by Fr Don Greene
By now, many of you have heard of or have read the Nashville Statement, a position paper issued by Baptists and Evangelicals at a conference held in Nashville, TN. The Statement is a stunning indictment of the LGBTQ community and those religious who support the LGBTQ community.
First and foremost, let us state unequivocally, Dignity/SD rejects the message and affirmations of the Nashville Statement. They fly in the face of God's message of mercy and love in the Bible - which they distort and spin to their own purpose - and openly reject the message of Jesus while he walked the Earth with us, namely all are children of God and are welcome to receive God's warm embrace.
Secondly, we reject the theological basis for such a statement. It is well known in Catholic theological tradition that the Bible, alone, is not the only foundation of our faith. The completed canon of the Bible came approx 450 years after Christ walked the earth with many books and letters left out of the Canon. Later, some 1000 years later, Martin Luther rejected more books of the Catholic Canon and created his own version of the Bible, which has lead to an plethora of translations and versions which fit the interpreter's message and agenda, not God's message - versions and translations these evangelical "leaders" used to arrive at their Statement.
Catholics believe Holy Scripture, tradition and revealed teachings make up the foundation of our faith. Otherwise, Catholicism would not have survived in the early years. Those who believe in the "sola scriptura" approach to theology turn their eyes away from the obvious gaps in the writings in Scripture ("There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written." Gospel of John 21:24) and they overlook the known truths about the history of our faith (Joakim and Anna were the parents of Mary, but are never mentioned in the Bible) which do not appear in their version of scripture.
Thirdly, we affirm God's love for all. We welcome any and all who understand God in the example of the father of the Prodigal Son, who runs to meet his child after separation and disappointment; who does not reject his child outright. We affirm the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross as a salvific action for all the world, not just those who tick all the right boxes on an application form or who meet all the man-made criteria.
Dignity/SD is a place where all may practice their faith in a warm, welcoming environment, free of the judgments of those around. We focus on Jesus and his message to the world and on God's love for all of his creation. We affirm the divine found in each of God's creation. We affirm the sacrifice of Christ saved the entire world from the finality of death. We affirm the love of our fellow human as we look to find the face of Christ in all whom we meet.
Peace to you who read this and please feel free to share it through social media. You can find this post on our Facebook page. May God bless you abundantly!