A group of US Catholic bishops have sent powerful message of solidarity to LGBT+ kids everywhere, telling them: “God loves you and God is on your side.”
A statement signed by the Catholic bishops was released by the Tyler Clementi Foundation, a charity committed to protecting LGBT+ youth from bullying.
In the statement, they said: “As we see in the Gospels, Jesus Christ taught love, mercy and welcome for all people, especially for those who felt persecuted or marginalized in any way; and the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that LGBT+ people are to be treated with ‘respect, compassion and sensitivity’.”
The statement acknowledged that LGBT+ youth “attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts”, “are often homeless because of families who reject them”, “are rejected, bullied and harassed”, and “are the target of violent acts at alarming rates”.
The Catholic faith leaders continued: “The Catholic Church values the God-given dignity of all human life and we take this opportunity to say to our LGBT friends, especially young people, that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you.
“Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you and God is on your side.”
The group of bishops who signed their names to the statement most notably included cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, and archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe.
Although it is a step in the right direction, the Catechism of the Catholic church still states that same-sex relationships are “acts of great depravity”, and adds: “Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
Jane Clementi, co-founder, and CEO of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, said: “This is a great beginning.
“I am very grateful to the Catholic bishops who have signed the declaration and are courageously adding their voices to an effort to show God’s love by opposing any violence, harassment or bullying behavior against the most vulnerable among us.
“With this groundbreaking statement, these bishops are saying that all God’s children, including our LGBT+ siblings, deserve kindness, respect, and compassion.”