By Bob Kolatorowicz
Sunday, June 23, 2019
In today’s Gospel, when the disciples see the hungry crowd of five thousand and realize that they have only five loaves and two fish, they counsel Jesus to dismiss the crowd and let them find food elsewhere. Dismissing people is not on Jesus’ agenda.
A couple of decades ago the U.S. Bishops wrote a pastoral letter for parents of gay children. It was entitled Always Our Children.
In the flurry of U.S. political conversations and polarization … there seems to be a disconnect in how we talk about different categories of people in our country. As a nation we seem to make categories of people as “other” – as the undeserving, the illegal, the wrong color or sexual orientation, the wrong gender.
So many of us are working in areas of justice for which we have passion: ending human trafficking, immigration reform, care of the earth, etc. It is impossible for all of us to be actively involved in every area, but we know in our hearts that all of the work we do for justice is for all of God’s children and God’s creation.
I think the title of the bishops’ letter is a phrase we can use in our thinking and conversations to remind us all that indeed we are all God’s children: black lives matter; immigrants need justice; enslaved peoples need liberation, gay people need civil rights; women need freedom from violence and equal pay; children need food; Earth needs healing; the sick need health care.
No one fleeing violence is illegal; no one in love is disordered; no one hungry is undeserving; no one deserves violence. In the framework of the phrase, “always our children,” we send an inclusive message in fractious times. Perhaps it is a phrase we can (still) use. We are all God’s children and thus we are all brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers to each other.
Sr. Carol Gaeke, OP is a Dominican Sister of Peace and regularly contributes to the Peace & Justice Blog hosted by the Dominican Sisters of Peace. The above article was originally posted on August 11, 2015.
Friday, June 28 marks an important anniversary. Fifty years ago, the New York City police executed a raid on the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village bar known to be patronized by LGBTQ persons. In those years, a police raid on a gay bar was not an uncommon occurrence. But in the early morning hours of June 28, there was a very uncommon response from the patrons of the Stonewall Inn. They resisted.
In the weeks that followed, members of the gay community began to organize, calling for an end to official harassment and social stigmatization. In time, Stonewall came to be recognized as a catalyst for the gay rights movement, a struggle seeking equal justice and acceptance for LGBTQ persons, and a struggle that is not over, even though much has been accomplished.
Reflecting on the historic significance of Stonewall in the June 2019 issue of U.S. Catholic, Jesuit priest and professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University, Fr. Bryan Massingale writes:
“Perhaps Stonewall’s lasting legacy is the conviction that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual expression, are equally human and possess fundamental human rights. This is a value shared by Catholic social teaching as its own bedrock conviction. This is why many Catholics publicly participate in Pride events and maintain membership in the church as their faith community wrestles with the implications of that fundamental belief for its relationship with LGBTQ persons.”
Now, in the middle of Pride month, it seems appropriate to take a moment to thank our LGBTQ members and friends for staying with our church as it struggles with the implications of what it means to be Gay and Catholic. Beyond all the contributions you make to the life and mission of Old St. Pat’s, your very presence makes us a better church!
– Bob Kolatorowicz, Old St. Patrick’s Church Staff