Gay dad Rob Watson is tired of being talked about by religious leaders, so he pops the question to the visiting pope: “If you are going to make pronouncements about us, couldnâ€™t you at least meet us first?”
In March of 2013, I was writing a column about the pope. The last line of my request: â€œSurprise us.Â Inspire us.Â Show us what love really looks like.â€
In many ways, he has done just that. As he arrives in the United States, we are reminded that loving embraces of the pope may only go so far. It is rumored that he has concerns about LGBT people greeting him at the White House. The pope has already tasted a bit of the right wing kool-aide it seems, encouraging the population to keep fighting for “religious freedom,” which has become a euphemism for LGBT oppression. Tacky protocol not withstanding, however, there is a rumor going around that within the huge dogmatic monolith of a bureaucracy that is the Catholic Church, there is a living breathing human with a heart: Pope Francis. It is to him, and that heart, that I make this invitation:
Dear Pope Francis,
Welcome to America. Welcome to the land of moneyed politics where the common man is being drummed out of having a voice. It is where the wealthy are running for office and the current Republican front runner has the advantage of being his own rich person, setting him apart from the others who are merely owned by other rich people.
It is a land that boasts as a major finance stream a â€œhate industryâ€ operating under the guise of â€œChristianityâ€ that raises millions of dollars by making media martyrs out of bigoted people refusing to do their jobs. It is a land that doles out regulations and restrictions over a virus that kills a few people and ignores proliferated weapons that kill hundreds of thousands.
Your brand of humility could be a breath of fresh air. Oh, yeah, and our air is heating up causing weird weather patterns. Weâ€™re not doing anything about that either.
I am a gay dad. I donâ€™t detect that you come across very many people like me in your travels. You certainly did not when you hosted â€œHumanumâ€:Â The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium, at the Vatican with Pope Francis. That forum represented the worst of the worst in the intellectual rationalization of homophobia. Your Humanum videos represented fictions created by the now discredited anti-gay â€œresearcherâ€ Mark Regnerus.
The forum itself included nonsensical speculations that:
- Same sex marriages are a trend that will go away
- Teens lose sight of their gender as they become aware of their sexual orientation
- The universe, the stars, planets and ecosystems were created through a heterosexual act
- The earth is a heterosexual creation â€“Â the ocean is female and the land is male
- There is a â€œcounterâ€ sexual revolution that is about to happen
- That same-sex marriages will somehow impede â€œhuman flourishingâ€
Just as Mark Regnerus included NO families like mine to interview in his thousands of surveys (even though his study was supposedly to comment on LGBT families), no families like mine were at your forum either.
It begs the question, if you are going to make pronouncements about us, couldnâ€™t you at least meet us first?
So, letâ€™s change that and get together â€“Â shall we? You are cordially invited to come to Friday dinner with my family. In a sort of throwback to a previous Catholic mandate, we have fish on Fridays. I guess that is no longer a rule for Catholics, the having fish on Fridays thing, as you once did, but no matter.
It is funny how rules are re-evaluated and then changed, donâ€™t you think? We can just call our Friday dinner a â€œtraditionalâ€ one, protecting the sanctity of dining. Plus, our â€œfishâ€ is actually sushi, so we can even upgrade the old tradition a bit.
While you sit and eat with us, I will proudly introduce you to my children: my sons Jesse and Jason.
The Catholic Church has not been generous about children in LGBT families. In the 1990s there was a Vatican document that stated that fathers like me were doing â€œviolenceâ€ by parenting our kids, by exposing them to us.
You can chat with my boys, happy, healthy energetic 12 and 13 year olds, and tell me if you see signs of violence. I doubt that you will see any, even though, ironically, there has been violence there.
Not by me. Jesse is my son because his birth father battered and beat him when he was two years old. That act ended a process that would have reunified them and removed Jesse from my foster care. Instead, it made him my son for life.
You would have a lot in common with Jason. He, like you, comes from a Latin American ancestry. He can tell you his worries about Donald Trump building a wall attempting to keep any of his, and your, heritage from further penetrating our country. He can also tell you how his birth parents were Catholics, who ingested heroin, causing him to be born six weeks prematurely while fighting for life.
He is not being raised Catholic, as our family would not be welcome in that environment. Your environment. We are open to hearing how you might change that.
He is living proof that being physically born to two people who can biologically create life is not the same thing as being loved and parented by someone who cares for you above all else. Other children bearing out that sad reality are little Zachary, and little Gabriel, both beaten to death by their birth parents when each was suspected of growing up gay.
While we share our fish with you, we can talk about Christ, who taught all men to fish. We can share how we used the nets God gave us and cast them into life. Our nets were not made of sperm and egg, they were made of love and hope. What we netted was our own family.
There is nothing you could say to me that would dissuade me from knowing that my sons and I were meant to be together. We were and are each otherâ€™s destiny.
One of our family values is kindness. We think it is one in which you would agree, and appreciate. We also honor humility. To us, that is the quality which says we are all teachable, we are open to looking at things fresh, from a new point of view.
Many who have had a change of perspective about LGBT families, did it through insights made by their kids. Through their eyes, they see that the modern world is being formed more by love than by DNA, and not only is that alright, it is a good thing.
In the past fourteen years, my kids have made me see things differently, better. It has changed my world.
I know this would be hard for you, as you do not have kids. You never have, and never will. So, with the meal we would share, I will give you something more.
My kids. You get to pretend they are yours for the evening. Laugh with them, communicate with them, and experience their joy. Give them a few hours to rule your world. Trust me, if you do, that world will never again look the same.
You have broadened the embrace of your church from your predecessor. We applaud you. We want to believe in the compassion you seem to express. As you have extended your range to include many others who have felt forgotten or discarded, I ask you to reach just a little bit farther.
Please include LGBT people and families like mine.
If you canâ€™t, at the very least, be looking into the eyes of kids like my son Jason when you explain why. If you succeed getting through that explanation, then the heart I thought was thereâ€¦ isnâ€™t.
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Catholic Archbishop Defies Vatican by Banning Speaker Nancy Pelosi From Holy Communion – via Twitter
Calling her stance on abortion a “most serious scandal,” and a “grave evil” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly announced Friday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose district encompasses his diocese, is now banned from taking Holy Communion.
Archbishop Cordileone, a far right activist who repeatedly has challenged Pope Francis, is now in violation of directions from the Vatican to not politicize the Sacraments. Cordileone’s very public decree – made via Twitter – comes just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on a case that is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, an the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone tweeted, an apparent attempt to embarrass to the greatest degree possible the Democrat who is second in line to the Presidency,
After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, an the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion. https://t.co/l7M85CyG86
— Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone (@ArchCordileone) May 20, 2022
“I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publically [sic] repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone wrote in that letter to the Speaker.
Fox News calls it “an escalation in a decades-long tension between the Roman Catholic Church and liberal Democratic politicians on abortion,” but in fact other extremist archbishops have taken the same stance against other notable Democrats.
Catholics believe the Pope is God’s infallible representative on earth. Last fall Pope Francis chastised far right Catholic bishops in America who were gearing up to ban President Joe Biden from receiving Holy Communion. In June the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) overwhelmingly voted to move toward chastising Biden for his abortion stance, despite the Vatican issuing a clear warning they were not to do so.
President Biden is a devout Catholic who personally opposes abortion but knows as President it is his role to uphold a woman’s right to choose, something has has worked strongly to support and strongly believes in.
“What must the pastor do?” Pope Francis said, The New York Times reported last September when a reporter asked him about President Biden and abortion. “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning. Be a pastor, because he is a pastor also for the excommunicated.”
“I have never refused the eucharist to anyone,” Pope Francis told reporters. The Times aded Francis said bishops should be pastors not politicians.
The Pope also told reporters, “communion is not a prize for the perfect,” and “the eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners.”
The San Francisco Chronicle adds that Pope Francis “welcomed Biden for a private meeting at the Vatican last fall and Biden said the Pope told him he was a ‘good Catholic.’ Biden received Communion at St. Peter’s during that trip.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
‘Sordid, Corrupt, Lawless’: Experts Call New Ginni Thomas Revelations ‘Breathtaking’ and Ask ‘What Did Her Husband Know?’
The latest revelations about the actions of Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House are leading experts to demand Clarence Thomas’ recusal while calling the combination of their actions “breathtaking corruption,” and noting the Justice’s extraordinary hypocrisy.
Later Friday morning The Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas pressed two Arizona lawmakers to overturn the will of Arizona’s voters in the 2020 presidential election by choosing a “clean” slate of electors, representing Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. The Post notes Thomas did not mention any candidate by name but reports “the context was clear.”
“Before you choose your state’s Electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead,” an email bearing Ginni Thomas’ name, sent to the Arizona lawmakers, reads.
It included a link to a video of a man delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”
“You have only hours to act,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video.
Thomas also pressed Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to work to overturn the election, as has been widely reported.
Her efforts, combined with Justice Thomas’ actions on the Supreme Court, amount to “breathtaking corruption,” writes Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern.
“The conflict of interest between Ginni and Clarence Thomas has never been greater. While Clarence was applying the ‘independent state legislature doctrine’ from the bench, Ginni was using the exact same theory to try to overturn the 2020 election. Just breathtaking corruption,” Stern says.
Clarence Thomas’ continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics. He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump. It is sordid, corrupt, and lawless in the extreme.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 20, 2022
To be clear, I put “independent state legislature doctrine” in quotes because it’s a baseless theory that shouldn’t be taken seriously. It is precisely what Ginni Thomas describes in that email, though she didn’t use the academic name for it. Read more: https://t.co/6Hwvb1Q6ES
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 20, 2022
Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst and law professor, issued a strong warning:
“Either Justice Thomas recuses in every case that comes to the Court where his wife is heavily involved in the action or the public’s confidence in the Court will be damaged beyond repair.”
Reuters reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court, Lawrence Hurley:
“I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them,” Justice Clarence Thomas, Ginni’s husband, said last week https://t.co/MQNH8YDupn
— Lawrence Hurley (@lawrencehurley) May 20, 2022
Former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says it is “outrageous” Justice Thomas has refused to recuse:
“New evidence that Ginni Thomas’s participation in efforts to overturn the 2020 election was even greater than we knew; in this case pressure on AZ legislators to overturn that state’s vote. Makes it even more outrageous that Justice Thomas did not recuse.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona legislators to overturn Biden’s win and choose a ‘clean slate of electors.’ In other words, she supported a coup to overthrow an elected president. What did her husband know?”
Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild observes, “Ginni Thomas was conspiring with high ranking Republicans to overturn [the] republic, and her husband was either privy to or actively involved in this conspiracy before using his position to coverup his wife’s role.”
Former SDNY Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard Signorelli sums up:
“clean slate of Electors” = sedition
Ginni Thomas = psycho https://t.co/UGygIBpaPu
— Richard Signorelli (@richsignorelli) May 20, 2022
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
Ginni Thomas Also Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Overturn 2020 Election: ‘Stand Strong’
Far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Ginni Thomas pressed lawmakers in Arizona to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In emails she urged them to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure,” and send a “clean slate” of electors, falsely claiming the choice is “yours and yours alone.”
“The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud. Though she did not mention either candidate by name, the context was clear,” reports The Washington Post, which broke the news Friday. “In sending the emails, Thomas played a role in the extraordinary scheme to keep Trump in office by substituting the will of legislatures for the will of voters.”
Thomas also pressed then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to overturn the election in an exchange of text messages that spanned several months.
Justice Clarence Thomas has also come under fire for not recusing himself in matters related to his wife’s actions.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
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