IHM Sisters Support the “God Is On Your Side” Statement
Recently the Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Mich., signed on in support of “God Is on Your Side: A Statement of Catholic Bishops on Protecting LGBT Youth.”
The statement reads:
As Catholic Bishops in the United States, we join with the Tyler Clementi Foundation in standing up for at-risk LGBT youth in our country.
As we see in the Gospels, Jesus Christ taught love, mercy and welcome for all people, especially for those who felt persecuted or marginalized in any way; and the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that LGBT people are to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity.”
All people of goodwill should help, support, and defend LGBT youth; who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates.
The Catholic Church values the God-given dignity of all human life and we take this opportunity to say to our LGBT friends, especially young people, that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you.
Since the statement was issued last month, support among Catholics has grown. Additional bishops have endorsed it and a number of women’s and men’s religious communities have signed on expressing their support, including the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
According to the Trevor Project, an LGBT suicide prevention organization, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are almost five times as likely as their heterosexual peers to attempt suicide and more than one-third of transgender people have attempted suicide by the age of 25.
In the IHM Chapter Direction 2018, the IHM congregation committed its personal, ministerial and congregational efforts and resources to “engage in respectful conversations with those who are seen as different because of ethnicity, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation and political loyalties and challenge stereotypes about those perceived as ‘other.’” Sadly, the “othering” of LGBT people continues to be pervasive within society in general and within the Catholic Church.
About their support for the statement, IHM President Jane Herb stated, “Our Catholic tradition teaches about the intrinsic dignity of every person. This includes LGBT people, who we know are tremendously vulnerable to bullying, harassment, violence and even self-harm. Jesus commands us to ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ We want LGBT youth to know that they are children of God, created by God and loved by God.”