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Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Jesuit leaving

Jesuit leaves church after firings

In light of recent firings of gays and lesbians from Catholic institutions, Benjamin Brenkert has left the Catholic church after 10 years of pursuing priesthood in the Jesuit order. "I can't be a Jesuit priest because I can't be a member of the Catholic church right now," Brenkert told NCR. "I can't be an openly gay Jesuit discerning priesthood in the Catholic church if LGBT employees are being fired from Catholic institutions."

Brenkert said the last straw for him was when a food pantry worker was fired from St. Francis Xavier Parish in Kansas City, Mo., after her marriage to a woman was mentioned in a local newspaper article. Upon his decision to leave the church, Brenkert wrote an open letter to Pope Francis, explaining both why he was leaving the Jesuits, and what he wants the pope to do in order to save his vocation to the church .....

You can read the whole letter here - Open Letter to Pope Francis: Help Save My Vocation. It begins like this ...

Dear Pope Francis,

In your time as pope, your commitment to poverty has awakened the world to the evils of globalization, capitalism, and materialism. Many now understand poverty to be a structural sin and a social evil. Through your public statements you have sparked the interest of Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and atheists. The world looks to you as a shepherd, a man filled with the joy of the Gospel.

Yet, while you have focused on physical and material poverty, members of my community -- lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender and queer/questioning men, women and youth -- have been neglected. They remain on the frontiers, the margins, living spiritually poor lives. Some need the voice of cardinals like Walter Kasper to tell them that God loves them. Others know that God loves them, but church leadership rejects them as disordered and disoriented. Your prophetic question "Who am I to judge?" encourages people everywhere to have a nonjudgmental attitude toward members of the LGBTQ community, but being nonjudgmental is not enough, especially when Jesus tells us to be like the Good Samaritan and "go, do likewise." ....

I think what this Jesuit has done is admirable. I have to wonder, though, if Pope Francis will care. He did, after all, agree to the dismissal of another Jesuit, Fr. John Dear, from the Society of Jesus when I assume he could have instead refused (John Dear SJ is leaving the Jesuits and The Jesuits and John Dear). I hope I'm wrong and that the Pope does indeed tell the US Bishops to stop firing gay teachers!


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