, end their own lives. A mother will come to a meeting with a framed photograph of a loved son or daughter who chose this course. Why, she wants to know, why.
Our GLBTQ children are not just inconveniences. It was also mentioned that the Bishops want “them” to stop putting pressure on their churches to solemnize their weddings. Such compassion, gentlemen. We are way beyond the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” era. Our GLBTQ children deserve more than a few paragraphs in a 264 page report. You, the Church, have left many of them shattered. The Church and Faith are intertwined. When the Church turns away, they believe God has gone with it. Their Father in heaven has not left them, but one certainly can’t tell that from the tone of this treatise. I am saddened and angry that once again our children have been hurt by those who should know better.
Author Patricia Vasilj is the proud mother of James and mother-in-law to David. She lives in Chicago.