The groups Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Faith in Public Life have been doing a variety of good works, showing the many and varied ways that faith informs public policy, organizing prayer services and press conferences on issues from health care to immigration reform. Now, they have given a very special opportunity to the Roman Catholic hierarchy. They have issued a statement, signed by a diverse group of religious and political leaders, about the anti-homosexuality law pending in Uganda. The law would, among other things, make homosexual acts punishable by death.
I say this is a gift to the Catholic hierarchy because the bishops have been engaged in some very high profile campaigns against gay marriage. Some of the more pastorally sensitive, and theologically sound, bishops have been at pains to state that their opposition to gay marriage is not rooted in anti-gay bigotry. Cardinal Sean O’Malley never discussed his opposition to gay marriage without taking the chance to affirm the Church’s teaching on the dignity of all people, including gays and lesbians. Recently, Archbishop Donald Wuerl issued a letter to gay and lesbians Catholics, writing that gay and lesbian Catholics expressing his hope that the Church’s opposition to a proposed gay marriage law in the District of Columbia would not alienate gays and lesbians from the Church.
Here is a chance for the bishops to show that their opposition to gay marriage has nothing to do with anti-gay bigotry. They should sign the statement written by the good people at CACG and Faith in Public Life. There are many theologians and other Catholic leaders who have already signed it, but there is, as yet, no bishops who have endorsed its call to oppose the outrageous Ugandan law. A blessing on the first bishop to step up to the plate.