Dear Father Perry:
I was horrified when the Governor of Indiana,(the state in which you were born), passed a law that allows Christian to discriminate against the LGBTI community based on their religious conscience. I was shocked to see Franciscans in their robes surrounding the Governor as he signed the Anti-Gay law.
When the new pope took the name of Francis, you were interviewed on May 24, 2013 by Cindy Wooden of the Catholic News Service. You spoke of the role of Franciscans.
You are quoted by her as saying: “The Franciscans are united, energized and challenged by the ministry of the new pope.St. Francis calls “us to see all of creation not as something inanimate, something outside of us, but it is part of who we are; it has a personality, it has a dignity.”
I agree that every person should be afforded the dignity of being a child of God. I am stunned at the presence of celibate Franciscan nuns and brothers at the signing. If the delegation represented Third Order laypersons it is equally shameful as they enjoy the companionship and fruits of marriage).
What is the Role of Christians?
A second quote in this interview with Catholic News Service, you stated, “Francis brings us back to the very core of who we are as human beings. Francis is a convener of humanity, he helps people come together and see what really matters for their lives and we can live together in peace, we can care for one another and we can care for the world.”
Was this congregation in the Governor’s office a representation of Christ and Francis’ vision of ‘humanity’ – living together in peace and caring for one another?” Did they, as you stated above. see that all of God’s creation has a personality and a dignity?”
These Franciscan participants knew by their witnessing presence that their fellow Christians can refuse to serve the LGBTI community in eating establishments, stores and public services. Francis served his neighbour and loved the outcasts, the poor, the lepers and those with mental and physical disabilities. He followed Jesus in loving all and judging none.
Parable of the Good Samaritan
Please tell me, Father Perry, how any of these Franciscans would interpret the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Why did Jesus take the most despised, the most humiliated, the most “unclean” and make a Samaritan the hero over the two Jewish religious figures who passed by the injured man? The story as you know was a lesson for the lawyer who asked two questions: a) how to enter the Kingdom and b) who is my neighbour. Furthermore, Jesus drank from the same cup of a Samaritan woman showing us that a name (Samaritan or Gay) does not matter, it is what is inside that person.
And does the Prayer of St. Francis mean anything to these Franciscans. There is being a Franciscan and living as a Franciscan. Blessings to you,
The Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.