Pope Francis and Catholic Bishops, we are asking for your help and the Catholic Church's leadership in righting a grave moral wrong that is being perpetrated on untold millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth as well as their parents, siblings and other members of their families.
By teaching that homosexual conduct is sin or that homosexuality is a sinful inclination, the Catholic Church and other Christian and non-Christian churches are causing immense emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical harm to these youth and families worldwide.
• Last year at least 200,000 LGBT youths experienced homelessness in the United States. LGBT youths make up 40% of the homeless youth population in this country, despite comprising only about 5% of the overall youth population.
• A recent study of Family Rejection found that parents who identified as "strongly religious" were significantly more likely to reject their LGBT children.
• A recent study published by the American Psychological Association reported that a majority of gay participants cited religious teaching as the primary source of conflict within families after they came out.
• LGBT youths who are rejected by their families are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than LGBT youths whose parents accept them.
The pain and torment does not end with LGBT youth as the conflict results in derogation to the entire family – parents, siblings, grandparents and other relatives.
The conflict is often viewed as irreconcilable and parents and other family members feel they cannot affirm the LGBT youth and remain true to their faith. The young person may feel they are the source of such conflict within the family and then are burdened with more guilt from feeling they have brought pain and anguish to their parents, siblings and others.
Such emotional, psychological and spiritual trauma leads many young LGBT youth to feel they must leave the family as their way of resolving the conflict.
Most tragically, many LGBT youth decide that suicide is their only escape from the type of personal and familial conflict that results from religious teaching that condemns their same-sex attraction as a sinful inclination or their sexual acts or expressions of affection with other same-sex individuals as sin.
So many of these youth feel their sexuality is in conflict with their Christian faith as church teaching tells them they are separate and apart from God. Parents, siblings, grandparents, other relatives and peers also experience this conflict and therefore a profound hindrance to the Gospel is being allowed to flourish within our society.
When the church in the past has refused to examine fault within scriptural teaching, such moral wrongs as genocide, slavery, subjugation of women have flourished within society. The ultimate result of the church's complicity in such moral failure is the denigration of the Christian faith. We see this happening today in relation to traditional church teaching on homosexuality. A younger generation recognizes the church's inability and unwillingness to right a grave moral wrong being perpetrated on their LGBT brothers, sisters, parents, relatives and friends.
We are asking that you, Pope Francis and Catholic Bishops, to allow the Catholic faith to lead the world's religious communities in bringing an end to this grave moral failure in the church's response to and its embrace of LGBT youth and families.
This historic plea on behalf of LGBT youth and families is contained in a letter, from Ali Forney Center Director Carl Siciliano, published in the New York Times. You can view the ad and read Carl Siciliano's poignant plea at http://www.faithinamerica.org/2010-2/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/PROOF4_NYTimes_FP_lettertothepope_4-13-14.pdf
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