Leading Not Cowering, U.S. Bishops

I am a beloved member of a global society. I am a proud gay man and an American. I am a disappointed Catholic.

It has been 72 hours since a lone man, with an assault rifle, killed and harmed valued members of the human family. As you know, the single largest massacre in the history of the US. I am grieving for them as well as for humanity. I'd like to believe all of us are saddened, but alas I have read reports where, for some, this is not true? For me, unfathomable.

Ours, of course, is to exercise leadership and some semblance of care for the common good. We dig deep within, and we choose to do all that is noble; and, especially in adversity and amidst atrocity. We cannot be afraid. And, we look to one another with hope.

I, too, look for others to lead. This leadership is a shared responsibility within my local community as well as within our government and church. I've looked to the church; I just don't see it.

Within the Roman Catholic community, the bishops hold the responsibility to govern; it is a required pillar by virtue of their appointment and ordination. In other words, they have sanctioned authority to lead. But, I dare say they are not necessarily influential leaders. So, I ask, "bishops, where are you?"

Your voice cannot be heard. We have a presidential nominee who belittles and bullies scores of people and ethnicities and you have remained silent. Is this the language of love? Why are you cowering?

I will not accept that you are "staying out of politics". Or, that you are honoring the separation of Church and State. A diverse people, each beautiful and all good, continue to be harmed, or lumped together as harmful, and we hear nothing from you. I choose to believe that the One you serve is saddened. I think the people you serve are quietly scandalized.

Oh, you say that you are currently protecting the value of family? Yet, I know of family members who feel judged, by you, for being different both within their own and the larger family! How's that going for you?

In the United States, the bishops comprise and are responsible for the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops; it is their national leadership organization representing the people of God. I have scoured the USCCB website over the past three months, in particular, and I still do not read of any strong acts of leadership. And, as it applies to the tragedy in Orlando, I found a three-sentence statement from the current president.

We need leadership not simply a statement. What are your initiatives to speak to some form of reasonable gun control? What are your goals with the varying opinions and policies that impact immigration? What are your plans to care for and understand persons who are LGBT? What are your action steps to challenge language that is divisive and threatening to human persons, traditions, and cultures? Finally, do you understand that you, as a Conference, are becoming marginalized for your lack of presence and productivity?

As one who is familiar with your system, let me suggest it is neither current nor relevant. Your brand is non-existent, and your messaging poor. Whoever represents your communications, fire them. Whoever counsels you, replace them. Whoever is gate keeping for you, downsize them.

I wonder why the national media rarely seeks your voice, nor reports your plans or initiatives? Hmmmm? I think it is time to get your head out of the sand and, for some of you, out of the closet? Get into the streets and be heard in the public square. This election year, more then ever, your church needs you, and the country watches you--or, at least it did! As the Good Shepherd, who loves all of us unconditionally and mercifully, once said, "Be not Afraid."

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