LGBT and Catholic Church pastoral care

 

Sir, – The recent study published by the Irish Medical Journal and reported in The Irish Times (“Sexually confused young people more vulnerable”, November 26th) clearly shows that young LGBT people are hurting.

Young people with concerns around sexual orientation, it says, are “14-times more likely to attempt suicide” and “16-times more likely to have been sexually assaulted” than their peers.

These figures are appalling and show urgent action is needed to ensure that these young people have every support they need from church and state to help them navigate what is an extremely difficult time in their lives.

One of the practical supports that we as LGBT people need is legal recognition for our longterm relationships. A recognition which will be put to a vote next year in the referendum on marriage equality.

It is therefore disappointing to read that Bishop Kevin Doran (“Bishop says opposition to same-sex marriage not about homosexuality”, November 28th) has stepped into the national arena to oppose such a legal recognition.

This opposition mistakenly suggests that the primary issue from a Catholic perspective is a legal one. It’s not. The primary issue here for the Catholic Church is not legal, it is pastoral.

The question is, do we as a church care about LGBT people who are suffering greatly as the study mentioned above, and others like it suggest? Have we put in place any pastoral care plan to respond to the needs of these vulnerable young LGBT people?

The fundamental question for the Catholic Church is: “Do we love our LGBT people?” What the LGBT community needs from Bishop Doran and the other bishops in the run-up to the referendum is a witness to the love that God has for the LGBT community and not instructions on how to vote in a referendum. – Yours, etc, DAVE DONNELLAN Secretary Gay Catholic Voice Ireland, Rialto, Dublin 8 .