Progressive Catholics, Please Explain Yourselves

I genuinely want to understand why you stay with an oppressive institution.

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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Photos of Nancy Pelosi and Salvatore Cordileone with the word “Catholics?” between them. Modified from originals: Pelosi by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-SA 4.0; Cordileone by Steubenville Conferences, CC BY 3.0.

Today, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly informed a San Francisco resident that she is no longer entitled to receive Holy Communion. That resident is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an avowed Catholic and supporter of abortion rights. This announcement was Cordileone’s latest salvo in a war of words the two have been waging, on a subject of great current importance as the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Now, other than being a San Francisco resident I have basically nothing in common with either of these people, and even if Pelosi were excommunicated from her church I couldn’t care less. I’ve never been affiliated with any denomination of Christianity, and have been an atheist since the age of 16; that’s 36 years to date.

However, I am a queer Black trans person, am in a same-sex marriage, and have a uterus and ovaries. The Catholic church openly opposes gender transition, same-sex marriage, abortion, and the ordination of women. These are not just the views of Archbishop Cordileone; they have been affirmed by the supposedly progressive Pope Francis himself.

So my question to Catholics who claim to support progressive politics and people like myself is this: Why do you stay with the Catholic Church? Do you feel an obligation to do so? Why, if you believe that God gave you free will, don’t you use it and leave this oppressive institution? Or are you truly working to reform it from the inside?

I mean this sincerely. I’m an atheist but not an anti-theist; I support people practicing religion and worshipping in whatever way they choose, if they are doing so in a…

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their. funcrunch.org, patreon.com/funcrunch