In just four days, nearly 1,000 people have signed in support of a lesbian catechist fired by a Spanish bishop, also demanding at the same time an “inclusive, welcoming, unprejudiced, open and respectful Church”.
– 970 inside and outside Church point out contradiction between Pope’s openness, Catholic practice on the ground
“The same week that Pope Francis endorsed civil unions for homosexuals and called for more space for women in the Church, Menorca appeared in the national press with the news that the diocese had vetoed Carme Mascaró Servera as a catechist for having married another woman”, some 970 people from inside and outside the Catholic Church complained in an open letter posted online November 2.
The group – which includes catechists, Caritas volunteers and at least one female religious – was reacting to the news October 26 that the Bishop of Menorca, Francisco Conesa, had dismissed Mascaró from her work teaching the faith at the Sant Miquel Catechetical Centre because she had entered into a lesbian civil marriage.
– “Contrary to the Gospel and all that Jesus preached”
The letter signers expressed their “deep sadness and indignation” at Mascaró’s ouster – a move they described as “contrary to the Gospel and all that Jesus preached”.
“With what justification does the Diocese of Menorca, without prior consultation with the parish communities, decide to dispense with a catechist who did nothing more than publicly express a relationship of love?”, the petitioners decried.
“How have Carme’s faith and commitment changed before and after the wedding?”, they pressed.
Those signing on in support of the fired catechist publicly wondered what the criteria for carrying out leadership in the Church could be if not “coherence” of life.
“If we were demanding, no catechist, layman, nun, or chaplain would ever be found coherent enough”, the letter signers said, wondering why Mascaró had then been singled out for lacking a “plus of credibility” in the faith, as the diocese put it confirming her dismissal.
Deploring the fact that Church leaders have judged Mascaró for the simple fact that “she married for love in the only way she was allowed to”, the petitioners lamented that “in communities like Menorca where we all know each other, putting a label on a person can be a lifelong stigma”.
“No matter how you look at it, this dismissal does not sound like the Gospel, but quite the opposite: exclusion, intolerance and discrimination”, the nearly 1,000 backers of the fired Church worker decried.
– “We want a Church more focused on evangelical love and less on canon law”
Besides expressing their support for Mascaró, the letter signers said they hoped their missive “might serve to change the way the Church views LGTBI people”.
“We would like an inclusive, welcoming, unprejudiced and open Church, respectful of differences, which follows the line set by Pope Francis on this issue”, they cried.
The petitioners also demanded a change in Church decision-making processes, such that a situation in which a popular catechist could be fired “without speaking to those involved” and “without a process of discernment” never repeats itself again.
That kind of summary judgment on people “is just the opposite of what Jesus would do”, the authors of the letter lamented.
The petitioners concluded their letter once again ruing the situation of “misunderstanding and suffering” that Mascaró’s dismissal has led to.
“In a time of dizzying social change like today, we want a Church more focused on evangelical love and less on canon law.
“We are not little children, whom only men (and beware, no women!) can guide. If we do not listen to the signs of the times, the Church will be more and more empty”, the protesters warned.