Catholic alt right seeks to scapegoat gay priests and homosexuality
Dominican sisters who run the Siena Retreat Center outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had to hire security to defend against anti-gay protestors
Dominican sisters who run the Siena Retreat Center outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had to hire security to keep more than two dozen protesters off the property, where they were runniong a retreat for gay clergy and lay people. The National Catholic Reporter reported DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, the Catholic LGBT advocacy and educational organization, stating it as all part of a “toxic atmosphere that has been building up for decades.”
The NCR reports that animosity against LGBT Catholics seems to be increasing in intensity, perhaps in response to an overall growing acceptance and support for LGBT people in the United States and even by Pope Francis, who famously responded “Who am I to judge?” in response to a question about homosexuality. But there is plenty of judging still happening, say LGBT activists, theologians and ministers, who believe the decidedly anti-Christian tone of recent threats and attacks mirror a lack of civility in the broader culture.Fueled by well-funded conservative groups that represent a minority of Catholics but are disproportionately vocal, especially on social media, this “Catholic alt right” also has seized upon this summer’s news about sexual abuse in the church to scapegoat gay priests and homosexuality.
Conservative Catholics’ near-obsession with the issue is concerning to those who support LGBT Catholics. In San Diego, anti-gay activists have disrupted a series of diocesan listening sessions about sexual abuse and have had to be removed by security. Also in that diocese, a parish worker who is gay resigned after death threats, slashed tyres and harassing letters, phone calls and emails. The last straws were a break-in that resulted in homophobic graffiti at the parish and “doxing,” or the broadcasting of his private information, including pictures of his family and where he lives.