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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Dear Pope Francis

Dear+Pope+Francis

In response to the Vatican’s declaration on same sex unions

Dear Pope Francis,

I had such high hopes for you and, like so many other Catholics, you let me down, you let my community down and you let history down.

Any and all hopes and dreams I had dared to let myself have for the Catholic Church under your time as Pope are now flatlining and resuscitation seems incredibly bleak. However, I should be used to nothing but disappointment from the Catholic Church when it comes to the lack of the simple, but clearly not easy, act of fully accepting someone’s identity.

Upon hearing the news of the Vatican’s declaration against the blessing of same-sex unions, which you approved, I couldn’t help but immediately see the hypocrisy of this statement:

“But he does not and cannot bless sin: he blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him.”

I’m not here to try and teach you, Pope Francis, about what any part of the Bible means. I’m merely here to say that you have no business renewing a hateful, barbaric and idiotic way of viewing people.

There are no exceptions here, and your hollow acceptance is neither desired nor required. This is conditional acceptance, and there shouldn’t be conditions to be met for basic human decency. There’s nothing “to be changed by him.” I’m not disappointed that the Church doesn’t view me as an equal. I’m disappointed that heteronormative and cisgender people have a prolonged, false sense of superiority that I so desperately hoped future LGBTQIA+ generations would only have to read history books to understand, not experience firsthand.

I couldn’t care at all what the Bible says of me or my identity. But if you, Pope Francis, are going to try and demonize my existence, don’t you dare do so by hiding behind your deity.

Words have power, and you have abused that power. When something is labeled as wrong, different or a sin, it’s being given very dangerous connotations. Ideologies like this can create, and have created, religiously motivated extremism like conversion therapy, which I would liken to modern-day torture. 

You have just solidified the placement of unnecessary burdens and obstacles in the lives of countless members of the LGBT community, as a life of inadequacy due to archaic teachings with even more archaic interpretations may be thrust upon them.

Within my own family, I grew up with some very devout Catholic family members. I don’t know if they would be proud of me for coming into my own identity because of what they are told to believe. I don’t know if my grandmother, who recited the rosary prayer nearly every day until she passed away, were to meet me today would hug and squeeze me like she always did, or shun me.

Before I even knew what queerness was, I grew up feeling a kind of pressure to be someone who could be accepted and loved by my family. This pressure would eventually metastasize into feelings of depression, shame and self-hatred. I personally feel this happened, in part, because a religious outlook on queerness was driving the status quo for so long that it became present in my family dynamic, just like so many other families.

I love my parents and sister and they love and accept me, but this came after leaping over many hurdles. These hurdles forced us, myself included, to untangle our lives from Catholic teachings in order to truly see what our coexistence meant. I was being denied access to myself, and my family was being denied access to their son, brother and grandson. All of this was subconsciously and supposedly in the name of God.

I couldn’t care at all what the Bible says of me or my identity. But if you, Pope Francis, are going to try and demonize my existence, don’t you dare do so by hiding behind your deity.

Sincerely,

Another disappointed queer person

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